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Book-lovers throng World Book Fair on last day; dull affair, claim publishers

IANS | New Delhi |

Bibliophiles of the national capital thronged the 26th New Delhi World Book Fair on its last day on Sunday to grab their favorites at the best deal, even as publishers termed this year’s edition rather “dull” in terms of returns.

The annual book fair, which is organized by National Book Trust (NBT) in association with ITPO at the Pragati Maidan, saw a lesser number of stalls owing to ongoing construction work at the venue, but still, NBT managed to pull around 1,500.

The fair witnessed participation of more than 800 publishers, including international and regional ones. The last day at the book fair saw publishers offering heavy discounts to clear their stock. Young readers, as well as children, turned up in huge numbers at the fair to get books at a less price.

“We don’t want to carry back the books we got to the fair. So it is better to sell out as many books possible. And discounts, of course, attract visitors,” Sanjay Mittal of Rishabh Books, who was seen offering three books for Rs 100, told IANS.

Even for visitors, the main attraction of attending the book fair on last day is to buy books at a good discount. Ritika Lal, a class 10 student who came from Janakpuri said that she was visiting the fair on Sunday because of this reason.

“I came on Wednesday but the books were costly. I had already marked which books I wanted to buy when I came last time and today got them at less price. I got ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, Enid Blyton and Sidney Sheldon for myself and a recipe book for my mother,” she added.

However, most of the publishers claimed that this edition of the book fair didn’t turn out in favor of them and rather was a dull affair.

“Unlike last year, there was no issue of demonetization this time. Yet there was hardly any crowd. Last Sunday and today we saw some crowd but throughout the week it was mostly vacant,” said Richu Kohli of Kohli Book Stall.

“Ever since the book fair has turned into an annual event, it is losing its charm and readers don’t feel coming every year. Earlier people from nearby cities like Jaipur, Chandigarh, Lucknow, and Shimla used to come a lot but now countable people turn up from the neighboring states. Schools don’t participate anymore like earlier times,” said Rishabh Vajpayee of Amar Prakashan from Kanpur.

Even for the readers, lack of fresh collection of books at the fair is a major setback. Garima Nigam who came along with her two children stated that she found the same books this time which were available last year as well.

“There is still some variety in the children’s book but no new books in fiction or non-fiction. There is too much of rush at the big publishing houses and those offering books for Rs 100 doesn’t have fresh books. Not a satisfactory event this time” said before leaving the event.