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Space crunch and fewer books make the Delhi Book Fair a dull affair

By January 9, 2018No Comments

Source : Times of India

From bibliophiles and schoolkids to book hoarders,the 26th edition of the World Book Fair, which began on Saturday, saw a good response over the weekend. However, visitors found a lot missing this year and said that the vibe was not the same, thanks to the reduced space in which the fair is being held due to the redevelopment at Pragati Maidan. While some visitors found the theme – environment and climate change – boring, others complained that there were very few stalls that sold books for ₹100.
‘It feels like any other fair rather than Delhi’s iconic annual book fair’


This year, the fair, which is organised by the National Book Trust (NBT) and India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), is being conducted in half its usual size because of the redevelopment at Pragati Maidan. Shalini Sharma, a homemaker who lives in Janakpuri, said, “I’ve been coming to this fair for the past five years. Earlier, coming to the fair meant entering a world full of books. You could sit here for hours, read, or just stroll in the area. But this time, it took me just 20 minutes to figure out the stalls for the genres of books I was looking for. It feels like any other book fair in the city rather than Delhi’s iconic annual book fair.”

Shyamali Arora,an IT manager who lives in Saket, added, “The feel of the book fair is missing. There must be thousands of stalls, and maybe lakhs of books. Par har saal wali baat nahi hai. Any regular visitor will say that it feels like a reduced version of the annual book fair. However, we are glad that it’s happening, at least.”

‘I won’t read about climate change just because I was complaining about the smog’
The theme of this year is environment and climate change, and so, a huge variety of eco-fiction books and those on the environment and is available at the fair. However, despite discussing and complaining about the smog, Delhiites aren’t interesting in reading about climate change, it seems. An attendant at a stall which had several books on the environment, said, “People are least interested in buying books on the environment. However, it’s good to see them discussing our books.”

Uttam Kumar, a corporate employee from Noida who was carrying three biographies on current politicians, said, “I come to the fair every year to see what’s trending in reading. And every year, there is a theme – from women-centric books to even Bollywood, one will be surprised with the volume of content available on every topic.But this year’s theme of climate change is not that appealing to me.”

Roopali Saxena, a lab assistant who lives in Malviya Nagar, said, “I’m into science fiction and I liked the content available at the fair. But I’ll not buy a book on the environment just because I’m carrying a mask in my bag and was complaining about the smog this morning.”

When we spoke to publishers, they told us that the fair had just begun and it’s too early to analyse buying trends.
More ₹100 books, please!
Fair 1
There are no prizes for guessing which book corner gets the maximum crowd every year. A number of bibliophiles end up going to the stalls where they can buy books for ₹100. This year, some stalls were also offering three books for ₹100. But due to space crunch, there were not as many stalls. Jaya Shah, a college student from Ashok Vihar, said, “One of the reasons I look forward to the fair is for buying ₹100 books. But there are very few available this time.”
Another visitor, BK Bhagwat said, “The sellers come here to clear their stock and sell books at throwaway prices. But this time, I didn’t find many options. I am sure by the end of the fair we’ll get more discounts and more ₹100 offers.”



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