24 July 2013
Record 980,000+ Attend HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair
Per Capita Spending at the Fair Averages HK$790
“The Hong Kong Book Fair is a significant cultural event in the Asia-Pacific region,” said HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau. “The nearly 10 percent increase in visitor attendance this year can be attributed to the Art Gallery and the sumptuous line-up of fascinating cultural events, which added traffic, and drew tourists to Hong Kong.”
The Book Fair was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) from 17-23 July. Under the theme, “Reading the World – Reading for a Better World”, the fair attracted 560 exhibitors from 30 countries and regions, which also set a record.
English Authors Draw Fans
The fair’s Open Public Forum spotlighted American writer Erica Jong and British writers Jung Chang and William Shawcross. Ms Jong is the author of more than 20 books, including Fear of Flying, which has sold 27 million copies. Dr Chang is best known for Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China; her books have been translated into more than 40 languages. The books of Mr Shawcross include the Queen Mother, the official biography of Queen Elizabeth. The forums, on 19 July at the HKCEC and 20 July at Hong Kong University, were moderated by Sir David Tang and drew 620 and 580 fans respectively.
British novelists Joanna Kavenna and Louis de Bernières were also featured Book Fair speakers. Ms Kavenna, the author of three novels, was named one of the 20 “Best of Young British Novelists” by UK literary magazine Granta earlier this year. Mr de Bernières, celebrated for his novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, was named to Granta’s once-a-decade list of young British novelists in 1993.
The Book Fair again reached beyond the HKCEC, with events organised throughout Hong Kong. “More than 400 cultural events were organised, including seminars and sharing sessions held during the Book Fair, which attracted nearly 250,000 readers to participate, an increase of more than 50 per cent as compared to last year,” Mr Chau said. “It was a delight for us and our co-organisers, and we hope it would help propagate the reading trend.”
The HKTDC appointed independent survey consultancy Nielsen to conduct an on-site survey at the fairground between 17-20 July. From the 820 visitors surveyed, per capita spending at the Book Fair was HK$790.
Visitors Ready to Spend
Visitors this year were more willing to spend than last year. More than 20 per cent of respondents indicated that they would spend more at this year’s fair, an increase of 53 per cent on average over the previous year, while two-thirds said they would budget about the same as last year. According to the survey, the most popular book categories this year were fiction (57 per cent), followed by literature (27 per cent), travel (25 per cent), comics (24 per cent) and children's books (20 per cent). Self-improvement (18 per cent) and language study (18 per cent) books were popular, and together with political books (10 per cent), reflected a diversity of reading preferences.
Printed and e-book Sales Up
The survey also found that the growth in spending on e-books was more significant compared to printed books. Almost all respondents purchased printed books in the past year, with the average spending being HK$1,709, up HK$55 over the previous year. Spending on e-books averaged HK$594, reflecting an increase of HK$135. Regarding reading habits, the amount of time spent on reading was about the same as last year. Ninety-eight per cent of respondents reported reading a printed book in the past month, spending an average of 31 hours, which was one hour more than the previous year’s finding. Only 60 per cent of respondents said they had read an e-book in the past month, spending an average of 21 hours, which was one hour less compared to last year’s findings.
Book Fair Becomes a Tourist Attraction
Some eleven per cent of those surveyed were non-Hong Kong residents, and among them, 80 per cent were from the Chinese mainland. Based on this, it is estimated that about 110,000 visitors from outside Hong Kong attended the fair. Sixty per cent of these visitors said that coming to the Book Fair was the main reason they travelled to Hong Kong. Nearly half said they came for books not available in their region, which was an increase of 10 percentage points. These non-Hong Kong visitors had, on average, visited the Hong Kong Book Fair twice and more than 90 per cent said they would return again next year.
Well-received Cultural Events
Wisely's 50th Anniversary Exhibition and Author of the Year Chan Koon Chung’s Exhibition at the Art Gallery were popular. The 3D exhibition “Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottos at Dunhuang” co-organised by City University of Hong Kong’s Applied Laboratory for Interactive Visualization Embodiment (ALiVE), the Dunhuang Academy China and the Friends of Dunhuang (HK), and sponsored by Sun Hung Kai Properties, received an overwhelming response, and extra shows were added. Visitors embraced the Art Gallery, as close to half of respondents found it very appealing, showing a significant increase of 18 percentage points from last year’s comments.
Mr Chau remarked, “Ten thousand visitors experienced the 3D Dunhuang animation with the arrangement of additional showtimes, allowing more people to appreciate the Dunhuang culture from a new perspective; Wisely’s 50th Anniversary Exhibition let four generations of readers relive their memories. The author Ni Kuang came to meet his fans in a seminar, and his good friend Chua Lam also attended the exhibition. All three seminars hosted by “Author of the Year” Chan Koon Chung filled all the seats. We had to arrange a live broadcast in the adjacent venue to accommodate more than 1,300 attendees.”
The new Travel and Cultural Seminar Series, supported by Harbour City, invited renowned travel writers from the mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and overseas, such as James Hong, Helen To, Cheuk Wan Chi, Chua Lam, Henry Chan, Enchun Li and Craig Au Yeung to host 11 seminars. The public shared their opinion and interacted with speakers via Sina Weibo.
Fair Promotes New Authors
The Hong Kong Author’s Parade promoted works of young Hong Kong authors, and the Weekend Author’s Corner provided a platform for independent or self-financed authors to interact with readers. Wong Yee, who participated in the Hong Kong Author’s Parade, said that interacting with readers was encouraging. First-time participant of the Weekend Author’s Corner, Japanese illustrator BOKENECO said, “I am grateful that more people came to know my work on this cultural platform. Many children and parents watched my demonstration.”
Underprivileged Children Attend Fair
The St. James’ Settlement and SHKP Read To Dream programme sponsored nearly 1,200 children from 33 schools to visit the Book Fair and participate in cultural events. Each child received HK$250 for purchasing books. It was observed that students tended to buy novels, science and exercise books. One primary-six student said, “I am very happy to take part in this event. The book fair is fascinating and huge. I can choose from a great selection of books.”
A selection of Book Fair seminar videos can be viewed at: www.hkbookfair.com/videos
Please contact the HKTDC's Corporate Communication Department:
Tel: (852) 2584 4216
About the HKTDC
A statutory body established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers . With more than 40 global offices, including 11 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and throughout Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and on the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com.