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The Taipei International Book Exhibition will set up a simplified Chinese book pavilion for the first time this year to familiarize local readers with books from China, organizers said on Monday.

The pavilion will showcase over 50,000 books from some 300 Chinese publishers, covering topics ranging from art and literature to healthcare and computers, said Wang Cheng-hui, general manager of Chinese Creation Publishing Co., which is organizing the pavilion.

"It is still difficult for readers to see a comprehensive collection (of books from China) in Taiwan right now," Wang said.

As books published in China usually cost much less than those published in Taiwan, local bookstore chains are unlikely to introduce comprehensive collections of Chinese books, as they would be unable to maintain cost effectiveness, Wang said.

Therefore, most bookstores that sell simplified Chinese books are independent operations and often do not have the ability to provide large collections, Wang explained.

He expressed hope that the pavilion will help Taiwanese readers gain a better understanding of books published in China and help local publishers get to know their readers' tastes in simplified Chinese books.

An event will also be hosted on Jan. 30 to allow publishers from China and Taiwan to interact with each other, Wang said.

Close to 100 Chinese representatives from the publishing and cultural and creative industries are expected to attend the book fair, buy and sell book copyrights, and seek opportunities to cooperate with their Taiwanese counterparts.

Meanwhile, a Hong Kong pavilion will be set up for the second year at the exhibition.

It will feature some 1,200 books, 60 electronic books and over 230 other publications to showcase the creative achievements of Hong Kong, said John Leung, director of the Taipei-based Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office.

He said the publications will cover topics such as Hong Kong's culinary culture, travel destinations, festivals, customs and history.

"Readers can see the diverse cultural landscape of Hong Kong through these publications," Leung said.

The exhibition, now in its 21st year, will run Jan. 30-Feb. 4 at the Taipei World Trade Center. This year's fair has received over 800 registrations by publishers, and 500 writers from home and abroad are expected to attend. 

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