The 27th Hong Kong Book Fair ended today, after drawing record attendance of close to 1.02 million visitors. The week-long literary and cultural extravaganza, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, featured an extensive selection of literary works, renowned international authors and diverse cultural activities. An on-site survey found that visitors spent an average of HK$902 at the fair, comparable to last year. And, fiction and literature were the most popular categories.
“This year, the Hong Kong Book Fair continued to enjoy the public’s widespread support, with attendance breaking the one million mark for the third consecutive year. This is a reflection of Hong Kong people’s love of reading and fondness for cultural activities,” said HKTDC Acting Executive Director Benjamin Chau. “Apart from buying a wide selection of books from 640 exhibitors from 35 countries and regions, visitors also had the chance to join seminars hosted by their favourite authors.
“Many of the seminars saw packed houses, including those by Ye Yong Lie, Cao Wen Xuan, Lung Ying Tai, Sisy Chen, Ma Ka Fai, Woon Swee Oan, Chua Lam and Jasper Tsang, and the English-literature focused Open Public Forum, hosted by Sir David Tang. The exhibitions and performances at the Art Gallery likewise attracted many visitors. All these turned the Book Fair into a true cultural feast.”
Cultural events attract more than 300,000 attendees
Some 360 cultural activities were staged during the fair, including seminars, new book parades and readings. At the Art Gallery, visitors were treated to martial arts demonstrations and traditional song and dance from Shaanxi and India. On-site cultural activities and more than 260 citywide events held under month-long “Cultural July” campaign, which aims to promote the joy of reading, culture and art to the Hong Kong public, have drawn more than 300,000 attendees so far. Visitors who missed their favourite seminars at the Book Fair can visit the Hong Kong Book Fair website (http://hkbookfair.hktdc.com/en/Events/Videos.html) to review approximately 90 seminars.
Survey: 11% of fair visitors planned to spend more this year
The HKTDC commissioned an independent market research agency to conduct an on-site survey during the Book Fair in order to better understand the interests and purchasing habits of visitors. About 800 visitors were interviewed. The survey found that most respondents were drawn to the Book Fair by new releases, followed by discounted items and cultural activities.
In terms of genre, fiction topped the list (54%), followed by literature (33%), travel books (28%) and self-improvement books (19%). The survey also found that 11 per cent of visitors had planned to spend more this year, while 84 per cent said their budgets were similar to that of last year’s Book Fair. The average per capita spending at the Book Fair was found to be HK$902.
As for reading habits, almost all respondents (99%) said they had read a printed book in the past month, spending on average 24 hours reading. Some 60 per cent of respondents reported reading an e-book in the past month, spending on average 14 hours. According to the survey, the average spending on printed books in the past year was HK$1,855, up four per cent year-on-year. The most popular genres were fiction, literature, travel books and self-improvement books. The survey also found that approximately 10 per cent of respondents were overseas visitors.
Chinese martial arts literature
The Book Fair adopted an overarching theme “Chinese Martial Arts Literature” for the first time this year. The Chinese Martial Arts Literature exhibition and The Literary Giant – Jin Yong and Louis Cha exhibition, which was jointly organised by the HKTDC and the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, were set up at the Art Gallery, featuring manuscripts, first editions and comic books and movies adapted from well-known martial arts literature.
The exhibitions were well-received and attracted a large number of visitors. Three renowned Chinese martial arts novelists, Woon Swee Oan, Jozev Lau and Zheng Feng, met with readers at the Book Fair and shared the inspiration behind their stories and the development of martial arts literature.
‘A Journey to “Silk Road”: Shaanxi and India’ display proved popular with visitors. It showcased an array of precious artefacts that included bronze works dating back to the Western Zhou dynasty, bricks from the Qin dynasty, tiles from the Han dynasty, Tang Sancai and Silk Road coins from Xi’an, as well as paintings, ethnic costumes, agar wood, tea and traditional decorations from India.
Book donations and waste recycling
Book donation sites were set up on the last day of the Book Fair for exhibitors to donate books they no longer wanted. The books would be collected by non-profit organisations, such as Christian Action and Chu Kong Plan, to be redistributed to individuals or organisations in need. The measure addresses concerns about environmental protection, while also enabling more people in need to enjoy reading. Large recycling bins were also set up at the venue to collect unwanted books and goods for recycling.
Cultural July – The joy of reading continues
While the 27th edition of the Book Fair ended today, the “Cultural July” campaign, which is in its fifth year, will continue to run until the end of this month. Cultural activities to look out for include cultural markets, interactive storytelling and education programmes for children and historical seminars and exhibitions. For details, please visit the “Cultural July” website.