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It's All Fair as Readers Turn Up in Volumes
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Celebrities and not books are drawing in many of the crowd at this year's Shanghai Book Fair which opened yesterday.

As well as the 100,000 books up for sale with a 20-percent discount, the week-long fair features more than 200 lectures and promotional activities, giving readers a chance to meet their favorite writers.

For the first time the fair is at the Shanghaimart, a multi-storied building that looks from the inside like the famous Shanghai Book City on Fuzhou Road. It also has cafes to relax in though the prices are not designed for people on a budget.

Also for the first time fair organizers have set a 20,000 limit on the number of visitors attending at any time.

While fans can be found on any of the seven stories, a crowd of older fans gathered on the fourth floor yesterday to examine the works of 96-year-old Qian Xuesen, the father of China's space technology.

Elsewhere hundreds of school fans, shouting and waving, waited for autographs from My Heroes star Wu Jianfei.

Right until next Tuesday visitors to the fair will have a chance to meet other celebrities, TV presenters, writers, scholars, dancers, pop stars, artists, language experts, doctors - even perhaps read some books.

The fair's security guards reported that some visitors began queuing to get in an hour before the fair opened and some students were even in line for tickets four hours before the doors were opened.

Yesterday an hour before the noted scholars Yi Zhongtian and Yu Dan began their public discussion, there were hardly any vacant seats in the hall.

Yi Zhongtian is a professor of Xiamen University who became famous through his books and TV lectures on history, particularly his analysis of characters during the Three Kingdoms (220-280). Yu Dan is a noted academic at Beijing Normal University.

(Shanghai Daily August 16, 2007)

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