The book festival was officially inaugurated today evening with the lighting of the lamp. The ceremony was as exciting as a ceremony with half a dozen speeches can be. And so most of the visitors and stall owners completely ignored the repeated calls of the organizers to join them in the V K Gokak auditorium for the same. They instead spent time where the fun things were – in the main exhibition area with all the stalls up and running.
After all the speeches and the lighting of the lamp, there was a short procession with many drummers in traditional dresses which went through all the lanes with all the guests, organizing committee and journos in their tow. Does anyone know which dancers are these?
Although I didn’t end up in the opening ceremony, I was intrigued by the name given to the auditorium – V. K. Gokak auditorium. I had heard the name before but didn’t know much about him. It turns out that this is the centenary birth year of V. K. Gokak, an outstanding Kannada poet, novelist and critic. He was the vice chancellor of the Bangalore University and recipient of many awards including Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award, Padam Shree & Jnanpith award. He was also the head of the committee which recommended making Kannada as the first language of the Karnataka state. The recommendations were later accepted by govt after the now famous “Gokak Agitation” under the leadership of late Dr. Rajkumar – a famous Kannada Actor. For those of you who cannot read Kannada like me, you can read one of his poem’s English translation.
Another trivia: Kannada holds the distinction of having won maximum number of Jnanpith awards – 7 in all. Jnanpith is the highest literary award in India. Gokak in 1990 was the 5th Kannada writer to win this.
So in the afternoon today, we loaded all our stuff into 2 auto rickshaws and headed to Palace Ground to claim what was rightfully ours – a 9’x9′ stall in Bangalore Book Festival. Everything went on well – it rained a little, just enough to make us feel good but not enough to spoil the books, autowaalahs didn’t bargain with us to death and organizers were nice enough to have all arrangements in place. We set up the basic stall quickly, made a list of things to get tomorrow and then took a stroll to get some inside scoop before the official thing starts. So what did we find?
So first thing we discovered was that “Books For Change” has a stall right next to us. They hadn’t set it up yet but we hope to catch up with Rajan tomorrow. Then we headed to the lane where Flipkart.com and Pratham Books have their stalls. On the Flipkart stall, we were surprised to find no books but a lot of computers and a wall full of book covers. Looks awesome! We came home to read about this on the flipkart blog. We also stumbled across the stall of Librarywala, an online book rental startup originally based out of Mumbai and now operating in Bangalore too.
It is great to see some online startups participating in the festival this year. Last year we did launch a few books during the festival, however there was not a single online book related service with a stall in the main exhibit area. Given that Bangalore is considered a hub of technology and startups, I found it disappointing. But this year, at least 3 such companies, may be more, are participating. This is encouraging. With Kindle finally making its way to India, perhaps e-books will also feature in one or more stalls of the fest. We will find that out starting from tomorrow.
What’s up tomorrow?
- Book Festival kick starts at 10:30am
- We will have Rajendra Nargundkar, author of “My Experiments with Half-Truths” at the stall from 2pm to 4pm, interacting with readers and signing the books.
Here are a list of other interesting Bangalore based participants we are looking forward to seeing at Bangalore Book Festival 2009
- Pratham Books: Pratham Books is a not-for-profit trust that seeks to publish high-quality books for children at a affordable cost in multiple Indian languages. They are doing a wonderful job in publishing for children across English and many Indian Languages. You can follow them at twitter for their continuous updates.
- Flipkart: Easily the most loved online book store in India. Theirs is probably the first representation of an online book store in Book Festivals. It is definitely so in Bangalore Book Festival.
- Books for Change: Books for Change is a publishing and distribution initiative set up to support the communication needs of civil society organizations and development sector in India. Located at Richmond Road in Bangalore, they have an impressive collection of books on social and developmental issues.
And of course, us 😉 at Stall No. 288.
Following books will be available at our stall in Bangalore Book Festival (Stall No. 288).
As you probably know from our tweets and facebook update and website, we are putting up a stall representing self published and independent authors at Bangalore Book Festival. We will be at
Stall No. 288, Bangalore Book Festival 2009
Gayathri Vihar, Palace Grounds, Bangalore
Apart from the books, there are several events we are conducting that you might be interested in
In the auditorium area/stage
- Nov 10th: 4pm to 5pm: Story and Play reading for children by Yadugiri VT and Revathi S Kumaran
- Nov 14th: 2pm to 3pm: Book reading for children by Mahesh R. and Revathi S Kumaran
In our stall
- Nov 6th: 2pm to 4pm: Book Signing by Rajendra Nargundkar
- Nov 8th: 4pm to 6pm: Tarot Card Reading by Anupa Patri
- Nov 9th: 5pm to 6pm: Book Signing by AK Chowdhury
- Nov 10th: 5pm to 6pm: Book Signing by AK Chowdhury
And for all of those, who wanted to meet us in person, stall no. 288 is the place.
Festival is going on from 6th Nov. 2009 to 15th Nov. 2009. That includes two weekends!
God has given us one mouth and two ears. Many people take that as a hint from God to speak less & listen more but they promptly ignore it. The result is in front of you – just tune into any news channel and you will see.
With blogs, the situation becomes slightly more controversial since God not only granted us two hands but also eight fingers and two thumbs to the tops. And thus were launched millions of blogs, most abandoned shortly after beginning when everybody realized that the big guy had taken them for a ride. We were no wiser when jumping on to the bandwagon almost as soon as Pothi.com started and then leaving it shortly afterward.
In those months since starting, we discovered Facebook, we discovered Twitter and that kept the interaction going. We announced events, uploaded pictures, told you about interesting titles coming up on Pothi.com and converted you into followers and fans. While all that was great, we now feel that sometimes we have more substantial things to say, to discuss and to seek your advice on. These things are hard to wrap up in 140 characters and are hard to discuss while harvesting crops and throwing sheep. And so it is back to the blog.
Through this blog, we not only want to share our experience on building a publishing startup in India but also share information and insights about Indian publishing industry, book market and authors. We want to give back to the community and also keep learning loads from it. A lot of very interesting things are lined up at Pothi.com, the first one being our participation in Bangalore Book Festival starting 6th Nov. So that is where we will be starting.
@ Pothi.com. Visit us there.