A trendy NDWBF concludes successfully

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‘‘All for knowledge and knowledge for all,’’ said Pranab Mukherjee, honb’le president of India, while appreciating the New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF) 2014 as a manifestation and celebration of a liberal, democratic, multilingual, multicultural and secular society. With Poland as Guest of Honour country New Delhi World Book Fair 2014 was successfully held from February 15-23, 2014 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi and lived upto the expectations and may be exceeded even more. The inauguration…

The fair was inaugurated by none other than the president of India, Pranab Mukherjee, who in a brief and rousing address spoke on the importance of books and book fairs and their contribution to the development of humanity and the creation of a knowledge-based society. “There is a great hunger for knowledge,” he said and further added that our motto should be “All for knowledge and knowledge for all.” He further said that NDWBF has played the twin role of cultural and business admirably and added, “No human society can develop in all its dimensions without books. They carry the wisdom of generations. Book fairs are a source of multiple inspirations and remind us that history and tradition have celebrated the argumentative India and not an intolerant India.”

On the growing perception that the presence of internet and digital media books may take a backseat, “I believe the habit of reading books and printed material is inherent in human civilization and therefore they are here to stay,” he said to a thunderous applause. Also with the book industry recording a growth of 25-30 percent every year, reflects the growing importance of books.

A view of cultural performance at NDWBFAlso preent at the occasion were Chandresh Kumari Katoch, minister of culture; Ashok Thakur, secretary, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

Speaking on the occasion, Rita Menon, CMD, ITPO (co-organiser of the fair), expressed her happiness in working with NBT, India in bringing this NDWBF to the book lovers at large. With this NDWBF, “We have put in place an important initiative, the first ever e-ticketing facility, where visitors can buy tickets online at the corporate website of ITPO.” Besides, ITPO and NBT, India have decided to showcase Indian books at shows being organized by ITPO across the world, she said.

“I am here to celebrate children’s literature, but I would also like to celebrate Polish literature,” said Ruskin Bond, one of India’s most eminent and popular writers for children. He recalled the days when in 1967 he visited a book fair organized by NBT, a small affair then, and over the years, today it has grown to be a major event with hundreds of publishers with hundreds and thousands of books. Expressing her deep gratitude to the NDWBF for inviting Poland as the Guest of Honour Country, Katarzyna Kacpercrzk, secretary of state, public and economic diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland said, “This honour has given us a unique opportunity to share with Indian friends our literature and culture. We have produced good writers and this has led to the intellectual development of Poland.”

“Indian writers are well known in Poland but not much of Polish literature is known in India,” said Malgorzata Omilanowska, secretary of state and minister of culture and national heritage, Republic of Poland. “Focussed literary exchanges such as Guest of Honour programmes help us to be aware of each other’s literature and cultural heritage.” she added.

Earlier in his welcome address, A Sethumadhavan, chairman, NBT, India, expressed his deep gratitude to Pranab Mukherjee, honb’le president of India, one of the India’s greatest statesmen and an avid reader of books, for gracing the occasion. In his address, Sethumadhavan said, “The first ever NBT book exhibition was inaugurated by Dr S Radhakrishnan, the then president of India in 1964. And over the years it has grown to be a major book event.”

Dr MA Sikandar, director, NBT, India gave the vote of thanks and appreciated the co-operation of ITPO, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Sahitya Akademi, Doordarshan, all the publishers’ associations, authors, the media without whose efforts and cooperation the success of this fair would not have been possible.

Guest of honour country – Poland

Poland was the Guest of Honour country—a country and culture with which India has close relations. Poland has one of the largest population of book lovers and has more than 50 UNESCO world heritage sites. The Guest of Honour Presentation coincided with the 60 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Poland.

A new book of relationship began between Poland and India with the inauguration of a dedicated pavilion to ‘Books From Poland’. Prof Piotr Klodkowski, ambassador of the Republic of Poland to India; Katarzyna Kacperczyk, secretary of state, public and economic diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland; Malgorzata Omilanowska, secretary of state, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland; Grzegorz Gauden, director of the Polish Book Institute; Anna Tryc-Bromley, director of the Polish Institute, New Delhi; in presence of Polish authors including Michal Rusinek, Olga Tokarczuk, Wojciech Jagielski, publishers Beata Stasiska (Foksal Publishing Group), Magdalena Dbowska (Polish Rights Agency), Jadwiga Jdryas (Two Sisters – publishing house for children’s books) graced the occasion with their presence along with A Sethumadhavan, chairman, NBT, India and Dr MA Sikandar, fair director.

Theme Pavilion: Kathasagara- Celebrating Children’s Literature

India has a long and rich tradition of literature as manifest in our folk and oral storytelling traditions, Panchatantra, mythologies, Puranas, Jataka tales. Even in the 20th century, our most eminent writers like Rabindranath Tagore and Premchand have all written for children.

