Closed book

Closed book

Hongkongers have been borrowing fewer books from public libraries over the past five years.

The number of items borrowed from the city's 77 libraries, including 10 mobile libraries, fell by 6.2 million over the past five years, from 61.7 million in 2009 to 55.5 million last year, according to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

"Nowadays, people just surf the internet with their phones," said Jimmy Pang Chi-ming, head of publishing house Subculture. "Fewer people read books so there are also fewer new books being published. It's a vicious circle."

Darren Tang, 16, from Law Ting Pong Secondary School, is no exception to the smartphone obsession.

"Despite the fact that I love reading, I've gone to libraries less over the past few years. I can read magazines, newspapers and even e-books on my smartphone," he says.

Brenda So May-yee, 18, from Li Po Chun United World College, agrees: "Due to the [increasing availability] of smartphones, we can read anywhere. [It's not that we don't read; we change the method."

But May Huang, 17, from Chinese International School, still has a soft spot for the printed word.

"The advances in technology have made more resources available digitally. There is, in a sense, less of a 'need' to use the library. But I still make regular trips down to the library to borrow books."

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Closed book


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