Pragati Maidan to turn into booklovers' paradise

The annual Delhi Book Fair is taking a futuristic leap this year by putting e-books and publishing at its centrestage, while playing a rendezvous for all stakeholders in the reading sphere.

Pragati Maidan is set to turn into a book lover’s paradise for the first nine days of September. The organisers of the 18th edition of the event have made sure they also provide a meeting point between real and virtual pages.

Beginning September 1, the book fair will play host to 300 publishers, both regional and international  at its 600 stalls. China is sending a delegation of 20 publishers, while six publishers from Pakistan will also set up stalls.

While traditional books will be the focus of the event, several e-publishers will attract attention this year by displaying and offering electronic books. The UK-based e-book distributor Overdrive, W3C India and Digital Media Initiative will also participate.

“I convinced the top official of Overdrive to participate in this event by telling him that this is perhaps a rare place where you will get 300 publishers, whose books are mostly not converted into e-books. He readily agreed,” said Shakti Malik, director of Delhi Book Fair.
While one company will organise a series of seminars on training people on e-publishing and conversion of books, another will showcase conversion of magazines and newspapers into digital form.

As bibliophiles turn out in large numbers, the organisers have arranged special shuttle services to ferry people, especially senior citizens, to different halls at the venue.

Organised since 1995 by the India Trade Promotion Organisation in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Publishers, the fair is a vital platform for lesser-known authors and publishers who get their due share along with the giants under the same roof.

“Bookshops do not have enough space to display  books by lesser-known authors. This is a platform that gives  space to even the first time authors,” said Malik.

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