Delhi World Book Fair 2018: With just a couple of months left before the CBSE and entrance examinations, there is a surge in the demand for sample papers and offline videos at the World Book Fair being held in New Delhi. While mock test series on popular exams like IIT-JEE and NEET (medical entrance test) remains favourite among students, other state-level competitive exams’ sample papers such as COMEDK of Karnataka and Maharashtra’s MHT-CET are also finding buyers.
This year, the focus is on children’s books – fiction, IQ and syllabus-related. However, many publishers have introduced interactive e-books, apps to engage students. Publishing house like MBD Group has come up with a robotics kit, in line with STEM education, to encourage budding engineers. “There are many students who have created apps even before studying technology. There is enough information on the internet and students want to innovate. We are bringing four science subjects in one interactive medium like robotics to help understand these subjects better,” said Monica Malhotra, MD, MBD group.
While the exam preparation books are available in the market, students get a good discount at the World Book Fair besides a host of other options as well. For publishers, however, it is a right platform to display their upcoming projects and their brand in public.
Most publishers get their major chunk of revenue from test preparation books, but this year many complained that the demand for engineering books have plummeted. “Increasing unemployment among engineers and B Tech colleges getting shut down has hit the publishing industry as well. We have seen 20-30 per cent decrease in sale of engineering preparation books. However, since 2016, NEET exam’s books have seen promising surge of 25-30 per cent,” said Vikas Gupta, senior product manager, Pearson group.
For JEE and NEET aspirants, there is a wide variety in both offline and online content as well. Parents are flocking each and every stall to find out the best content for their children. “My son is not taking interest in studies. I am searching some good cds/videos that can help him preparing for the entrance examinations,” said Suresh Chauhan whose son is appearing for class 12 exams this year.
Moreover, in the recent years, registration in recruitment exams like bank PO, clerk or SSC CGL and railways have found massive takers. In a railway exam in 2016, over 50 lakh job-seekers appeared. Surveys suggest that the youth is taking interest in government employment due to job security.
To cash in on this segment, new players in the industry are selling books related to each competitive exams. Aggarwal Examcart is offering heavy discount on railway and banking exams. “Our main target is aspirants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In this region, the craze for such tests are higher,” said Kumar, salesman.
UPSC civil services continues to attract aspirants, but for the past three years registration for qualifying exams for teachers (CTET, UGC NET) have increased. Reason? Due to 7th Pay Commission, the salary has shot up. Also, one has to qualify Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) to be able to apply for teaching vacancy. “In banking or SSC, demand soars when the vacancies are released, but in qualifying exams like TET, a candidate takes nearly six months to prepare. Books are sold like hotcakes and the demand will stay.”