The Theme Pavilion Kathasagara: Celebrating Children’s Literature was inaugurated by Ashok Thakur, hon’ble secretary, higher education, Ministry of Human Resource Development. On the occasion, he also released two catalogues published by NBT titled A Tale of Tales which provides a glimpse on various forms of Indian children’s literature; and Children’s Books 2014: An Annotated Catalogue of Select Children’s Books in India in which about 800 books in English, Hindi and all Indian languages have been detailed.

Ruskin Bond said, “It is great to see intelligent and bright people around in this World Book Fair. Intelligence and brightness comes from reading books. If you read books you can become writer. Do open the books.”

Several activities for children were organised at the Theme Pavilion including interactive sessions, panel discussions and informal interactions with well-known authors and artists.

An area designated for activities for younger children – Kidz Bubble –was packed with activities like story-telling, extempore speech, singing competition, listening skill activities, thread painting, leaf painting, collage-making, wax resist paining, mosaic painting, waste recycling crafts, papier mache, origami, leaf craft, waste recycling crafts, clay toys, drawing competition, paper folding, string puppets, paper toys, finger puppets, flower making, etc.

New Delhi Rights Table: A B2B match-making platform

Books and literature know no boundaries. In contemporary publishing, the best way to exchange cross-country/cultural literature is through Rights Table Concept. So, a two-day B2B match-making session – Rights Table – was organised between publishers from India and overseas. It brought publishers, rights’ agents, translators and editors from India and abroad at a forum to network and explore business opportunities together. Initiated by NBT, India, this attempt is a part of its effort to promote Indian books abroad, through its recently launched initiative for providing financial assistance to foreign publishers for translating Indian books into foreign languages. This was quite evident with the presence of several publishers from overseas like Poland, Norway, USA, Malaysia and UK. It also proved to be a convenient platform for many non-exhibiting publishers to interact with peer group. However, with the magnitude of NDWBF’14, this initiative still need to be focused further.

e-publishing

Keeping with the latest trends, the NDWBF saw active participation from companies involved in e-publishing, besides conferences and seminars on the same. Today e-books are a reality. The foreign publishers are able to sell their books in a large way, whereas, the Indian publishers are not able to sell as much as they can. Kailash Balani, director of Balani Infotech, who has digitized much of his contents on to digital platforms, says, “In India the biggest market for e-books is the north-east. This is because, inaccessible areas, like in Nagaland, e-books are the best way to reach the reader.” The day-long programme was designed for publishing executives in India who are looking to develop their knowledge of digital publishing. The seminar was conducted by Harald Henzier, founder & managing director, Smartdigits and Fabian Kern, managing director, Digital Publishing Competence.

“E-books are the need of the hour,” said Dr MA Sikandar, director, NBT, India. According to him, since 60 percent of our population is young and mostly tech-savvy, it becomes imperative to give them content in whatever form they require. Keeping this in mind, he said, “NBT is already in the process of converting about 300 of its publications as e-books.” Moreover, the Government is also making efforts to make available e-books in rural areas, he added.

“The slow acceptance of contents on digital platform by Indian publishers has slowed down the path of the technology in India,” said Sudhir Malhotra, president, Federation of Indian Publishers. However, he hoped that in the next ten years or less we would be at par with the rest.The programme was organized by Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhawan, NBT, India, German Book Office New Delhi and Academie des Deutschen Buchhandels. The seminar addressed four main challenges in the e-publishing sector, viz. new formats, products and ways to reach a customer; business models; new competitors and technology rules and the ecosystems.

Publishing Next: On the sidelines of the NDWBF ’14 a conference on the future of publishing ‘Publishing Next: The Next Chapter in Publishing’ was organized on February 16.

What’s cooking up @Nita Mehta Books

The books by Nita Mehta and her publishing company are being loved by all. And her presence at the book fair was an added advantage for all the mums of “Fussy Eaters”, who were seen taking help in choosing books for them to buy. And the cherry on the cake was getting a copy signed by her.

The newly launched edition of 18 cook books, which are priced just for Rs 25, was selling really like hot cakes. On asking about her views about the book fairs she added, “Being at a book fair is always a delight and the response we are getting is so heartwarming. This gives me inspiration to keep writing. All my books are so special to me that I can’t put in words and when they are loved by others I feel elated.”

Mother tongue is our identity”
–Dr Farooq Abdullah

Our mother tongue is our identity. We all need to work together to promote and uplift our Kashmiri language, said Dr Farooq Abdullah, hon’ble union minister of new and renewable energy resource. He was speaking at the release function of eight Kashmiri titles, published by the NBT India. Releasing the eight books for children, of which three were written originally in Kashmiri, and five translations from Hindi and Urdu, Dr Farooq Abdullah told the children present in the audience to read as much as possible, and never forget their mother-tongue. “Language is our identity; it unites us. Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh is like mini-India, different languages yet together. If we do not respect our languages, we will not be able to unite India”.

