The usual buzz at the Delhi Book Fair that was inaugurated here Friday was missing, so was the brimming crowd.
People visit the 19th Delhi Book Fair at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. Photo: Sushil Kumar/Hindustan Times
This is the first time organisers have preponed the book fair by a day, and instead of a weekend, opened it to public on a weekday. This slight change in schedule has received mixed responses from the exhibitors.
"Opening on a weekday does not make any sense to me. People are usually busy and a weekend is an ideal time for people to come here with their family. The boost we used to get on the first day is missing," Sanjay Mago, CEO, sales and marketing, Om Books International, told IANS.
"When you are exhibiting, you come with certain expectations. We are here making business with consumers and if they are not present what is the point of investing so much money," he added, saying they have been exhibition since the fair began its journey 19 years back.
A spokesperson from Niyogi Books agreed with Mago.
"This slight change has affected so much. Usually we would get two weekends, but this year because one day is preponed, our last day now falls on a Saturday. We have missed one Sunday," he said.
"On the last day we start packing up early as we have to clear the halls by night. So here too we have lost second half of a Saturday," he added.
Organised by the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) in collaboration with the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), the fair has over 250 participants from India and abroad. It will end Aug 31.
"This was not something we have done deliberately," Ashok Gupta, general secretary of FIP told IANS.
"ITPO has already allotted the halls on that Sunday to someone. So we had to prepone it by a day. And we wouldn't have done that exhibitors would have lost a day. There was nothing much we could have done," he added, saying the brighter side of this would be Janmashtami holiday Aug 28.
"It should fill up the lost Sunday," he smiled.
As the nine-day book fair is an apt place for publishers from all parts of India to market their products, M.L. Bhatia from National Book Trust feels that a good product and good fair will always survive.
"One day here or one day there, how does it matter? It is a window to what work we are doing and people can come and see what they normally don't get to see in bookshops," he said.
"There is so much Indian publishers are doing and they are doing good work. With inflation and price of money going down, people can't afford to buy expensive books. Platforms like this offer what foreign publishers don't offer," he added.
A spokesperson from Mumbai-based Jaico Publication House said if one wants to look at the brighter side, there is one to this as well.
"With less footfall on the first day, we have enough time to get ready for Saturday rush. Otherwise the business would start from day one and there would be chaos at time. There was no time for settling down. This time we have that time," he said.
Mudit Mohini, director, Vishv Books that deals in children's books concluded on a happy note.
"Parents along with children always come to this fair. Be it a weekend or a weekday, they will always come. Book lovers too will drop by no matter what," she said.
Even 21-year-old Vidya Mishra isn't complaining. An IAS aspirant, she welcomes the change.
"Usually I would wait for the weekend rush to get over and then visit the fair on a Monday. So it is good for people like me to stroll around and get the best buy," she said.