Bibliophiles, rejoice! It’s July, which means it is time for our favourite event: the Hong Kong Book Fair. Perhaps you are a Hong Kong Book Fair veteran looking for a new summer read and want to see what the event has to offer this year with its plentiful discounts and reduced prices. Maybe you don’t have the foggiest idea of what the Book Fair is about, and you need tips on how to brave the masses and get the most bang for your buck. You could even be someone who has zero interest in books and just wants to see what all the fuss is about.
Books? Seminars? Sports demos? Exhibitions? We’ve got you covered with the latest information and tips on everything you will need to know about the Hong Kong Book Fair, so you will emerge victorious with your new hoard of books, stationery, and more!
The Hong Kong Book Fair is located at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) in Wan Chai and will be running from 20 to 26 July. Adult tickets cost $25 and child tickets are priced at $10. Morning admission, night admission, and concession tickets also cost $10, subject to specific entry conditions that can be found here.
But the Book Fair is not just about books and stationery—ticket holders can also enter the Sports and Leisure Expo and the World of Snacks, which run on the same dates at HKCEC. Please note that due to the pandemic, there will be changes to this year’s Book Fair:
For the newbie Book Fair visitor, here are some tried-and-tested tips to help you navigate the crowds and make the most out of your book-hunting experience:
The Hong Kong Book Fair sells books! Shocker, we know. But it is not just novels and fiction; the General Books Pavilion carries textbooks, recipes, biographies, instruction manuals, university publications, and more, all stored under one humongous hall at slashed prices.
Note that the majority of these books are in Chinese, but maybe there will be a new bookseller in town peddling foreign-language books. For the English reader, head to Hall 1C for the English Avenue, where vendors sell all sorts of different English-language books.
At Hall 1A, the e-Books and e-Learning Resource gives you the chance to find e-reader technology and gadgets at reduced prices. You can also see what the digital sphere has to offer, with booths promoting online reading platforms and publishers.
Tip: Some visitors elect to bring a small suitcase to help carry all their purchases. If you are planning to buy more than a handful of books, we suggest you do the same.
Hall 1A also hosts the International Cultural Village and the Virtual Classrooms. At the International Cultural Village, you will see booths manned by foreign consulates, including France, the Netherlands, and the Philippines. If you are looking to enquire about potential travel plans, the staff there will be happy to offer you the latest updates and information.
Virtual Classrooms hosts booths for private online tutors. Head there to ask about their services if you want to learn something new or bring up your grades, without having to traipse all the way to another location after a long day of work or school.
Find everything a child would need at the Back to School, Children’s Paradise, and Teen’s World sections. At Back to School, score deals on must-haves like illustrated books, backpacks, and water bottles at reduced prices. But childhood is not just about learning—the Children’s Paradise area has booths selling toys and promoting children’s extracurriculars, from painting to board games! If you have an adolescent child (or are an adolescent yourself), then Teen’s World is where you’ll go for a variety of toys and paraphernalia.
Purchase discounted stationery in bulk at the Multimedia, Stationery & Cultural Gifts Zone, and we’re not talking obscure brands, either—you will be seeing big names like Pentel, Pilot, Staedtler, and Zebra! If you are interested in religion and spirituality, head to the Spirituality Zone at Hall 3G, where books and religion-related objects on Christianity and Buddhism are available. Also, have a look at the Collectible Corner, which is filled with booths full of decorative little knick-knacks to decorate your home.
Eat your way around the world at the World of Snacks! With a wide range of goodies ranging from health-conscious nibbles to foreign sweets, you (and your taste buds) will be spoiled for choice. Make sure to check out the Snack Bar, where you will discover a selection of handmade snacks from local enterprises. Click here for more information.
Right next to the World of Snacks is the Sports and Leisure Expo. A bit counter-intuitive to put them side-by-side, but we’re not judging. On top of the discounted sports gear and clothes, you can also encounter a plethora of sports and leisure activities, like an e-racing competition, fencing demonstrations, and even a free golf simulator.
If you are a motorsport enthusiast, Macau Grand Prix champion Darryl O’Young will be hosting a sharing session. If you love baseball, the representative of the Hong Kong National Baseball Team will also be sharing their experiences. Other thematic zones within this expo include Photography World with its wide collection of cameras, Board Games with locally themed board games, and the Japanese Pavilion, which features Japan’s scenic spots and traditional culture. Click here for more information.
Aside from the major deals and discounts, another highlight of the Book Fair is its Eight Seminar series, where you can listen to guest speakers share their insights on a wide range of topics. With the History and City Literature theme this year, the Book Fair has included two highlights: English and International Reading and Renowned Writers.
For English and International Reading, the Book Fair has invited bestselling author Gillian McAllister, veteran Chinese correspondent Mark O’Neill, and Mio Debnam, writer of more than 25 children’s books. Speakers also include Simon Toyne, a British fiction thriller author, and Maisie Chan, winner of the Jhalak Children’s and YA Prize 2022.
For our Chinese-speaking friends, Renowned Writers will feature Mao Dun Literature Prize winner Liu Zhen-yun and Sisy Chen, a renowned Taiwanese author and television host.
Broaden your horizons and attend talks by presenters across a wide range of backgrounds, all of whom are well-known in their respective fields, such as documentary photographer Liu Heung-shing, Hong Kong historian Sun Sai-shin, renowned art critic Johnson Chang, and acclaimed food critic Chua Lam. Click here for the full list of speakers, and be sure to check the event schedule and reserve your seats while they are still available!
Aligning with this year’s theme, the Book Fair will also stage four exhibitions in the Art Gallery, located at the Hall 3 concourse. The History Writers exhibition will display a selection of books, out-of-print works, manuscripts, and collections of five renowned writers’ works. The writers (Elizabeth Sinn, Ting Sun-pao, Lui Tai-Lok, Cheng Po-hung, and the late Yeh Ling-feng, represented by his daughter Yeh Chung-man) will also share insights into their writing techniques and research processes.
An interactive exhibition, the City Literature exhibition will feature 25 literary works from Hong Kong to take visitors on an architectural and cultural journey through the city. Moving away from books and literature, the Tastes of Hong Kong exhibition will display artefacts such as rare vintage tableware and restaurant miniatures to showcase the evolution of local culinary culture. If you are a lover of art and photography, head to the Hong Kong Architecture exhibition, where you can appreciate works by artists depicting historical sites.
For details and the latest news, click here for more information.
Getting to the Hong Kong Book Fair is easy, and the new Exhibition Centre MTR station on the East Rail line is your best bet. Exit at B3 and walk for four minutes to get to HKCEC.
For Hong Kong Island dwellers or those who want to avoid the larger crowds, you can get to HKCEC via Wan Chai Station (Exit A2) and walk for 12 minutes. There will be clear directional signs, so you will know where to go. If you ever get lost, just follow the crowd!