CEOSpeak over Chairman’s Breakfast 2014

National Book Trust, India (NBT) in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) organized CEOSpeak over Chairman’s Breakfast on February 16, 2014 in New Delhi. The objective of the programme was to facilitate greater interaction within the publishing community in India, and to make it a forum of CEOs to discuss and share business and book-publishing trade related issues and concerns.

The event was inaugurated by Dr Narendra Jadhav, member, Planning Commission, Government of India. He emphasised that India has the advantage of the demographic dividend, besides a growing adult literature segment that constitute about 74 percent of the reading audience. The way forward for the sector is to get organized, seek industry status and actively collaborate with the higher education institutes. He congratulated NBT for taking this great initiative and urged upon the publishers to not only ‘tap’ the market, but also to create new tastes of readership.

Initiated last year as a part of the New Delhi World Book Fair, this edition of CEOSpeak aimed to discuss and share common issues and concerns to evolve a composite agenda of the Indian publishing industry. Dr Arbind Prasad, director general, FICCI welcomed the dignitaries and delegates for an important discussion and moderated the session.

A Sethumadhavan, chairman, NBT, India while making his welcome address to the CEOs present at the programme, emphasized that India has no dearth of good content. We have a flourishing publishing industry with literature in vernacular languages adding to the richness and depth of scholarship in India.

While, Dr Vivek Lall, president and CEO, Reliance Industries, highlighted that the sector must strive to get the industry status, which will enable the industry to get corporate loans at low interest. He related that FICCI had lobbied for the entertainment industry, including films, to get industry status in the year 2000 and should take up the case of publishing sector.

Beata Stasinska, vice president, Foksal Publishing Group introduced the Polish publishing market to the august gathering and highlighted issues of distribution and readership in the industry. She stressed that due to economic slowdown, the number of titles published in Poland is showing marginal downturn, and the publishers are trying to come with new strategies to meet the challenge with the support of the government.

The programme also witnessed the results of the industry pulse survey conducted by FICCI in co-operation with IPA. The objective of the survey is to assess the perception of publishers towards growth of the sector and to highlight major areas of concerns for policy change. About 75 percent of the respondents were publishers, 11.5 percent are distributors/retailers, 13.5 percent are other service providers. The top three challenges identified for the publishing sector in next 2-3 years are collections, distribution channel and piracy.

Winnie Hung, publishing and cross segment strategy development manager, Asia Pacific and Japan, HP Indigo & InkJet Press Solutions highlighted the changing nature of printing technology. R Ramachandran, executive director, National Book Development Council of Singapore and executive secretary, Asian Festival of Children’s Content, Singapore underlined the sustainability and demand of Indian book industry in the ASEAN countries. The forum also had an “open house”, moderated by Urvashi Butalia, chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and director, Zubaan, to discuss major issues that the publishing community faces. Speaking in the Open House session, G Raghavender, director, Book Promotion & Copyrights, Minsitry of HRD, Govt of India informed that in the upcoming national book policy, granting the status of industry to Indian publishing is a major feature.

While giving the closing remarks MA Sikandar, director, National Book Trust, India, MHRD, Government of India thanked FICCI for joining hands with NBT, India in the cause, and supported the need to seek industry status for the publishing sector. Underlining NBT’s commitment to promote the culture of reading in India, and to bring various stakeholders on one platform to continue informed discussions for addressing industry’s issues, he did convey his concern over the justification on the number of respondents and their authenticity in carrying out the industry survey.

The event was attended by over hundred CEOs from publishing houses both national and international and also by a delegation from Poland which was the Guest of Honour Country at the recently held New Delhi World Book Fair 2014.

New Delhi Rights Table: A B2B match-making platform

Books and literature know no boundaries. In contemporary publishing, the best way to exchange cross-country/cultural literature is through Rights Table Concept. So, a two-day B2B match-making session – Rights Table – was organised between publishers from India and overseas. It brought publishers, rights’ agents, translators and editors from India and abroad at a forum to network and explore business opportunities together. Initiated by NBT, India, this attempt is a part of its effort to promote Indian books abroad, through its recently launched initiative for providing financial assistance to foreign publishers for translating Indian books into foreign languages. This was quite evident with the presence of several publishers from overseas like Poland, Norway, USA, Malaysia and UK. It also proved to be a convenient platform for many non-exhibiting publishers to interact with peer group. However, with the magnitude of NDWBF’14, this initiative still need to be focused further.

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