International Book Fair opens tonight in Jerusalem

Jerusalemites are truly "a people of the book," ranking first in several categories in a national survey conducted last week in honor of the 23rd biennial International Book Fair set to kick off Sunday evening in the capital's convention center. The Geocartography Institute polled 1,800 adults, and 68 percent of those residing in Jerusalem said they read at least one book a month, while 33% said they were "heavy readers," devouring three or more books within that same time frame. Coming in a close second was the Sharon region, where 31% said they found time to read three or more books a month, followed by Tel Aviv with 26%. "Not by chance is Jerusalem a city of wisdom, with a highly intelligent population showing themselves to truly be people of the book," Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski said in response to the survey's findings. Jerusalemites buy an average of 9.7 books per year for themselves over the course of a year, the survey found, well above the national average (8.5). Seventy-three percent of all those quizzed said they had purchased books as gifts for loved ones during the past year. The survey found that 41% of Israelis prefer romance novels, while 28% said they enjoyed suspense, and 14% chose self-help and instructional books. Only 2% said they loved poetry the most. Jerusalem's International Book Fair has been held every two years since 1963, drawing tens of thousands of visitors who come to browse the extensive selection and to bump elbows with some 800 authors representing 40 different countries, the municipality said in a statement.