The theme of this year's annual National Book Expo, the country's largest yearly book fair, is "new time, new reading", according to a local official in Shenzhen, the city that will hold the expo from July 19 to 22.
Chen Shaohua, deputy director of the Shenzhen culture, sports and tourism bureau, told a meeting on Friday in the southern city of Guangdong province that the fair will exhibit the results of reform in the publishing industry, as 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up.
Nowadays, digital reading has gained more and more popularity and this year's book fair will also display digital content, online reading and other innovative gadgets.
In addition, it will also focus on innovation in order to facilitate China's book and culture industry to shift its orientation from quantity to quality, he added.
The nation's first high-end smart book mall will officially open during the fair in the city's Longgang district. Equipped with smart consultants, selling, exhibition and accounting systems, it will have a self-service bookstore, intelligent book management and education.
Six book malls in Shenzhen, including the new one, will all participate in the trading fair with their own unique themes. Luohu Bookstore focuses on humanities and social sciences, while three of the other five stores highlight children's books and new reading projects.
The main venue, Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center, covers about 50,000 square meters and has three exhibition halls, said Yin Changlong, party chief and general manager of Shenzhen Publication and Distribution Group, one of the organizers of the fair.
"Close to 2,000 exhibitors will present about 1 million books at the book expo and over 500 cultural activities will be held," he noted.
The expo has a history of 38 years and it is the second time the event has visited Shenzhen. In 1996, Shenzhen's first book mall held the expo right after its official opening and had broken previous records in sales volume and orders.
Since then, reading has become one of the outstanding cultural phenomena of this immigrant city. So far, the city has 632 public libraries, one for every 10,000 people, and more than 200 book stores.
According to a recent report released by Shenzhen Library, the metropolitan ranks the first in China over the past two dozen years in terms of the number of books each citizen purchases on average.
The report also says every individual in Shenzhen reads more than one hour on average every day and more than 250,000 people borrow 10 or more books each year.