HONG KONG, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Shopping around booths in the Hong Kong Book Fair, Clement Leung was looking for a Belgian children's book for his grandson.
"Reading books from around the world can further broaden our horizons," said the 65-year-old, who had worked in the education sector before retiring and was a regular of the annual event.
"This is also a good way for us to learn more about other people's culture, and most importantly, many of the foreign books have got English versions," he added.
Organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the largest annual literary fest in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), running on July 17-23, is featuring publications and writers from different countries and regions.
On the first floor of the fair, booths set up by various consulates in Hong Kong, present a wide range of books and related products to help the public get a better understanding of their cultures.
Maria Jose, a Spanish teacher in Hong Kong, was enthusiastically introducing Spanish tourism publications and different levels of Spanish learning materials to visitors.
"I'm afraid there is only a few Spanish book stores in Hong Kong and we are happy to be here to tell people more about our language," she told Xinhua, saying that it was the fifth year that the Consulate General of Spain in Hong Kong joined the fair.
English books were especially popular among readers. Simplified versions of Sherlock Holmes and Shakespeare collection for young people were on sale at a limited number every day and they went out of stock in no time.
The original price of a set of the Sherlock Holmes children's collection costing 69.9 British pounds (about 87 U.S. dollars), was selling at 100 HK dollars (12.8 U.S. dollars) at the fair.
"We came here for some English books because they are at good deals," said a mother of two boys, who wished to be named Wong. She bought some second-hand English titles at 10 HK dollars each.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the book fair was more than just a platform for trading books; it also presented a smorgasbord of cultural activities, including renowned writers' seminars, art gallery exhibitions and story telling sessions for kids.
The theme for this year's Book Fair is "Sci-Fi and Mystery," with the tagline "Reading the World, When Fantasy Meets Reality" to encourage readers to explore these fascinating literary genres.
"When reading a book, you don't simply enjoy it, but you can also gain new insights from it," French science-fiction writer Bernard Werber said at a sharing session at the book fair on Sunday evening.
With over 30 million books sold, Werber is one of France's most widely read authors and his work is translated all over the world.
Werber encouraged the audience to spend time to explore the nature. "Listening to the sound of waves, strolling along the woods and observing insects in a garden," he said, adding that all these activities can help stimulate imagination.
"Hong Kong is an international, culturally diverse place," Chan Man Hung, former president of the Sino United Publishing (Holdings) Ltd, a cross-regional publishing conglomerate based in Hong Kong said earlier in an interview with Xinhua. "Such an environment has enabled people to read bilingually, Chinese and English, which is rare in the world.
Bilingual reading is common among children in Hong Kong and English books in local book stores take up around 20 percent of the total number of books in general, which is quite high, Chan added. (1 U.S. dollar equals 7.81 HK dollars)