Innovations in book fairs!


Editor – S K Khurana Book fairs have now come of age. They are not just a place to buy/sell books and rights. A lot of activities now form a part of these book fairs – conferences, seminars, workshops, rights table, kids zone, digital innovation zone, author reading sessions, awards in various categories, et al.

But that’s not all – the idea is to innovate and grow with every fair. Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF) has recently announced a number of innovations in the fair. In 2014 edition, they have announced a Business Club for more networking opportunities. This would offer entrepreneurs, founders, publishers, pioneers, experts and visionaries a perfect setting for conducting business at the Frankfurt Book Fair, besides, providing unlimited access to events throughout the Fair.

While, the FBF 2015 would showcase a number of innovations – well demarcated zones for easy navigation for visitors, Asian exhibitors in Hall 4, new presentation formats, English language publishers in Halls 6 and 4, etc to name a few.

Back home, New Delhi World Book Fair in India has also adapted many transitions effectively and efficiently. These included the Author’s Corners, Kids Bubble, Kids Zone, Rights Table, etc and the organisers National Book Trust, India (NBT) in association with ITPO are further trying their best to take these activities to next level and make this fair truly international.

The needs and expectations of both exhibitors as well as visitors are changing, and so are the dynamics in publishing industry. External factors like economy and regulations of the country, education system, per capita income, paper prices and of course the buzzing topic of digitisation vs print version – are all contributing to shape publishing industry. While, there’s a huge debate on the future of brick-and-mortar bookshops and the print version itself, industry stalwarts are certain that publishing industry is not under threat because content is going to rule; the formats may, however, change.

When so much is happening in the industry, it is apt to change the dynamics of book fairs and other book events. Even Jaipur Literature Festival which started off only as a celebration of literature has added myriad shades and book stalls in the 2014 edition, clearly stating that the demand for books is not coming down. Readers are always on the lookout for good reading material to be made available to them wherever they move around. Whether they read it on bound book or on ipad is their personal choice.

In this scenario, the role of book fairs and events becomes all the more important. Small innovations can add flavour and spice to these events. Let’s continue embracing the change and help in the overall growth of the book publishing industry.

SK Khurana

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