As the 20th edition of the HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair ended today, an independent survey of visitors offers some insight into the reading habits of the record 900,000 people who attended the event organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).
About 60% of Hong Kong people spend five hours or more a week reading, according to the survey commissioned by the HKTDC and conducted by researchers from Actrium Solutions (HK) Limited.
The survey of 887 visitors also found that in terms of languages, Chinese books and journals are the most popular (72 per cent), followed by English (27 per cent).
The 900,000 attendance was an 8 per cent increase over last year. Some 10,000 of the visitors were from the Chinese mainland, Macau, Taiwan or as far away as Canada and the United States.
Some 40 per cent of those surveyed purchase books more than once a month, mainly at bookstores. Others polled said they purchase books at the HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair, through the Internet and at supermarkets or convenience stores. The average amount they spend on books each year is HK$2,071.
Speaking at a news conference today, HKTDC Assistant Executive Director Raymond Yip said electronic reading platforms are becoming increasingly popular.
“The research shows that half of the visitors had tried various electronic channels for reading books and journals, as well as for acquiring other forms of information,” said Mr Yip.
The study also found that 74 per cent of those interviewed have used an Internet portal and 42 per cent read e-books. The figures for those using mobile phones and i-pods are 16 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.。
During the fair held from 22-28 July at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, more than 40,000 visitors took part in related cultural events. Among some 200 sessions were Renowned Writers Lectures, Hong Kong-focused Readers Lectures and Celebrities as Story-tellers.
Average Amount Spent at Book Fair: HK$469
Mr Yip pointed out that consumer-spending power did not seem to be affected by global economic turmoil. Close to 60 per cent of those interviewed spent more than or as much as they did last year. The average spent by each of those polled was HK$469.
The most popular types of books were fiction books and novels (50 per cent), followed by literature (23 per cent), travel (16 per cent), religion and philosophy (13 per cent), as well as self-improvement (12 per cent), children books (12 per cent) and art and music (12 per cent).
Visitors interviewed said they visited the Book Fair to buy different kinds of books, including new releases (52 per cent), books in foreign languages (22 per cent) and books in simplified Chinese (18 per cent). For tourists, they preferred books that are not available in their hometowns (8 per cent).
“To many Hong Kong people, visiting the HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair each summer has become a habit,” said Mr Yip, noting that the survey found 70 per cent of the interviewees are frequent visitors who took part in at least three past editions of the event.
Some 6 per cent of those surveyed said they have visited the Book Fair for more than 11 years. The Fair also continues to spark new interest, with 15 per cent of those surveyed being first-time visitors.
In general, interviewees said they are contented with arrangements at the Book Fair. Visitors surveyed said they feel more comfortable walking around at the expanded fairground. Some said queuing times were shorter and some reported finding a wider variety of publications available.
Mr Yip said the survey would continue to be conducted at future Book Fairs to track changes in the reading habits of Hong Kong people.