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National Book fairs: Few things more which need to be done




Book fairs…The place where there is a world of books but you need to encourage a lot more in different terms…how ?? Let me go on by telling you what I have experienced in 3 cities. My tryst with book fairs started some 12 years back in the national book fair held in lucknow. Since then I have grown into a huge bookworm, spending thousands. I have seen the national book fair in jaipur and new delhi too. Variety of foreign titles come dirt cheap in the book fair in jaipur. I had purchased some of the best military fiction novels for as low as 10 bucks in 2008. Have even attended the 3 types of book fairs delhi holds in an year ( National book fair, Delhi book fair, New Delhi World book Fair) .

There are a lot of things which I feel that book fairs should have as bare minimum standard. I went to the national book fair in lucknow just 2 days back and noticed a lot of contrast. It relies heavily on books as you don’t find many publishers selling cds of various educational material. Agreed that the books were selling there at as cheap as 10-50 , a price which discs cant match but when you sell something truly good, people are ready to pay even a bit more. I was looking for a disc on vedic maths but all I could find was a beginner level book for children. In comparison, delhi would have quite a few stalls dedicated solely to softwares and educational discs.

Big brand names stay away from book fairs. Big publishing houses stay away from book fairs which are not too big. Penguin, Oxford, Macmillan, S. Chand, Rupa, Pearson, Prentice Hall  and all such hotshots etc. can be seen gracing world book fairs in delhi and other metros but they rarely make an appearance at other book fairs. None of these names are there in the fair at lucknow presently.

Made by Visually Imapaired children...beautiful designs

People other than book publishers should be encouraged to set up stalls at all book fairs. I went to the book to look at various books and did manage to come out with a tom clancy novel at 20 bucks, what made me more happy and delighted was a wristband I purchased from a stall. The special thing about that? It was made by visually impaired students. It was not just wristbands, there were earrings, hair bands, playing cards, chess, even a hindi alphabet guide in Braille. An institution which looks towards the rehab of visually impaired students had put up the stall. I may not have any use for the band but there I felt that I needed to buy that item, to encourage the children that their hardwork and efforts were bought by someone. At 20 bucks it was the same price as a few novels which I had picked up , but it the most satisfying purchase I had done in a long long time. Made sure that the pic of the stall travelled far on social media so that people be encouraged to buy those things. 

I don’t find these type of stall at any other book fairs, certainly not in delhi. I feel that all book fairs in the country should encourage stalls such as these to be put up so that special children feel encouraged. We can surely encourage such participation in book fairs. As I exited the book fair , I saw some teenaged girls and was instantly reminded of Naina.

To know who she was read this post : 

http://www.shwetabhmathur.in/2013/09/blog-post.html

Naina was the first girl who was my tryst with Braille then. As I was heading towards the exit, I saw 5 girls , all in their mid 20s, 3 of them walking in a line just like school children do with hands on each others shoulders, guided by a lady while the rest of the 2 happily chatting with their male friend. They all had one thing in common – all had guide sticks. This sight gave me joy, hope, despair and sadness all at the same time. Joy in the fact that books welcome one and all, irrespective of a person`s stature. Despair and sadness in the fact that with no stalls selling books in Braille, these 5 girls and many more people like them wont be able to relish the true beauty of books. Only in a few big book fairs can you find books written in Braille ( same with Naina). Hope in the fact that maybe someday sooner, would these girls be able to regain their eyesight so as to read books which would open up an endless world of knowledge and variety infront of them.

So according to me the 3 things which every book fair must have are these 3 things-

1. Enough publishing stalls where the content can be found both in books and disc format.

2. Encouragement to others ( apart from publishers) to put up their stalls too. The special children counter in my case.

3. Books in braille so that every bookfair does justice to every special person out there. 

Like they say, books are the only source of light these people have.
National Book fairs: Few things more which need to be done National Book fairs: Few things more which need to be done Reviewed by Shwetabh on 6:06:00 PM Rating: 5

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