EXECUTIVES from the Hongkong book industry recently attended the American Booksellers Association convention in Miami. Magnus Bartlett of Over Hongkong fame and Mohan Mirchandani of Bookazine were among them. Book-selling is becoming increasingly like show-business, they report. Among the superstar authors strutting around were recent Hongkong visitors Larry King and Margaret Thatcher. Mr Mirchandani managed to get advance copies of unpublished works by Tom Clancy and Jeffrey Archer. But the show was stolen by two people who were not writers at all, we heard. Two publishers of dreamy romance books had brought along real-life examples of the Perfect Man - tall, handsome, muscular men with hair down to their shoulders. They offered to be photographed in bodice-ripper positions with female executives. Avon Books presented a sultry chap called Fabio, while Topaz, a romantic offspring of Penguin, offered a hunk called the Topaz Man. The Topaz Man's aides made up highly suggestive signs that read: ''Do Not Disturb - I'm inside with the Topaz Man.'' Early in the morning, these were hung on every door of the Fontainebleau Hotel, where many of the booksellers were staying. The problem was that hotel employees thought the signs were the real thing. Half the booksellers didn't get breakfast delivered because employees thought the guests really didn't want to be disturbed. ''Not to mention how I felt, when I came back from an early morning breakfast and saw the sign,'' said bookseller Sarah Kennerly of Arkansas. ''I was stunned. I couldn't figure out why my husband was inside with the Topaz Man.'' Wind of change POLITICAL self-censorship has invaded an important part of the Hongkong media, we heard yesterday from Paul Harrington, a foreign correspondent with Agence France Presse. The guilty party: Freddy, the cartoon weatherman who goes clump, clump, clump, oooooh, aaaaaah. ''The new Freddy, the only animated Hongkong adviser to Beijing, has now added the Bank of China behind him,'' said Paul. ''More worrying still, he has abandoned his practice of wandering across the screen to the right and now strides firmly to the left.'' Your first impression may be that this is far-fetched, but remember how Sino-British meetings in Beijing often start with metaphorical statements about the weather, some more subtle than others. For example, a Xinhua official might say: ''The northeast monsoon is milder than the southern zephyr, but we hope a bolt of lighting strikes Chris Patten.'' Stock excuse PRIZE for best home-made answerphone messages must go to computer specialist Ian Howatson of Data Concepts, who unfailingly makes us laugh. His current one consists of loud rock music and his voice screaming, barely audible over the top: ''HELLO! THIS IS IAN! THE VOLUME CONTROL ON THE STEREO IS BROKEN. IF YOU LEAVE A MESSAGE I'LL GET BACK TO YOU!'' His previous one was even funnier, because it didn't sound like an answerphone at all. Ian's Voice: Hello? Lai See: Hello, Ian? Ian's Voice: Hello? Lai See: Is that Ian Howatson? Can you hear me? Ian's Voice: Hello? Lai See: IAN: CAN YOU HEAR ME? Ian's Voice: Actually, I'm having you on! This is an answerphone. Please leave a message. Anyway, after we negotiated Ian's answerphone yesterday, he told us that he had gone to the quiz night and half-price Foster's promotion at Mad Dog's, Wyndham Street, shortly after 8.35 pm on Monday night. ''They didn't have any Foster's in stock,'' he said. The barmaid explained that had they had any, he could have had it for half price. This sounds to us like a fairly cheap promotion to run. Gunk trip DAVID Milburn of Balfours-Haswell was sent a brochure for NK-11, a new type of chemical gunk from Singapore. The instructions say: ''NK-11 is composed of several kinds of mineral oil and active gents. Its colour is yellowish brown.'' Who are these active gents? Is this how they get rid of troublesome journalists in Singapore? Mickey fin WHO is the most famous cartoon character in the modern world? Mickey Mouse? No: Mario the Plumber. Anyone who doesn't know who Mario is, is in danger of missing a new entertainment revolution. A survey in America found that Mario, a character played on Nintendo video games, was recognised by more children than Mickey Mouse by 1990. During the early 1990s, Nintendo brought in as much money as all US movie studios combined. These facts come from a new book called Game Over: How Nintendo Zapped an American Industry, Captured Your Dollars and Enslaved Your Children by David Sheff (Random House). An increasing number of hotels, including the Hyatt in Macau and the Novotel in New York, offer Nintendo game machines to guests who need to catch up with the new world of entertainment.