Discounts promise bonanza for book buyers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 July, 2009, 12:00am

The scale of this year's Book Fair has gone up but the prices are going down as exhibitors offer discounts to boost sales.

The newly completed expansion of the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai offers 42 per cent more space for this year's fair, which has more than 500 exhibitors from more than 20 countries compared with last year's 480.

Book retailer Page One has doubled its booth size and is offering bargains ranging from 'buy two get three' to 60 per cent off for certain titles.

Commercial Press is selling some of its popular titles at HK$100 for four, while similar titles cost only HK$100 for five at Popular book store.

Despite the traditional prominence of Chinese language titles, the Trade Development Council, which organises the fair, has introduced a section devoted to books in English, dubbed 'English Avenue'.

Spokesman William Cheung said the council had been receiving requests from the public for more books in English.

'But we did not have enough exhibitors [for an English Avenue] until this year,' he said.

English-language bookseller Dymocks said it had tripled the size of its booth from last year and would be offering discounts such as 'buy two get three'.

Children's books would probably be the top sellers because parents wanted their children to learn better English, Dymocks retail operations and buying manager Matthew Steele said.

He expected sales at the fair to grow despite the financial crisis.

Page One senior marketing executive Keith Wong said he was optimistic about sales, but was not sure whether separating English-language books from their Chinese counterparts would be the best idea.

'Those planning to buy Chinese-language books could be exposed to English-language books if we were mixed in the middle,' he said.

Twenty-five publishing companies from Taiwan are not optimistic about their business after being moved from the core area of Hall 1 to Hall 3 on the third floor.

But they are still hoping for the best. 'By doubling the number of stalls [to 100], we are hoping to sell over two million books during the fair and also to double our profit,' Publishers' Association of Taiwan secretary general Chen En-chyuan said.

The fair runs from today until Tuesday from 10am to 10pm, except on Friday and Saturday, when it will close at midnight. The fair will close at 5pm on Tuesday.

Tickets are HK$25 for adults and HK$10 for children.