Major publishers will go head to head with their small and medium-sized counterparts at this year's Book Fair, as everyone will set up shop on the same floor for the first time since the event started in 1990. In a first in the city, about 15 smaller publishers have joined hands to form the Hong Kong SME Publications Association and secured 60 booths at Hall 1 of the Convention and Exhibition Centre, where the fair will take place from tomorrow. They will share the space with major publishing houses including Joint Publishing, Commercial Press, Crown Publishing and Ming Pao Publications, which will continue their presence at Hall 1. The association's treasurer, Lai Ho, said Hall 1 was the best location, but smaller publishers had had difficulty getting a slot, as they could never book enough booths. 'Location is very important,' Mr Lai said. 'Some [shoppers] might already be too tired or have shopped enough after going to Hall 1. They might not visit us if we are located on a different floor.' Joint Publishing's marketing and sales deputy manager, Teresa Leung Lai-han, said the joint effort of the SME publishers was a positive outcome of the exhibition centre's atrium expansion. 'Readers can visit more booths at the same time.' Some publishers are targeting the market for educational books. A few major publishers will focus on promoting such books to meet demands arising from the 3-3-4 secondary curriculum, effective from September. Commercial Press had launched a series of traditional and electronic books for the new curriculum, retail director Anita Wan said. The publishing house would also unveil an innovative platform offering 50 e-books aimed at improving youngsters' Chinese reading and writing skills, Ms Wan said. Mr Lai, who is also a director of Rightman Publishing, said one of his company's publications, Children Science, a monthly issue on scientific subjects, broke even last year, four years after it was launched. 'The launch of liberal studies and the government's encouragement on learning about science subjects helped,' he said. Meanwhile, more Hong Kong editions of mainland titles will be seen at the fair as well as in the rest of the year, although these are pricier than the mainland versions. Such books could cost a third more than the mainland titles, Ms Leung said. 'But Hong Kong people still prefer books of better design and paper of better quality.' She said locals were interested in a variety of topics, from health care to cultural issues. 'We have to bring different kinds of books to test out what people really like.' Cosmos Books' chief editor Ngan Shun-kau said romantic novels from the mainland never used to do well in Hong Kong because of the huge cultural gap. 'But they are doing better these years. Perhaps the cultural gap between the two places has narrowed. We are trying to bring in more romantic titles by mainland authors.' The 20th Book Fair runs until next Tuesday.