The government decided last week to go ahead with the fair, the largest of its kind in Asia, from July 15 to 21. It will be the first major trade event since the pandemic was reported in Hong Kong in January.
Launched by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in 1990, the fair has grown in popularity over the years, attracting more than 680 exhibitors and nearly 1 million visitors last year.
The government has budgeted HK$40 million (US$5 million) to support the fair by offering each exhibitor up to HK$100,000 in subsidies to ease their financial burden.
Retail sales of books, newspapers, stationery and gifts plunged 40 per cent in April year on year, official data showed.
Publishers estimate revenue of the fair to decline by as much as half from last year, as social-distancing measures are expected to reduce the number of visitors, and deter people from lingering to browse.