After a dull start, publishers at the ongoing 23rd Delhi Book Fair had some signs of relief on their faces on Friday as the day saw a decent gathering at the fair.
The book fair, which started on August 26 (Saturday), had seen an extremely low turnout till Thursday. According to the publishers, violence by Dera Sacha Sauda followers, sudden showers, absence of big publishers and no publicity of the event led to fewer visitors in this edition.
“Good to see people’s faces. Now it feels like the fair is on. In the first six days, excluding Sunday, there were hardly any visitors. Monday especially was totally dull,” Sunil Wadhwa of Student Book Centre told IANS.
This time round, apart from study material, the books being sold for just Rs 100 are turning into a major attraction, especially among the youth.
Shalini Verma, a second-year student of Kirori Mal College, said: “Who will go to Daryaganj when you get the same books here? Rs 100 books are pocket-friendly for college students and are good reads as well.”
The publishers also feel that giving away books at discounted prices always attracts bibliophiles and pushes sales.
“Selling books on discounted rates always lures readers. Since only three more days are left for the fair, it’s better to give away more books than carrying those back again to the shop,” Gurdeep Raj of Nanda Book Service said.
Giving tough competition to the book stalls are the stationery ones, which are drawing good crowds. Both school and college students are showing interest in items like ordinary pens to handcrafted and designer notebooks.
“Young crowd is liking the funky items. The stalls have customised diaries, notepads, interior decoration products — all under one roof,” Rama Rastogi of Aikta Mahila Udyog said.
However, the publishers still find the crowd too thin compared to last year.
“Forget profit, we wonder how much loss we will suffer…am scared to even calculate. If rain doesn’t play a spoilsport then expect some recovery in the coming two days,” Rohit Bhardwaj of Navneet Education Ltd mentioned.
The Delhi Book Fair — organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation in association with the Federation of Indian Publishers — bears the theme of “Padhe Bharat, Badhe Bharat” (India reads, India progresses).
The fair will end on September 3.