Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dymocks' disregard for the environment

Yesterday i walked into a Wanchai bookstore, one of the many Dymock bookstores that have mushroomed in HK. Though not a big fan of their selection, i went in to browse titles and kill time between classes. To my dismay all books were wrapped in a plastic film, to ensure that nobody would leaf through them. I am one of those people who don't judge a book by its cover, and always read the first page of a novel before buying it, as the writing style to me is just as important as the content. Most readers leaf through the pages before deciding what to buy....the way most people shopping for clothes or shoes try them on.

Wrapping each individual book in plastic certainly achieves the desired result of stopping people like me from browsing, but what are the other, unintended consequences of this ill-conceived decision? Bad news for the environment. A pile of discarded plastic wraps that end up in our full-to-the-brim landfills...not to mention the emissions caused by the production of those wraps.

Dymocks bookstores in Hong Kong are franchised, so it's hard to tell whether the Australian Group that owns the Franchise System is aware of this practise in one of his shops in HK. I have lodged a complaint and will tell you what their reply is.

Off to the library now...where books can be browsed and enjoyed at no cost for the reader and the environment.


Anonymous said...

At a consumer's point of view you do have a right to be concerned. But have you ever worked in a bookstore? Many of these books are wrapped to keep these items in pristine condition. also there are childrens' books which can contain stickers or other items. these plastic wraps serve as the first line of defence against menial theft.

Damages and losses can occur at a rate that the common consumer cannot comprehend. have you seen children ravage through books that were not bought yet? can you then sell these items with torn pages to other people? Some shops do not apply the "You break it you bought it rule."

so these plastics are really a must

foreign body said...

So, if readers are like barbaric hordes hell bent on damaging books, why the majority of bookstores don't wrap their books?

I understand that not all consumers behave appropriately in a bookstores, that's why shop assistants should keep their eyes open, and remind people that if they damage a book, they will have to buy it. A simple solution that has been applied to all kind of goods, long before plastic wraps were invented.
As to children, parents are responsible for their behaviour, so if a child tear a page or steal a sticker, his/her parents will be asked to buy the book.

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