Some children take part in the Shanghai Book Fair. (Photo: VCG)
This year's Shanghai Book Fair marks the fifteenth anniversary of the exhibition. Over those years, the fair has evolved from nothing more than a large bookshop to an integrated platform, at which readers can have the first look at new releases, hear presentations by authors and just enjoy being surrounded by domestic and foreign literature.
The fair has had a motto for ten years - "Exhibited in Shanghai, and sold nationwide" - but this year the book fair is taking one step further as the new international section will bring nearly 4,000 foreign books to Chinese readers for the first time, as renowned publishers from around the world come to showcase their works.
Readers who browse the new international section have come with specific targets, saying that the fair has more options than before.
"It's my second year here. I bought some foreign novels. There are more types of foreign books, and more different editions of many books this time, giving me more options," a visitor said.
Another visitor added that she always bought foreign books in the Waiwen or foreign language bookstore because of the discounts and larger selection, but now she would definitely take part in this kind of book fair.
"There are more new foreign books this time. Penguin! Because it is the most famous book publisher at this fair," she was excited. The staff working in the foreign book section say that novels are the most popular.
Another popular genre is children's books, which were brought to China by dozens of foreign publishers, who put on an exhibition at the fair's international children's book carnival. Officials from the Shanghai Press and Publication Administration say that books in a variety of languages are being presented at the fair as that is what Shanghai readers want.
Peng Weiguo, deputy director of Shanghai Press and Publication Administration, said that the fair even put up prominent signs for the international section.
"They've introduced more than 60 foreign publishers to the fair, including Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, and Japan's Kodansha. Most foreign books are English and Japanese, but they also include Korean, Spanish, French, and German," Peng said.
This international emphasis is echoed by officials from Shanghai Book Traders, one of the best-known foreign-language bookstores in Shanghai.
Zhang Anping, secretary of CPC General Branch of Shanghai Book Traders, said that they want to bring the best shopping and reading experiences to readers by upgrading last year's import section into being a comprehensive international section.
Exhibitors point out that the international section is not just for importers, but for exporters as well. That means there are nearly three thousand foreign-language editions of Chinese books available. The fair will run until next Tuesday.