People line up to enter Hong Kong Central Library on World Book Day in Hong Kong, south China, April 23, 2022. (Xinhua/Lo Ping Fai)
HONG KONG, April 23 (Xinhua) -- As the fifth wave of COVID-19 epidemic eases in Hong Kong, public facilities including libraries reopened recently, attracting a crowd of book lovers to enjoy their reading time.
April 23 marks the World Book Day when some parents in Hong Kong took the opportunity to bring their kids to the libraries, including local resident Ms. Ho, a grandmother of a two-year-old toddler.
Ho said it is important to nurture children's interest in reading at a young age.
Anti-epidemic measures are strictly observed in public libraries. Visitors are required to scan the "LeaveHomeSafe" mobile app QR code and show their COVID-19 vaccination records to the staff before entering.
Some seats and computers are labeled "not in use" for people to maintain appropriate social distancing. Book sterilizers are available in some libraries, such as the Hong Kong Central Library.
A recent survey conducted by the Hong Kong Publishing Professionals Society showed that in the past year, the proportion of respondents who read materials in print version and electronic version was similar, with 70.7 percent and 68.8 percent respectively.
Among the respondents who read printed materials, 25.9 percent said they would consider buying e-books, slightly higher than last year's 23.8 percent.
According to a local book retailer, while the epidemic has affected book sales in Hong Kong, it has also increased people's demand for reading, with sales picking up each time the epidemic receded. And although printed books are still the mainstream, e-books have become a trend.
On Saturday, Hong Kong registered 252 new COVID-19 cases by nucleic acid tests, and 271 additional positive cases through self-reported rapid antigen tests, official data showed. ■