World Book Fairs: A Humble Beginning
If you look at the history of book fairs then you would come to know that it had a humble beginning as a few stalls at the trade fairs held twice in a year at Frankfurt. Various goods exchanged hands which included clothes, wine, silver, pottery, cattle and horses and, sometimes, books & manuscripts. Over the period of time, the share of stalls of books and manuscripts almost accounted for one-twelfth of the total number of stalls in the fair. By the end of the fifteenth century, Frankfurt became a hub for traders in books, authors, publishers, paper merchants and book lovers. Scholars in search for rare books would end up here as this was the ultimate destination for all such pursuits. However, by the turn of the eighteenth century, this fair was discontinued, only to be revived 200 years later in 1949.
Today, Frankfurt Book Fair or Frankfurter Buchmesse is the largest world book fair in terms of representation of publishing houses. It comes second in terms of footfalls, the first position being held by Turin International Book Fair. Each year over 100 countries participates in this five-day long annual event, witnessing over 2 million footfalls.
New Delhi World Book Fair is a recent development in the world of book fairs. Inaugurated in 1972, it is one of the oldest in India as well. Since India is the third largest market for English publications, this fair is a hub for publication houses, booksellers, readers and trade members.
Today, the Delhi World Book fair is organised National Book Trust, in association with India Trade Promotion Organisation. NBT has been instrumental in devising policies regarding readership and promotion of reading culture among the younger generation, including children. There is an exclusive Children Pavilion that showcases publications targeted to the younger minds. There are children oriented literature available along with provisions of Reader’s Club.
This year, the theme for New Delhi World Book Fair 2017 was ‘Manushi – Books Written on and by Women’. The prime focus of the Book Fair was on the ‘Culture of Reading’ and introducing ways to inculcate reading habit among different generations.
Some Other Book Fairs In India
For any book lover, a Book Fair is a mecca where one can search for the recent publications or old editions of any classic literature. But, if you are staying away from Delhi, there is no reason to feel sorry about it. We bring you some of the other popular book fairs in India which are equally best, of not even better!
Kolkata Book Fair: Though named a Book Fair, it is not organised in the same terms of any other Trade Fair. Kolkata Book Fair is essentially a non-trade book fair which majorly caters to the general public rather than wholesale distributors and such other trading communities. It is Asia’s largest and world’s most attended book fair with an attendance of way over 2 millions of book-lovers.
Chennai Book Fair or Madras Book Fair: Organised in line with the Kolkata and Delhi counterparts, Chennai Book Fair is also an annual event taking place in the first half of January. All major English and Tamil publication houses participate in this event which witnesses heavy attendance from local book-lovers.
Jaipur Literature Festival: Though not a stereotypical Book Fair, Jaipur Literature Festival is more of a common platform where some of the famed writers speak about their work and writing community. Inaugurated in the year 2006, this event takes place in the premises of Diggi Palace, situated in the city of Jaipur. Over the past few years, it has become a noted event which witnesses in attendance some of the noted writers of this era like Sulman Rushdie, William Dalrymple, Javed Akhtar, Gulzar, Shobha De, Vikram Seth, and many more. This event has been blessed with the presence of Nobel Laureate Sir V.S. Naipaul and former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. If you wish to attend this event then plan your schedule so as to keep your dates free for the month of January. Like other major events, it also takes place in the earlier days of the year.