Don’t you hate it when you miss a book fair just because you didn’t know when it came to town—and left?
India is one of the ten biggest book publishing centres in the world, according to the Mumbai International Book Fair website, and is only third, after USA and UK for English titles.
Book fairs are not only fun to visit for good book deals, they are also a place to discover new authors, books and friends. This apart, you get to participate in literary and cultural programmes, listen to poetry recitals by famous poets and interact with authors, which are especially conducted during these fairs and a rare treat for those who enjoy and appreciate the marvels of the written word.
We’re talking about major book fairs in India, not exhibitions where a bookstore offers a discount sale on leftover books to clear stock. Major book fairs are large events in which publishers, book stores and people related to the publishing industry put up stalls to promote reading, writing, literature and, of course, to sell their books and promote new releases.
There is no single place on the Internet where you can get extensive information about all the major book fairs in India, so we thought we’d do some research and put one together.
Here is a listing of major book fairs in India, zone-wise, along with the dates during which they are generally conducted so you can plan ahead and be there.
- Delhi – There are two types of major book fairs held here. The Delhi Book Fair, organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), in its 16th year, will be held from 25 Dec 2010 to 2 Jan 2011 at Pragati Maidan. It drew three lakh visitors last year. The date for the fair is not constant—for instance, the next fair will be from Aug 29–Sep 6, 2011.
The other major book fair in Delhi is also held in Pragati Maidan but is called the New Delhi World Book Fair and is organized once in two years by NBT. In its 19th year now, this fair was held from 30 Jan–7 Feb 2010, so the next one will be in 2012. This, according to NBT, is the biggest book fair in the Afro-Asian Region and attracts exhibitors both from India and abroad.
- Jaipur – The Dainik Bhaskar Book Fair was held between 24 Sept and 3 Oct 2010, at the outer area of SMS Stadium, near Ambedkar Circle. Dates and venue differ. Dainik Bhaskar also conducts book fairs in several other places in North and Central India. Please check http://www.bhaskar.com for more information.
- Noida – The 4th Noida Book & Stationery Fair organised by Udichi and TradexpoIndia will be conducted at GIP Mall, Sec 18, Atta Market, Noida from 27 Nov–5 Dec 2010. It is an annual fair, conducted simultaneously with Edufiesta, an education fair that draws a large number of students.
- Chennai – Chennai Book Fair or Madras Book Fair is an annual book fair organized in Chennai by the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India. The fair lasts for about 10 days and is held between December and January. The fair is one of the important cultural events every year, and has been around a long time—the 33rd fair was held in January 2010.
- Hyderabad – The 25th Hyderabad Book Fair will be organized from 16th to 26th Dec 2010, at People’s Plaza Ground, Necklace Road. The fair is usually held around the same dates every year. Since this is the silver jubilee year, the fair promises special attractions. More at http://hyderabadbookfair.com.
- Bengaluru – The Bangalore Book Fair, organised by the Bangalore Booksellers and Publishers Association, in its sixth year now, was conducted in Palace Grounds from 12–21 November 2010. This major book fair is said to be the second largest in the country and is generally held in November. It draws more than 1 lakh visitors and has revenue in several crore rupees.
- Vijayawada – The Vijayawada Book Festival Society (VBFS) has been organizing book festivals on the lines of the National Book Trust (NBT) since 1989. They organize several events such as ‘Walk for Books’, celebrating birth centenaries of eminent Telugu writers, competitions for students, to name a few. These events do not need an entry ticket. The Vijayawada Book Festival is held from 1–11 January every year.
- Kochi – In its 14th year now, the Kochi International Book Festival, organized by the Antharashtra Pusthakotsava Samithy, Kochi, is held from 26 Nov–6 Dec 2010 at the Ernakulathappan Grounds. Their focus, they say, is the book lover rather than the publisher and book seller. Several literary events are organised, too.
- Thiruvananthapuram – In the Tehelka Readership Survey 2010, it was found that the maximum monthly spend on books in India was in Thiruvananthapuram (Rs 569.50). The Thiruvananthapuram Book Fair, organised by the Department of Culture, Government of Kerala, is held from 18–26 December at Kanakakkunnu Palace and is part of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival. This time, a children’s writers and publisher’s workshop will also be a part of it.
- Mumbai – The Mumbai International Book Fair (MIBF), organised by the Good Governance India Foundation, a trust dedicated to the promotion of literacy and reading as a habit, is held in January every year in the Bandra-Kurla complex.
- Pune – The 9th Pune Book Fair (PBF), supported by the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, was a 5-day fair conducted from 20–24 October 2010 at Kamayani grounds in Patrakarnagar. While the fair is held every year, the date and venue differ.
- Kolkata – The largest book fair in India is the Kolkata Book Fair. In its 34th year, it was held from 27 Jan–7 Feb in 2010. Many foreign countries participate and there is a theme each year dedicated to literature from one country. Awards to authors for lifetime achievement and promising writer were given this year. The dates for the next fair are 26 Jan–6 Feb 2011, with the focal theme: USA. The entry will be free in 2011 in homage to its being the 150th birth year of Rabindranath Tagore. More at www.kolkatabookfaironline.com
The National Book Trust (NBT), India, organises several book fairs across India. From their website: The National Book Trust, India, established in 1957 for the promotion of books and to inculcate book culture in India, organises book fairs/festivals at local, regional and national levels. To look for the upcoming fair (2010-11) in your neighbourhood, please visit http://www.nbtindia.org.in/download/NOV2010/NBFairs1011.pdf . For later fairs, please visit the NBT website at http://www.nbtindia.org.in.