Today I’m going to share my trip to the Taipei International Book Exhibition (actually, it’s the very first book fair I’ve attended), so I hope you’ll enjoy it!
As a booklover, going to a bookish event is probably one of the most exciting things for me, particularly when I’ve dreamt about attending one since, I don’t know, forever. Thus, after persistently begging my friends to go with me, they finally
surrendered agreed! Anyway, I was really glad the four of us could be an one-day-nerd together. B-)
Since I’ve never been to a book fair before, I didn’t know what to expect, honestly. What I had in mind was something similar to a bookstore, but with a much larger scale, and some bookish swags or book signing events. Surprisingly, there were not only these features but also many activities held by diverse publishers including manga and animation companies as well.
The international book exhibition was held in the 1st and 3rd building of the Taipei World Trade Center, somewhere near Taipei 101. I personally think it’s the perfect place for such a huge event because it actually attracts many visitors from various countries. For those travelers, they could go to the exhibition and at the same time, visit the most famous landmark here in Taiwan.
Due to the limited time, we only went to the 3rd building because most (popular)publishers and book conferences/signings were there. You could find most children’s books and other stationery supplies in the 1st building. It was late afternoon when we got there, and truth be told, the entire exhibition was spacious with high ceilings and wide aisles. The walls were decorated with all kinds of colorful posters and the floor was covered in luxurious-looking carpets. What’s more, the smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the air made the whole place all the more cozy. Well, I would appreciate more if the air conditioner were working because it was like, 10℃ outside (haha, of all the sunny days here, we chose the coldest one to come) but we felt like 40℃ inside, which was insanely HOT. Above all, in respect of the exhibition surrounding, it was quite satisfying.
I was specifically interested in the English and translated novels (YA, in particular) sections so they were undoubtedly my first destinations. Thankfully, the translated novels were easy to find because those publishers were super popular among teenagers and adults alike. My favorite ones are Locus Publishing (大塊文化), Global Publishing Group (高寶書版集團), and Fantasy Foundation (奇幻基地). There were indeed tons of wonderful YA novels and the most well-known book series; moreover, the publishers even came up with a brilliant idea of giving away bookish swags by posting photos on Facebook/Instagram! It was really a lot of fun hanging around these sections.
Here’s the promotion for Stephanie Meyer’s latest book, The Chemist . Could you tell it’s a bathtub? There were other props like gas masks, test tubes and lab coats alongside the books so the atmosphere
was really creepy fit the story pretty well.
As for the section of English novels, well, it was rather disappointing for me. Even though the catalogue said there would be several foreign publishers at the exhibition, most of them were for textbooks, teaching materials, or children’s books. The only two I’m more familiar with are Penguin/Random House and Scholastic ; however, none of their books were new releases. They were showcased by a local bookstore called Bookman (書林書店), and I felt like shopping in a second-hand bookstore. Although there were a lot of novels on the bookshelves (compared to ordinary bookshops), most of them were published a long time ago, or simply the “inventories” that couldn’t be sold.
A huge merit in the exhibition is that the publishers offered a great bargain for most, if not all, books so the readers could buy them with a quite satisfying price. The English novels usually cost A LOT if you buy it in a physical bookstore or online, but you could get 25% off or sometimes with a deal like “buy two, get one free”. Interestingly, I’ve seen many people (I believe they seldom read books in English) buy their books because of the recommendation from friends. They’d pick up a bestselling book (mainly movie-based) and said “my friend told me it’s a must-read so I’ll buy one.” Haha, to some extent, this exhibition might not be too bad for them. 😉
A very major difference between these books here and those in a bookstore is that we can flip through the pages before buying them. As you could see, all the books are available for reading/checking out directly; on the contrary, most books are covered in plastic bags in bookstores so you can’t see what it’s like inside. Unfortunately, these were also the books you can buy, meaning you’d buy a copy which may be touched and browsed through by lots of people instead of a brand-new one. Some of them were already damaged or covered with countless fingerprints. I don’t know you, but I’d like a new book rather than used one under the same price.
This was yet another English novels section that attracted many readers because they offered the best prices I’ve seen. This was a lovely corner filled with novels which were a huge success after hitting the big screen. Compared to Bookman, the books here were newer and less damaged. Besides, the publisher never stopped putting new ones on the shelves so you could always find something interesting. *heart eyes*
There were several bookish events/conferences in the exhibition center as well, and many indie authors were invited. Of course, there were some American writers who wrote books about Taiwan or their experiences in staying here. Sadly, most of their target readers were travelers from all over the world; thus, we didn’t get much chance to discuss about their books. The one that’s quite popular among Taiwanese readers was Kevin Hearne, author of The Iron Druid Chronicles and that’s why his appearance on the spot was a surprise for us.
Beside these features, I absolutely adored the design for different sections of the exhibition. Some of them were old-fashioned, some of them were high-tech-looking, and others were fairly unique. It was also a pleasure to look around the entire structure of the space or appreciate the lovely decorations for each subject/section. There was even an European Café so you could always take a seat on the comfy sofa while sipping your special drink and reading a few chapters of your new babies.
Lastly, it was still an amazing trip for me overall. Despite the fact that I didn’t find the books I was looking for, the international book exhibition indeed broadened my horizons with all of those spectacular features. If you haven’t given this a try, I’m sure the one in 2018 will surprise you even more! 🙂
Thanks for reading this post! I’m one step closer to become a better, devoted booklover and I’m really glad to have such a wonderful experience in a book exhibition. ^^
[Photo credit: 2017 TiBE facebook page & me]