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August 16, 2012

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Top authors open book fair

READERS of all ages braved heat and storms for the city's annual book fair, which opened yesterday.

The Shanghai Book Fair, in its ninth year, is held at Shanghai Exhibition Center through August 21. Admission is 10 yuan (US$1.57).

The fair opened at 9am, but book lovers lined up as early as 8am to meet favorite writers. Some 300 cultural celebrities from home and abroad will hold over 400 lectures and signing sessions in the one-week event.

The first day started with a heavyweight panel with four authors who have won the Mao Dun Literary Prize, China's most prestigious literary award, handed out every four years. Bi Feiyu, Liu Zhenyun, Mo Yan and Wang Anyi, all also published extensively in English, shared their insights with readers and Fudan University Chinese literature professor Chen Sihe.

"Many say that Chinese people, especially the young ones, are not reading anymore," Chen said. "But I disagree. The young Chinese are just reading on different media – through mobile devices rather than printing."

Digital printing, the fastest growing publishing field at a rate of 31 percent last year, is a fair highlight. The digital printing hall has 12 participants that cover many topics in both service and content.

This year, the fair is also equipped with free Wi-Fi service. It was down after a few hours the first day as staff said it was overwhelmed.

"Our family has come to the fair every year on the first day," primary school teacher Wang Yanwen, accompanied by his son, told Shanghai Daily. "It's his grand finale before the school starts and also our big book shopping day since there's a discount on all books," Wang said.

The children's book section gets better every year, and includes imported books in English. It also features lectures held by children's book authors and child education experts every day.


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