37th Chennai Book Fair – a refreshing event


The 37th Chennai Book Fair was the biggest in our country with 447 participants and 777 stalls. It was held with usual gusto from January 10-22, 2014 at the easily accessible venue in busy Mount Road at the YMCA College of Physical Education. This is an annual fair conducted by the Book Sellers’ and Publishers’ Association of South India (BAPASI). But there was a whiff of refreshing change in the air this time.

Enter the fair and to your pleasant surprise, you saw some vans were waiting to take you to the exhibition complex. It itself was refreshing as otherwise you had to walk half a kilometre to reach there. And buying entrance ticket was done in a jiffy. The logo of the fair was also new and refreshing. The fair was spread out in about 2,00,000 sq ft area.

Children were delighted to see a lot of books with publishers like Tulika, Ocean, Scholastic, Young Minds, etc. With more than 400 participants, a few even first timers, the show was a hit.

Badasarawathi Book Depot, Chennai, sole distributors for Tagore Publishing House, were present with their educational books in Tamil, English, Telugu and Kannada languages. T Murali Krishna at the stall was very animated about their publications. While, L Vijayakumar, territory manager, S Chand & Co, was proud that the Delhi based company was exhibiting from almost beginning of the Chennai Book Fair in 1976.

Narmada Pathippagam exhibited some choice of books from about 60 segments they publish like, Bhakthi, Children interest, Siddanth, Puranas, History, Short story, Humour, English – Tamil dictionary, etc.

Giri Trading Co is a household name for religious rites books, prayer books, all well known musicians both Carnatic & Hindustani Songs CD, etc. T Srininvasan, CEO of the company is the regular organizer of the book fair on or off the committee.

“An interesting feature of the Chennai Book Fair this time was a direct relay which means there was a simultaneous relay on the web of all the literary and cultural events held every evening,” told BAPASI secretary KS Pugelendi (Sixthsense Publications). He also mentioned that there were QR codes on all fair related documents and SMS of daily programmes were sent on Android platforms. “A special software for ticket selling which allowed visitors into the fair by punching tickets was also introduced. But, due to huge crowed, we had to discontinue it.

Pugalendi further added, “We conducted competition on Oratorical, Tirukkural Recitation, Painting, Short story writing, etc for different age groups. We also intend to conduct workshops for story writing. There are many more ideas in the pipeline. This time, only 20 percent of my ideas were converted into reality. Next time, there would be a better show.”

With the fair visited by about 10 lakh people and 30 lakh books worth about Rs 15 crore sold, it was an astounding success. “Still better days are to come in,” concluded Pugalendi.

–D Ramalingam

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