Hong Kong Book Fair

Hong Kong Book Fair opens to bigger than ever crowds and younger buyers

First day of Hong Kong Book Fair sees younger buyers and interest in serious topics, although photo books still the top choice for one big fan

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 July, 2013, 9:13am

Politics ruled the tills on the first day of the annual Hong Kong Book Fair, and publishers said the first-day turnout was larger than last year.

Jimmy Pang Chi-ming of the Sub-Culture publishing house said he had seen a 10 per cent rise in business on the first day compared with last year.

"I saw more teenage readers coming this year," said Pang. "They like our books, especially the two by [autonomy advocate] Dr Horace Chin Wan-kan."

Ming Pao Publications general manager William So Wai-leung said the company expected I'm No Hero - Wong's Political Views - written by Joshua Wong Chi-fung, convenor of Scholarism, the group opposing the planned national educationpolicy - to be popular, but not a sell-out.

"Joshua has a lot of fans, but still it's overwhelming," So said, adding that almost 1,000 copies were sold yesterday.

So and Pang both said they might need to print second editions of the titles.

Jane Cheung Yee-ching of Up Publications, which has 13 new titles ranging from political satire to explorations of local culture, said sales were brisk.

"It seems that our booth is quite popular, with many people buying the books right after they pick them up," she said. "Politics has become such a focal point of society that even young people are more willing to read about it."

English books were also highly sought-after and this year foreign publishers occupied their largest area ever in the fair's 23-year history - up seven per cent on last year - with new entrants such as Hachette Book Group, adding more options.

"It's always good for readers to know there are more book choices," said Isabella Lee, who has a 12-year-old son and who spent about HK$900 at Metro Books.

Metro Books' Angela Kwan Suk-kwan said sales had risen this year, with children's and lifestyle books being some of the most popular volumes.

The fair also catered for those seeking non-print choices. Sino United Publishing launched a new online book-selling site, in the hope of growing its e-book market share in the local publishing industry.

"Hong Kong lacks e-book choices for readers," said Terence Leung Wing-chung, general manager of Sino United Electronic Publishing. "The launch of our platform will provide readers with more than one million e-books and print books."

Meanwhile, one fan snapped up the whole stock, comprising several thousand copies, of photo books containing slightly risque photos of three male pseudo-models, Chiu King-ho, Gym Gu and Dominic Ho. The three are signed up by the same company as well-known female pseudo-model Chrissie Chau Sau-na.

"We are seeing more and more people showing interest in male artists," said Roy Kwong, executive director of GME Publishing, which published male pseudo-model photo books for the first time this year.

Kwong said the publisher was trying to print more copies of the photo books and get them back on the shelves by today.

"Unlike the interest in female artists, where male fans outnumber female fans, the proportion of male and female fans of male artists is quite balanced, so we were confident that the photo books would be well-received - and this proves it," he said.