by Helen Gregg
For the first time, the Hong Kong Book Fair has devoted an area of the packed show floor to digital publishing and technology exhibitors, reported the New York Times. The new digital book and e-publishing zone at the week-long fair features over twenty technology companies showcasing their products to the almost 900,000 attendees expected by tomorrow’s closing day.
The dedicated booths come as a response to the rapidly growing popularity of e-reading in China. Hanvon, a Chinese company that makes dedicated e-readers similar to Amazon’s Kindle, reported 1.5 million e-readers sold last year alone. Martin Ke, a sales manager for Jecomtech, said there was still a market for print books, but added: “But I think e-books are going to grow. They’re convenient, they’re portable, and, some say, they are more environmentally friendly.”
The Hong Kong Book Fair is not the only book fair this year to dedicate significant space to technology companies. The Frankfurt Book Fair, the industry’s largest, is introducing six new digital areas called HotSpots this year. These collective stands aim to establish working partnerships between traditional publishers and emerging technology. The increasing presence of technology companies at publishing trade shows worldwide shows the increasing role these companies will play in the industry’s future.