The Hong Kong Book Fair ended its seven-day run on Tuesday with a record 1.04 million visitors, according to a press release from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
Most visitors to the fair were drawn by the lure of new books releases; of the 820 people surveyed at the fair, about 79 per cent said they were there to buy newly released books.
The vast majority of surveyed attendees – 98 per cent – said they have read a book in the past month. More than 60 per cent said they enjoyed reading fiction the most, with literature and travel in second and third places. Visitors spent an average of HK$810 per person.
In addition to books, the fair also featured cultural events and talks by authors based on the theme of “romance literature”. These were “selected ... to [encourage] readers’ interest in the genre and achieve the fair’s objective of promoting reading culture,” said HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau.
Elvin Lee, chairman of the Hong Kong Publishing Federation, was pleased to see different authors being showcased at the event, something he believes will encourage more reading.
“This mix [of new and old authors] helped engage the interest of readers of different ages and tastes, while encouraging new authors, which could in turn promote reading and creation.”
Most students who attended the book fair thought it was a good opportunity to buy books and to enjoy the culture around reading – in spite of the crowds.
“As a student who loves reading as both an academic activity and enjoyable pastime, the Hong Kong Book Fair is a prime opportunity to discover new literature, and to embark on an intellectual and emotional journey,” said Angela Tsui, 16, from King George V School.
Jimmy Jim, 16, from Ying Wa College, agreed.
“The book fair was well organised, albeit crowded. It really helped to encourage me to read as the atmosphere of the book fair was really pleasant and everybody seemed to enjoy choosing books.”
Others, like Pancy So, 17, from Maryknoll Convent School, said that while they would read even if they didn’t go to the book fair, they appreciated the chance to buy many books at the same time.
“I go to the book fair every year, and buying books is a must for me as I really, really love reading. So whether I go to the book fair or not, I will still be encouraged to read more books.”