International Kolkata Book Fair 2020

This post is on the International Kolkata Book Fair which is presently ongoing since 29 Jan 2020 till 09 Feb 2020. This post is my thoughts on the experience of visiting a book fair of this size and magnitude.

Background- International Kolkata Book Fair

The Kolkata International Bookfair was first organised in the year 1976, and since then it has grown from strength to strength increasing in popularity as well as prominence. It is said that the book fair concept originated from the famed College Street Cofee House, which is renowned for its illustrious history. Subsequently, the Publishers and Booksellers Guild was formed and the rest, as they say, is history.

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So coming to the present, the fair is presently ongoing at the Bidhannagar Mela grounds with active cooperation of the Kolkata state government administration. I visited the fair for the very first time and with over 433 participants, once can only imagine the scale at which this book fair is being organised.

You can read about more fairs/fests organised in Kolkata out here

My impressions on Book Fair

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The Book Fair is massive, to say the least with over 433 participants. I found this baffling and overwhelming as a first-time visitor.
Given the sheer scale of the numbers, it is just not possible to see the book fair in its entirety.
As I wandered into the venue without a specific genre of books that I needed to browse, I was just unable to focus on what to see and what not to see. Hence is it better to plan beforehand what genre of books one would like to browse?
Majority of the bookstalls were in Bangla language, and while this is understandable, it was quite a handicap to someone like me who is not conversant with the language
The stalls are very well organised and kudos to the organisers for that. The parking too was methodical.
The travel section was sparse. I felt as there were very limited participants. Same goes to niche genres like photography, gardening, tech gear etc. where the reading material was very sparse.
I was very much delighted to see stalls related to Atlas Maps as well as ASI India. These are indeed unique as only avenues like these allow the common public to get exposure to these niche segments.
There is a good selection in areas related to India, personality development, spirituality. The rare books section was also unique in its conception.
There is no focus on digital formats and their propagation. I think digital formats and e-books are the future and avenues like these need to promote the same among the general public.
International section has been well organised with a wide and varied exposure given to various publications.

All in all, I would say these kind of fairs are very much needed as they provide exposure to young minds as well as promote the young writers and publication houses to expand their endeavours and progress in the literary filed. A must-visit for all those who stay in Kolkata.

For more on fairs/fests organised in Kolkata click here

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Some final visuals as i end the post .

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