Delhi Book Fair begins: e-books the flavour this time


New Delhi: The 18th Delhi Book Fair began here Saturday with e-books and e-publishing the focus of the nine-day event that will see more than 200 publishers, including from abroad, participating.

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The Sep 1-9 event at Pragati Maidan was inaugurated by Delhi Lt Gov Tejendra Khanna. Most of the publishers among the 235 participating in the fair are from India. Publishers from abroad include those from the US, Pakistan, Russia and China.

Speaking at the inauguration, Khanna said the publishing industry had undergone a sea change and Indian publishers were adapting to the digital delivery through e-books.

He stressed that it was important for the publishers to keep increasing the category of books that are “inspirational”, which would help in creating peace and harmony in the world.

He was of the view that publishers should also keep in mind the font and binding of books. A small font takes away from readability while good binding ensures books stay in good condition for years, he said.

Rita Menon, chairman and managing director of India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO), said e-publishing is the need of the new generation and it would help books reach a larger audience.

Anand Bhushan, a past president of the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) and owner of Pitambar Publishing, said books worth around Rs.10 crore-Rs.12 crore are sold every year at the fair.

“The basic principle behind the fair is to make available books written by Indian authors, to give them maximum exposure,” Bhushan told IANS.

A novel feature this time is that 11 air conditioned buses have been arranged to ferry visitors from the gates to the exhibition halls, said Bhushan.

The bus service will be from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will run at five-minute intervals, he said.

“This bus service feature is like the one available at the Frankfurt Book Fair,” he said, adding that it was being organised by FIP.

Indian publishers will be helped to adapt to e-publishing by giving them guidance on how to go about it, said Bhushan.

At present, India has around 30-40 publishers, mostly in the area of academic books, who have taken to e-publishing, he said.

To ensure more school children visit the fair, Bhushan said 12 buses will bring school children to the fair each day. “We have written to the schools and will be sending the buses to various schools every day,” he added.

Full Circle and Hind Pocket Books are to launch 20 books at the fair, including on Osho and Kabir as well as many books for children.

Hind Pocket books is hoping for record sales of the Hindi edition of columnist and author Khushwant Singh’s bestseller “Women, Sex, Love and Lust”. The publishing house has also brought out a Hindi edition of physicist Stephen Hawking’s life and times.

The Delhi Book Fair has been attracting 2.5 lakh to three lakh visitors every year, and this year the number is expected to go up, said an official.

According to the Federation of India Publishers (FIP), 90,000-95,000 books are published annually in India and the numbers are increasing every year.