The advent of e-books does not seem to have hampered the fascination of city residents for printed books. Organised in the city after 15 years,the Chandigarh Book Fair not only attracted around three lakh people,but also ensured sales amounting to Rs 60 lakh in five days. The authors in the city,however,feel that for the coming year,bigger names in the publishing business should be roped in.
The book fair was organised by the Chandigarh Administration in collaboration with the National Book Trust,New Delhi. A total of 72 publishers participated in the book fair that had 102 stalls with publishers allowed more than one stall. An amount of Rs 11,000 per stall was charged by the administration. Slow to pick up,the fair gradually attracted people in droves. As per the officials,the footfall was one lakh on Sunday.
The stalls that attracted a large number of people were those selling books for children. Books by both Indian and foreign authors were available. Some of these included books to make learning easy for children. Publications in vernacular languages attracted several people.
Sub-Divisional Magistrate Kashish Mittal said,The book fair received a positive response from the city residents. Around three lakh people visited the fair and the sale figures touched Rs 60 lakh. We are hoping that by next year we will attract more publishers and a bigger fair will be organised. An attempt will be made to have a theme for the next fair.
Apart from book stalls that were set up,a variety of activities were organised. These included interaction with authors and book releases. For the students,several contests were held. Oxford University Press was among the renowned publishers that put up stalls.
However,author Manju Jaidka feels that while the response of the residents was very good,some improvements could be made for next year. Between 70 and 80 publishers participated in the book fair this time. Bigger names should be approached to be part of the fair. There should be more variety of books with best sellers being made available. The other events could also be organised in a better way, she said.
Prof Rana Nayar,another author,maintains that first line of publishers should be made a part of the book fair instead of third or fourth line. The National Book Trust did not put its entire lot here even when they have a huge variety. Apart from several exclusions,it was good that school and college students were made a part of the event. There should be more interactive sessions with writers. The book fair should be made an annual event,but with some improvements, he said.