I spent the last couple of days at the World Book Fair in New Delhi, and I had a blast. There were books, books and more books wherever my eyes could see. Then there were author sessions where authors spoke about their books and their journeys as writers. The service providers who feed the book publishing industry, were also present in good numbers- from software companies promoting their inventory management platforms to those providing translation services. What stood out during this event was the special focus on children and Young Adults. Books for kids was indeed the theme for this year, and the exhibitors have done a great job.
My takeaways were as follows- the market for printed books still rules. And so does the market for books in the local languages. The latter is not surprising, considering that the readership say for books in Hindi, Marathi, Bengali or Tamil languages each can possibly outweigh the total readership for English language books in India.
The non-print world was clearly dominated by the Amazon and other smaller players providing educational software for school and college students. I had visited the fair last year also, but I thought this year there was a lesser focus on self publishing and non-print books (read: ebooks and audio books). The fair ends on Sunday, and I am planning to visit it again on Friday and possibly this Saturday. It only takes me one and a half hours to reach the event, and except for the six kilometer drive from my home to the nearest metro train station, it is public transport all the way. All the more reason to go again and again.
I also took a few pictures of the parts of the fair that I liked the most.
*An entire exhibition hall that displayed books and publications from markets that are less well known in India (Korea, Iran, Poland…)
*Workshops for kids (leaf painting, sketching, storytelling using pictures)
*Tintin in Hindi. Yay!
*And last but not the least, the puppies who were basking in the sun and having a good time overall
I have also spoken to a few service providers and other allied businesses, and hope to share their perspectives in a forthcoming post. Till then, it is time to go back to the editing table.