Jumbo Editorial Team
The Shanghai Book Fair 2012, organized by the Shanghai Press and Publication Bureau from August 15 to 21 at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, witnessed record-breaking numbers in visitors and sales.
According to reports, despite unusually intense heat and storms, the annual seven-day event welcomed 320,000 visitors and rang up sales revenue of 60 million Yuan (US$9.44 million), breaking last year's record of nearly 300,000 visitors and 54.7 million Yuan in sales.
The organizers introduced discounted delivery service and free Wi-Fi service at the main venue for the first time in the fair's nine-year history. They also learned from last year's satisfaction survey, providing more seats and reducing noise.
The services are believed to have helped the satisfactory rate to climb to 99 percent from last year's 98.7. The organizers also selected the 10 most influential books of the fair, based on sales numbers, media coverage and reader feedback. The list, which is not ranked, included six domestic works and four imported ones, crossing genres and subjects.
Local Shanghai-based writer Chen Danyan's ‘Becoming Peace Hotel’ attracted much attention during the fair with her in-depth and vivid exploration of the history and tales behind one of city's landmarks. ‘A Bite of China’ a photo book about Chinese cuisines, was also listed.
‘Steve Jobs’ a best-selling book in the Chinese market in 2011, continued to sell strongly at the fair and is one of the four translated foreign books on the list. Historian Arnold Toynbee's ‘Mankind and Mother Earth: A Narrative History of World’ also attracted many readers and made it to the list.
According to organizers' survey of nearly 500 readers at the fair, the largest group of visitors was students, representing 45 percent, while retirees followed at 18 percent. The respondents spent an average of 252 Yuan on books.
The bureau also released a report on the reading habits of Shanghai citizens recently showing that 86.5 percent considered reading very important and 60 percent read to learn.
The Shanghai Exhibition Center remained buzzing with activity with quite a few well-known Chinese and foreign authors meeting their fans at seminars, lectures and book signing events during the fair.
With the trend of digital reading on the rise globally and the book fairs paying a lot of attention to it of late, the Shanghai Book Fair also tried something new to make it more digital by using social networking websites to promote itself.