Reading can make you healthier and happier according to the bookworms organising a fair at Dubbo on May 4 and 5.
The Rotary Club of Dubbo Macquarie is about to run its 10th annual Michael Egan Memorial Book Fair where about 20,000 books will be up for grabs at discount prices.
Thousands of people flock to the two-day book fair now held at the Centenary Pavilion at Dubbo Showground.
Book fair publicity officer Peter Bartley says the overwhelming support of the event each year confirms the joy that comes from reading.
But he said recent studies by the University of California at Berkley and Stanford University revealed "reading books is good for you".
"Browsing through a book is a common calming activity, can slow your heart rate and make you 68 per cent more relaxed" Mr Bartley said.
"Reading also has the power to boost your productivity, improve your focus and increase short-term memory.
"These university studies have shown that reading is essential for a healthy brain and makes readers exhibit more empathy for other people.
"They also showed that as you get older reading helps slow down or even halt cognitive decline."
Mr Bartley said the book fair also met a tactile need in readers.
"Figures show that paper is still the clear winner in the court of public opinion with a University of Cambridge study showing 80 per cent of readers still prefer a hard copy book in their hands," he said.
The book fair has sold some of the most popular books in the world.
"The best-selling authors of all times are William Shakespeare and Agatha Christie who have sold four billion books each, and Barbara Cartland who has sold one billion books," Mr Bartley said.
"Last year the three biggest selling authors were James Patterson, J.K. Rowling and Stephen King."
The Rotary club will achieve a milestone at this year's fair.
Across the past decade, members have handled about 250,000 books donated by residents of Dubbo and district and raised almost $100,000.
The money raised has been equally split between the Royal Flying Doctor Service Dubbo Support Group and cancer research.
In 2018 the club raised a record $14,072 from the sale of about 18,000 books at the fair.
Michael Egan was a charter member of the Rotary club and an avid reader before his death from cancer.
A gold coin donation is requested at the door to the pavilion on May 4 and 5. Donated books can be left at the pavilion on May 3 between 9am and 5pm.