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August 18, 2011

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Thousands brave rain for opening of book fair

NOTHING could stand in the way of the Chinese passion for books and reading as thousands of people flocked into the city's annual book fair this morning on its opening day despite torrential rains.

The fair will last for a week until next Tuesday at the Shanghai Exhibition Center on Yan'an Road, with millions of books on offer at bargain prices. Book lovers, mostly elderly people and students, had already lined up in the heavy rain before the fair opened at 9am.

Cao Huan, a student from the Shanghai University, said she made a list at home and expected to get some discounted books at the fair.

"The fair will debut a lot of new books that are not available now in local bookstores and online bookstores," Cao said.

Unlike Cao, who was on a quest to buy books, many people visited the fair for a glimpse of cultural celebrities including the French Nobel Prize winner, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, who gave a short speech at the opening ceremony.

This was the first time Le Clézio had attended the Shanghai Book Fair and the second time for him and his wife, Jemia, to visit Shanghai in the last 20 years.

"The book fair is great and interesting," said Jemia.

While the French writer was signing autographs for his readers, his wife told Shanghai Daily that she was very surprised to see so many young Chinese fans of her husband.

Another highlight at the fair is the digital publishing area, featuring the latest products that include online magazines, electronic books and e-learning platforms for children.

For the city's Internet-based sales, mobile publishing ranked first, with a sales volume of 1 billion yuan (US$156 million) in 2010, followed by online literature and digital versions of traditional publications.

The fair's closing time will be extended by three hours, going from 6pm to 9pm Friday through Sunday to allow for more visitors.


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