Online library for those stuck at home

Top News | Cindy Wan 18 Feb 2020

The publishing and cultural industry has launched an online platform to gather reading and studying materials for people who spend their time at home amid the coronavirus outbreak.

More than 920 items - including students' studying materials and lifestyle content - were uploaded to the website https://www.readtogether.hk

Hong Kong Publishing Federation chairman Elvin Lee Ka-kui said the industry hopes to contribute to society during this difficult time, prompting some 60 publishers and related organizations to share their resources - mostly for free - on the website.

"We hope people, especially the 800,000 students whose classes are suspended, can maintain their studies at home," he said.

The four major organizers - Publishing Federation, Cultural Association, Motion Picture Industry Association and Federation of Hong Kong Sports Organisations - worked on a tight schedule to create the website in a week, Lee said.

The platform consists of reading and studying resources for preschoolers and primary and secondary students, in addition to learning games and counseling services from the charity Hok Yau Club.

For parents and adults, there are online fitness coaching, cooking classes, videos of performance shows and even a free 66-page e-book on proper ways to prevent the spread of the virus. Speaking on how the industry has been affected by the outbreak, Lee said Hong Kong publishers and bookstores lose chances to promote and sell books in international book fairs.

"As Italy has suspended flights from Hong Kong, around 30 book exhibitors who planned to join a book fair in Bologna, Italy might need to cancel the trip," he said.

The affected exhibitors are communicating with the event organizer on potential ways to attend the Bologna Children's Book Fair, which will be held from March 30 to April 2, Lee added.

Another 50 exhibitors and publishers were also affected by the postponement of the Taipei International Book Exhibition originally planned for this month, which has been moved to May 7 to 12.

"It is difficult for local bookstores too. As citizens avoid going out for shopping, bookstores have seen a decline in the number of customers," he said.

cindymt.wan@singtaonewscorp.com

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