Hong Kong Book Fair Attracts Some 950,000 Visitors

Hong Kong Book Fair Attracts Some 950,000 Visitors

About 950,000 readers have visited the 22nd edition of the Hong Kong Book Fair, which closes today after a week-long run at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Attendance at the fair organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) was about three per cent higher than last year. The figure included some 15,000 tourists, 15 per cent more than 2010 and largely from the Chinese mainland, Macau and Taiwan.

Popular Seminars
The fair featured a record 526 exhibitors from 24 countries and regions, and nearly 300 cultural events. The number of people participating in cultural events more than doubled to 130,000 compared with the previous year.

Speaking at a press conference today, HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau said some seminars proved to be very popular. “Taiwan’s Li Ao attracted 2,170 people to his seminar,” noted Mr Chau, adding that many of the participants were from the Chinese mainland. He said 1,500 also participated in author Lin Qingxia Brigitte’s session.

Mr Chau said more than 1,700 people attended English language discussions such as last Friday’s open public forum, “How and What and Why do Writers Write?” hosted by Sir David Tang and featuring authors David Starkey, AA Gill, Nicholas Coleridge and Tom Parker Bowles, as well a seminars hosted by other renowned writers such as Tabish Khair.

Reading Habits
An independent onsite survey commissioned by the HKTDC found that the most popular types of books at the fair were works of fiction and novels. The survey found that fiction and novels were the top choice for 52 per cent of visitors, followed by literature (28 per cent), travel (21 per cent), children books (21 per cent) and books on self improvement (16 per cent). The number of respondents who said they purchased children books at the fair increased six per cent over last year.

The survey also asked visitors why they attended the fair, and found that 76 per cent came to obtain first-hand information on new releases while 32 per cent said they wanted to experience the cultural atmosphere of an international book fair. Those who said they came to purchase books in English increased by two per cent points over 2010 to close to 40 per cent.

Almost all respondents said the fair served as an alternative platform to source various kinds of books, while 87 per cent said the cultural activities at the event raised their interest in reading and enhanced their knowledge.

Book Spending
Book lovers also seem more willing to spend, as mean visitor spending at the Book Fair was HK$522, up nearly 10 per cent. 20 per cent of the visitors spent more than HK$700.

Among those surveyed, mean spending on books over the past 12 months was HK$2,088, and some 54 per cent of respondents said they bought more than 10 books.

Shopping Habits
The survey found that 95 per cent of respondents bought books at book stores. Some 69 per cent of visitors also named the Book Fair as one of their favourite channels for purchasing books. Other major channels were online book stores (14 per cent), book stands (10 per cent) and supermarkets or convenience stores (two per cent).

New electronic forms of distribution also drew positive feedback from visitors. The Future Book Store which made its debut at this year’s fair, had attracted 10,000 visitors, and the e-book Reading Platform launched by 3 Hong Kong and the HKTDC recorded more than 18,000 downloads since the end of June.

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