Singapore-based publisher Popular Holdings has prepared a special gift for buyers of its best-selling books during the seven-day Hong Kong Book Fair which starts today. The promotional gimmick aims to attract the “peanut gallery” or online chatroom fans.
For every purchase of books worth at least HK$180 (US$23.22), buyers will receive a gift pack of peanuts. It aims to attract young readers who will better enjoy reading the publisher’s exciting stories while munching the free peanuts, Lam Ming-lai, the publisher’s marketing manager, was quoted as saying in Ming Pao Daily report on Wednesday.
Most of the titles that are expected to make a big splash in this year’s book fair were written by popular internet writers or about Korean pop culture, the report said. One such book is The 70 Things You Won’t Know Unless You Live in Seoul.
In the context of Hong Kong’s popular culture, “waiting for a movie while eating peanuts” is a slang that has the same meaning as “watching the fires burning across the river”. Netizens use the phrase to show they are indifferent to certain things or somebody else’s troubles.
Regulars at hkgolden.com, one of the hottest online discussion groups in the city, call themselves the “peanut gallery” as they enjoy observing quarrels and scandals posted on the internet. They also invented such terms as “peanut index” and “peanut price level” to rate how juicy a social phenomenon or political issue is.
In America, the term “peanut gallery” refers to the cheapest seats in the theater. People who sit there would sometimes throw peanuts at the performers on stage when they are not satisfied with their performance.
This year’s book fair will last until next Tuesday. There will be special night sections on Friday and Sunday when participating book shops will be open until midnight. It will also feature more than 300 cultural events, including The Hong Kong Story: A Century of Books exhibition, which chronicles the evolution of the local publishing industry.
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