The Hong Kong Book Fair opens today, with organisers hoping the focus will be on the exhibitors and not on pouting pseudo-models. The week-long fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre features 526 exhibitors, a three per cent increase from last year. But the presence of the pseudo-models , or lang mo as they are known in Cantonese, is set to shrink. It was feared the models could tarnish the image of the fair after they turned up uninvited last year. The Trade Development Council received 13 applications from the models to hold autograph signing sessions last year and all of them were turned down. But the models arrived anyway, announcing their appearances to the media. This year, five applications were received and two have been approved, with the models saying they will maintain a lower profile. Benjamin Chau Kai-leung, deputy executive of the council, said outrageous promotions that didn't match the book fair's 'cultural style' were not welcome. He said: 'The book fair is open and free. We won't censor any content as long as it stays within the standard of category one publication.' The biggest expansion at the book fair is in the area of digital publishing, which is 70 per cent larger than last year. Tech enthusiasts can try out new e-book kiosks, where they will be able to browse e-books on screen. They will be able to choose the parts they want and download 20 pages onto their smartphones. There will also be talks by 150 speakers, including British historian David Starkey, Taiwanese critic Li Ao, food writer Tom Parker Bowles, novelist Nicholas Coleridge and Chinese history expert Julia Lovell. Those interested in local writers can visit an exhibition which displays handmade crafts by Xi Xi, the fair's 'author of the year'. Xi made them with a single hand after she fell sick and her other hand became inflexible. A recent reading habit survey conducted by Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong showed that 40 per cent of the 643 respondents did not feel the annual event had contributed much to boost Hong Kong's reading habits. The survey also found that 70 per cent of the smartphone and tablet users interviewed - who made up about one third of all respondents - had never used their gadgets for book reading. But Chau said in response: 'Why don't we look at it this way - e-book readership has already reached 30 per cent. It's a fair number for a burgeoning industry.' About 2,000 mainland tourists in around 60 guided tours will visit, up from 1,835 last year. And current issues have provided inspiration for publishers. Sub-Culture, which publishes political comics, has made sure the recent controversy over the government's proposal to scrap by-elections is included in its latest book Hong Kong's Breakdown. It will give out key chains featuring tycoon Li Ka-shing and chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen with devilish horns on their heads as free gifts for customers.