Hybrid book fairs are the way forward

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Genre: Picture books for children

Book fairs attended: Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Frankfurt Book Fair

Most important book fairs: I owe all the visibility that the Pickle Yolk titles have gained on the international arena to the international book fairs at Bologna (specific to children’s content) and Frankfurt.

Importance of book fairs: I have found them to be the most lasting take-aways from these book fairs that may or may not fructify into something concrete in the days or years to come. But the bonds forged last a lifetime. I am finding myself increasingly veering towards relishing my book fair moments with these latter outcomes than the former.

Interesting incident: I remember misplacing my note book at the FBF a few years ago. What began as a personal frantic search for it across halls and every possible stand or corner or washroom cubicle I may have dropped it soon morphed into an endearingly massive team search as strangers and publishers from many stalls joined in all earnestness. We didn’t find my notebook, after all; but I haven’t lost touch with any of those publishing friends and colleagues since.

On online vs. offline book fairs: While I have participated in the virtual versions at Delhi, Bologna, Frankfurt and Tehran, nothing about them has been close to the on-site ones. I believe the better part of a book fair experience is in the face-to-face interactions and in the way the books and all the incessant book-chatter surround us no matter where we are. But if we keep just the functional aspect as the focus, the online fairs serve the purpose. Given the way the world is moving into a hybrid work model, a mix of both forms is the most likely and sustainable way of moving forward.

-Richa Jha, Founder, Pickle Yolk Books

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