Jumbo Editorial Team
The 23rd annual HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair 2012, held from July 19 to 24, attracted some 900,000 visitors during its week-long run. This was despite the early closure and late opening on a couple of days due to the typhoon that hit Hong Kong.
More than 530 exhibitors from 23 countries and regions, a new exhibitor record, took part in the book fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers, who appointed independent survey consultancy Nielsen to conduct a survey at the fairground to understand visitor consumption and reading patterns.
The survey found out that 87 per cent of the participants had attended the Hong Kong Book Fair more than once. About half the tourists interviewed said that they had come to Hong Kong just to attend the Book Fair, and almost 90 per cent said they would come again next year.
The most popular books were fiction (52 per cent), followed by literature (24 per cent), travel (24 per cent), comics (23 per cent), and children's books (21 per cent). The most popular pavilion was the General Books Pavilion (92 per cent), followed by the Taiwan Publishing Community (84 per cent), Teen's World (82 per cent) and the Multimedia & Stationery Zone (81 per cent).
More than 70 per cent of the respondents said that the Art Gallery, English Avenue and Children's Paradise were attractive. More than 300 cultural activities were held at this year's Book Fair, attracting 160,000 participants, an increase of 23 per cent over last year.
The Renowned Writers Seminar, hosted by Kenneth Pai Hsien-yung and Zi Zhong-yun, and the English Reading and Creative Writing Seminar, hosted by Indian novelist Chebat Bhagat, proved particularly popular.
The survey also reported that 46 per cent of the respondents hope that more "literature and film" activities can be added to the Book Fair next year. More than 30 per cent look forward to more reading events for "children and teens," as well as "exchanges among authors from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan." As for the participants' reading habits, according to the survey, over the past 12 months, their average spending on books was HK$1,654. More than 59 per cent of the respondents bought more than 10 books.
The survey also found that 94 per cent of respondents bought books at bookstores, 67 per cent at book fairs, 26 per cent from bookstands, and 19 per cent from online bookstores.
In addition, 28 per cent of respondents said they had bought electronic books over the past year, with an average spending of HK$459.
Some 98 per cent of respondents read books last month. Out of that, 75 per cent read more than 10 hours a month.
General reading was mainly composed of fiction (64 per cent), travel (45 per cent), comics (38 per cent), and literature (33 per cent). Most book lovers (64 per cent) enjoy traditional Chinese books, followed by English books (19 per cent) and books in simplified Chinese (16 per cent).