Diocese withdraws from Hong Kong’s annual book fair

assorted book lot

HONG KONG (SE): The Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong will not join this year’s Hong Kong Book Fair, taking into consideration the risks still posed by the Covid-19 coronavirus to staff as well as the large number of volunteers. 

The book fair, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), is scheduled to be held from July 15 to 21 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wanchai. 

Josephine Lau Wai-Ling, general manager of the Catholic Centre, which is the co-ordinating organisation that deals with application procedures on behalf of the diocese for the annual event, told the Kung Kao Po on May 6 that although the pandemic seemed to be under control in early May, some medical experts worried that the pandemic may be unstable and not be completely under control by July. 

According to her, Catholic publishers were concerned about the risk of participating in the during the pandemic. After some consideration, the publishers and the centre decided to withdraw the application, which was submitted at the end of December last year. At that time, 18 Catholic organisations and publishers had signed up to set up booths at the fair.

Lau said the preparation work, such as designing booths and ordering books, starts from mid-April every year. As it is hard to predict how the situation of the pandemic will play out, an early decision had to be made. 

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Lau added that the withdrawal would affect the application for next year’s fair, as the TDC will consider the diocese as a new participant which may affect the position and the number of booths allocated the next time.

Lau said book sales at the Catholic Centre had dropped by half during the pandemic so various promotions have been made available for online sales. Its branches in Tsim Sha Tsui and Prince Edward Road have also been temporarily closed since the mid- February. 

The centre plans to strengthen its promotions in July, during the time of the book fair, even though it is not joining, by recommending good books to customers and offering discounts.

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