Hundreds of brand new books were abandoned at this year’s Hong Kong Book Fair after the exhibition finished on July 21.

Exhibitors left behind books they failed to sell during the seven-day event as well as wooden bookshelves, plastic bags, and drinks, leaving behind an enormous mess at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, footage released by Oriental Daily has revealed.

In the video, a pickup truck is seen taking away bookshelves and other waste on site.

The abandoned books included magazines, dictionaries and English learning materials.

A spokesperson for the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre said the clean-up of the book fair was completed overnight because another exhibition was scheduled the next morning.

“It was regrettable that only limited recycling activities can be accomplished during this short duration of about 12 hours,” the spokesperson said in an email reply to Hong Kong Free Press.

The organiser of the event, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), said exhibitors are required to clear everything from their booths before they exit the venue according to regulations.

One publisher, Taiwan’s Hebron Soft Limited, appeared to have left dozens of its magazines behind. When contacted by HKFP, a communication manager at Hebron said he was not aware of the wastage. “We definitely would not have allowed it if we knew,” the spokesman said.

Oriental Daily cited one exhibitor as saying increasing storage rent and transportation fees meant it is cheaper for publishers to throw away the books rather than taking them back to warehouses.

The abandoned books will be taken to the Tuen Mun landfill, Oriental Daily said.

More than one million people attended this year’s book fair, organiser the HKTDC said. Over 580 exhibitors from 33 countries and regions joined the event. Average spending was HK$903 according to on-site surveys.

Photo: HKTDC

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.