More than 500 publishing houses from around China are taking part in this edition of the seven-day book fair. File photo.

The annual Shanghai Book Fair opened this week at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, and for the first time, the event will be held in 50 other sub-venues across the country, reported.

On display are publications ranging from comics and biographies to fiction and fashion magazines. More than 500 publishing houses from around China are taking part in this edition of the seven-day book fair.

Over 160,000 books are on offer for visitors to read and purchase at the main hall of the Shanghai Exhibition Center.

The event will include activities such as a conference on innovations of traditional book stores, forums to discuss the changes in the publishing industry, and workshops where insiders can share with visitors their ideas on how to cultivate good reading habits, the report said.

Apart from the main session in Shanghai, for the first time since its inception in 2004, the book fair will have more than 50 branch venues in cities in the Yangtze River Delta region and elsewhere in China.

Bookworms are being promised a more comfortable, cafe-like experience in the main venue this year, with best-selling authors like Elif Shafak from Turkey slated to hold reading events.

British award winning biographer Lyndall Gordon, Norwegian short story writer Roy Jacobsen and Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, author of the best-seller “The Bastard of Istanbul” will be holding seminars.

Some of the 33 Chinese and foreign writers will give talks on their writing experiences, others give more general talks on their literary visions, says Xu Jiong, director of the Shanghai Press and Publication Bureau.

Organizers say this year’s show will be set up to look like a book cafe, where publishers display only books for visitors to browse through. They can also scan codes to purchase the book online and get it mailed to their homes.

For those into ancient Chinese literature, do not miss the daily lectures on classic Chinese works during the fair.

Daytime entrance is just 10 yuan per person, and night-time admission is just five yuan at the Shanghai Exhibition Center.

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