The National Book Expo recently returned to Shenzhen after a gap of around 20 years, rekindling memories, Mei Jia reports.
In the past 20 years, Shenzhen has continuously been the top buyer of books in the country in terms of the annual amount of books bought per capita, the city's Party chief, Wang Weizhong, said at the opening ceremony of the 28th National Book Expo on July 19.
In 1996, when the 7th National Book Expo was held in the city, people flocked to buy books and the venue got so crowded that it had to be closed. And an old photo shows the glass door of the venue with a poster which says "Please come tomorrow" even as the crowd lingered on, unwilling to leave.
Veteran publishers remember that year's session as a very successful one.
After that, Shenzhen became the first Chinese city to hold Reading Month events to promote reading, leading the way for other cities.
The recent four-day event featured more than 800 publishers, 1 million copies of books and 427 events, including the China Publishing Group Corp's Readers Conference with writers like Cao Wenxuan and Lu Nei, as well as Hong Kong-based designer and writer Ouyang Yingji in attendance.
The expo attracted 480,000 visitors and saw retail business totaling 81 million yuan ($11.97 million) as it became the first national book expo to sell books directly to visitors.