Publishers of e-books hope to lure readers with lower prices and extra features
Visitors to the Book Fair will find digital books that are cheaper and have more functions than traditional hard copies, publishers say.
A digital book is about 30 per cent cheaper than a hard copy and has features such as voice recordings.
A digital book released by Wan Li Book about French wine includes a voice recording of all the French names of the wines and comments on the characteristics of wines from renowned vineyards.
'Many people would like to order a particular wine in restaurants, but they are not sure how to pronounce the French names,' deputy editor-in-chief Ian Chan Yin said.
A hard copy of the book - Le Dialogue du Vin - has a compact disc that includes pronunciations, Chan said, but the iPhone version allows easy access outside readers' homes.
He expected the US$7.99 e-version to be more popular than the HK$88 hard copy and is hoping to sell 10,000 copies in a year.
The publisher is focusing on functional books and will release more language books and catalogue-like leisure books in e-format. Fifteen titles will be available by the time the fair opens on Wednesday next week.
Commercial Press and Ming Pao Publications will both release e-versions at 70 per cent of the price of hard copies this year. Commercial Press will showcase 16 e-book apps at the fair. Readers will get souvenirs if they download books on the spot.
Ming Pao Publications will introduce 60 new e-books, including works by Wong Yee-hing and science fiction writer Ni Kuang. Several iPads will be on hand at their stalls for visitors to experience the e-books.
Readers can hear recordings of passages in both Cantonese and Putonghua by pressing buttons on each page of an e-book, general manager of Ming Pao Publications William So Wai-leung said.
Digital books could help expand the publisher's worldwide readership, he said.
Eighty per cent of people who bought its e-books lived outside Hong Kong and were overseas Chinese, he said. They preferred digital versions because of the high delivery cost in buying hard copies.