Jamshedpur, Nov. 22: The ongoing Jamshedpur annual book fair is a one-stop shop for every reader’s desire. Brightly lit stalls, piles of books stacked up or neatly arranged on shelves, and book-lovers browsing through their favourite genres – the ongoing fair looks every bit like a carnival for bibliophiles.
This year, the fair is being visited by students, teachers, readers, families, women and children in large numbers – everyone on the lookout for their own soul-stirring piece of book! And most visitors to the fair return with loaded bags. And the ones who managed to strike a big deal can’t hide a radiant glee.
“I bought books on cooking and spirituality, apart from the course related ones,” said Joyeeta Bandyopadhya, a teacher. She was thrilled at the books available in vernacular languages. “I am a Bengali so it’s nice to see so many books in the language,” she said.
From crayons and office stationery to crafts and accessories, it had it all. There were the occasional college students and office-goers, but the crowd was dominated by parents who had brought their children along.
Like last year, books for children, brought out by many small-time publishers, dominate the fair. From activity to story books, the sheer array of children’s books at every stall is impressive.
But regulars such Naveen Agarwal of Jugsalai say they find the annual fair predictable. “I have been visiting the fair for almost 10 years and noticing a change of trend every three years.
First it was Hindi classics that ruled the show, and then came English fiction and now for the last two years, it is children’s literature. DVDs of Panchathantra and Tenali Rama are ubiquitous. One does not need to visit a book fair to buy them,” says the bank official.
Films may not be an entertainment substitute for bibliophiles. But works of fiction made into motion pictures can certainly draw a fresh set of readers, and booksellers participating in the Book Fair swear by that. For the past two days, a lot of the fiction in English that found takers was those which have been made into films.
It is not just ever-green classics like the ‘Narnia’ series or ‘Alice in Wonderland’ that move off the shelves faster than others at the fair, for books like ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ are also displayed prominently in many stalls.
Books on religion, cookery and self-help books are a regular feature every year and they guarantee good business for the publishers. Stalls of popular publishing houses and bookstores manage to pull a steady stream of visitors.
Ashis Chowdhury, general secretary of Tagore Society, the organisers of the fair, said that every year the trend is for the award winning books and on people who are in limelight and this year too is not different.
He said that the fair is an equal mix of books from educational to fictional. The stress is also on books based on regional languages like Gurumukhi and Bangla. There are separate book stalls on Santhali and Punjabi.
Meanwhile, the officials of the society informed that this time in fair textbooks and recommended books are available in large numbers apart from others books.
Previously, students could only get test papers from the stalls, so the organisers of the book fair had specifically asked the publishers to cater to the needs of the school going children as well.