Shenzhen, a city in love with books

File photo/Zhang Jian (NBD)

Thundershowers in the past four days failed to dampen the enthusiasm of book lovers in China's southern city of Shenzhen, named by UNESCO as a global model for the promotion of reading.

A book fair held in the city from July 19 to 22 received an average of 100,000 visitors every day, the organizing committee announced Monday afternoon.

Total book transactions at the main venue, the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center, amounted to 10.76 million yuan (1.56 million U.S. dollars).

"The exhibition area is packed with people during the weekend," said Li Jing, a sales representative of Beijing-based Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. "It's an amazing scene."

Many books of the exhibitors are sold out during the exhibition.

The success of the fair is attributed to several reasons, including the arrangement of meetings between famous writers and their fans.

More than 50 writers were present to sign autographs on their books. Feng Tang, in particular, is said to have signed 693 autographs in one hour.

"It nearly killed me," said Feng.

The most important reason, however, is the long-lasting enthusiasm of book lovers in the city, which has a population of more than 20 million.

In October 2013, UNESCO named Shenzhen a global model for the promotion of reading, recognizing the city's persistent efforts to promote reading among the public.

Shenzhen is a modern metropolis built from a small fishing village. Its builders came from all parts of the country. The residents are known for their persistent love of learning and their innovative spirit.

The city is young and dynamic, so is its population. According to the city government, the people in Shenzhen averaged 33 years old.

"The concentration of so many young people in the city is also an important factor for the impressive atmosphere of reading in Shenzhen," said a salesperson with Dolphin Media at the site, who asked to be identified as Mr. Huang.

Shenzhen, best known for its new and high-tech industries, financial service and logistics industry, looks set to gain greater strength in the cultural and creative sector.

Wu Shulin, deputy chairman of the Publishers Association of China, said the Shenzhen book fair is expected to become another shining feature of the city.

 

Email: gaohan@nbd.com.cn