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UPDATED: August 23, 2011
Shanghai Book Fair: A Digital Age for All
The digital era isn't just about more innovation, but making sure that everyone catches up, at their own pace

Digital reading is a big trend, and almost every book fair held in recent years has paid a lot of attention to what's new in e-book technology. The ongoing Shanghai Book Fair is no exception. Let's check out what the digital age is offering visitors there.

While paper-backs still remain the major attraction at this year's book fair, it's hard to say if printed books will maintain their advantage for long. Many visitors are enjoying flipping through the pages on a handy digital reader.

This interest was anticipated by several reading software developers from the Chinese mainland. The Shanghai Book Fair now features devices by Bambook, Sea Reader, Yeahmore, along with many others, all advocating a revolution in the way people read.

So, sliding a finger across a flat screen and pointing to what you want could well be the gesture people think of when they want to read a book in the future. But it's about more than sophistication. Users of digital readers also benefit when it comes to finding books. A journey to the public library is replaced by quickly searching and saving it onto a digital reader, all done in the palm of your hand.

Beyond reading, some go a step farther, for example suggesting the ingredients needed to prepare a meal. With one click on the basket, a list of vegetable choices are available. You can pick your favorite, check its price and even get a recommended recipe if you're running low on inspiration.

While some people surf the digital waves with ease, there is concern that some frustrated individuals who are not familiar with the technology may simply be left behind.

Wang Xueqing, SR. manger of Chinese All (Shanghai) Ltd, said, "People of the elder generation, for example, are not as used to using digital devices as young people. We are creating something for them that is more convenient to control with a simpler design, like an icon that can be easily spotted on the desktop."

It's hard to imagine what electronic gadget might show up at next year's book fair, but one thing is for sure: the digital era isn't just about more innovation, but making sure that everyone catches up, at their own pace.

(CNTV.cn August 23, 2011)

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