Delhi Book Fair: poised to be a better & bigger show


The 20th Delhi Book Fair 2014 is all set to open its curtains to the book lovers from August 23-31, 2014 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The fair is organised by India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) in association with Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP). Here, Rita Menon, chairman & CMD, ITPO, shares more about the fair in conversation with Smita Dwivedi.

Delhi Book Fair (DBF) is playing a pivotal role in reiterating the might of the pen and the printed word and has come to be recognised as one of the leading annual cultural event and book bonanza keenly awaited by students, teachers, scholars, authors, intellectuals, librarians and book lovers. Apart from promoting literacy and reading habit, especially among children and youth, the fair presents a vast panorama of books on wide range of subjects from India and abroad. The fair provides a unique platform for business-to-business transactions, establishing new contacts, entering into co-publishing arrangements, translations and copyright arrangements, reprinting of old and rare books and also retailing opportunity to the multitude of visitors who come to visit the fair.

“Considering the relevance of book fairs to the social cause of promotion of reading habits and aiding literacy to the masses by making available a large number of books on a wide variety of subjects, ITPO is promoting Delhi Book Fair in a big way. ITPO has also taken a decision to support New Delhi World Book Fair (organised by NBT) to make it success as an international annual event,” shares Rita. Held as an annual event DBF is mainly to cater to the exhibitors and visitors in India and it is organised with the support of Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP).

Rita Menon,“About 200 exhibitors have already registered for the DBF and some more are in the pipeline. Participation charges for Delhi Book Fair have been kept at the minimum considering its relevance to the social cause. This year’s theme is ‘Literature in Cinema’. This is bound to add an element of curiosity and interest to the fair,” she says. “Last year there were 226 participants in an area of 4,434 sq m and attracted approx two lakh visitors. This year, the fair has booked for 4,484 sq m in a gross area of 15,822 sq m,” she adds.

“Further, the Stationery & Office Automation Fair organised by ITPO concurrently with DBF in adjacent hall number 12A, adds to the attraction of book fair as the product profile of both the fairs complements each other and the visitors to both the fairs remains mostly common,” says Rita. The display profile of this fair covers writing instruments/material, pencils, sketch pens, erasers, geometry boxed, drawing and painting material, crayons, paints, brushes, computers related stationery items, etc.

Facilities to visitors…

“Delhi Book Fair will be held in the air-conditioned halls number 08-12. There are 10 entry gates to Pragati Maidan. To ferry visitors, shuttle service will be operated from gate number 1, 2, 7 and 10, which are the specified gates to these halls. Visit of school children will be particularly facilitated by allowing the buses to drop the children inside the fairground. Advance tickets can also be purchased for group visits by educational institutions, etc. For senior citizens and differently-abled persons, wheelchair facility along with attendant will be provided. Para medical staff to attend to any emergency medical needs for exhibitors and visitors will also be available. Apart from this, ATM facility will also be there within the exhibition premises,” tells Rita.

Facilities to exhibitors…

“For exhibitors’ convenience, empanelled agencies such as RE Roger will provide courier service from gate number one to their stands at fixed reasonable rates. This ensures that the exhibitors are not over charged; also entry of unauthorised persons will be restricted. Free drinking water facility will be provided. Food & beverages outlets providing a variety of cuisines, conference facility, etc are parts of infrastructure at Pragati Maidan,” she adds.

Global position of Delhi Book Fair…

“The major book fairs abroad are Frankfurt Book Fair and London Book Fair. Delhi Book Fair and New Delhi World Book Fair are prominent fairs of Indian sub-continent and cater to the need of students and book lovers. Gradually, the neighbouring countries are also showing interest in participating/visiting the Indian Book Fairs and are participating in deliberations on the seminars being organised during the fair,” concludes Rita.

“Delhi Book Fair is a consumer fair, focused on the book lovers”

–tells Dr Ashok Gupta, president, Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) in a brief conversation with Varsha Verma.

Dr Ashok GuptaThe theme of the book fair this year is ‘Literature in Cinema’ which will focus on the impact of literature in cinema amongst the Indian society, told Dr Ashok Gupta, president, FIP. Housed in hall 08, the theme pavilion will be made attractive for visitors.

On asking about the expanse of the fair, Dr Gupta informed that the fair would be spread across hall number 08-12. “About 50 percent subsidy is being provided to regional language publishers to attract more such players to the show,” told Dr Gupta as a matter of fact. Besides, Indian exhibitors, there would be a host of exhibitors from overseas countries like USA, Pakistan, China, etc.

“In my opinion, the reading habits are improving though the formats are changing. In nuclear families, parents encourage their children to read. The market is growing, there zare more players in the publishing segment; foreign publishers have made the market more competitive. The shelf life of the books has decreased as similar books on the same subject come up very soon. However, in spite of similarity in their approach, some authors come up with better books. Despite all odds, the market is growing.”

Unlike the New Delhi World Book Fair, where the layout is done genre-wise, Delhi Book Fair will have a mix of exhibitors. “A lot of publishers publish books in various categories, hence it is difficult to segregate them according to genre.

Besides, it is a consumer fair and not majorly a business fair,” told Dr Gupta.

“It is more of a B2C fair, where visitors can browse though books and sit on the sofas lined up for the purpose. We want to give them a homely atmosphere. We have contacted a lot of schools not just in Delhi/NCR but also neighbouring states and are expecting good footfalls,” he said.

A number of conferences and seminars, buyer-seller meets, book releases, book discussions, literary activities for children and meet-the-author get-togethers, etc will also be organised during the fair. “For example, Ranganathan Library will host a session for librarians, while organisations like Authors Guild of India, Bhartiya Lekhika Sangh, Sahitya Akademi will also host independent sessions,” he told.

The much-awaited FIP’s Excellence in Book Production awards function would be organised on August 29. “We have received 1,000 entries for the same and our jury has been finalised consisting of renowned people in the industry,” informed Dr Gupta.

As a message to all book lovers, Dr Gupta shared, “Parents should bring their children to the book fair and let them browse through books and decide to their interest. Parents, in turn, should let them buy those books. This will create responsible future citizens of India.”

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