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Books and bedlam at book fair

So what else is new? Sundays at book fairs are invariably thronged with visitors. But with lack of information about halls, stalls and special events, visiting the fair becomes pretty painful.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2006 15:48 IST

Bustling crowds - and some chaos - mark the 17th New Delhi World Book Fair.

On the first two days Friday and Saturday, many of the stalls had not even come up. A steady stream of visitors kept hunting for halls and choice fare due to lack of adequate directions and signboards.

As adults and children jostled along the open spaces, the writing on the wall was clear - alerts and directions were absent.

Although billboards advertised publishing firms, information about scheduled talks, author appearances and discounts were not easily available.

To most people, the fair, spread out on the wide expanse of the Pragati Maidan trade fair ground, requires some significant footwork.

The glitches apart, there is a lot of variety on offer.

From the spiritual - the Osho collection and Hindu epics - to the scientific, from happy software stories to sad, sorrowful ditties, the fair documents an exotic line up of just about everything readable under the sky, albeit in a scattered manner.

Adding to the confusion was the setting up of the Youth Pavilion and the Rights Corner - both for the first time.

Abuzz with the excitement of new releases and chatter, the Youth Pavilion in hall no 18 is by far the busiest. The pavilion showcases books by popular Indian publishers, including the National Book Trust (NBT), Penguin and Rupa.

Programmes announced here include talks on careers in publishing by Penguin editor V.K. Karthika, book designing contests and appearances by best-selling authors Ruskin Bond and Chetan Bhagat.

Also for the first time, a Rights Corner has come up to facilitate ties between publishers and booksellers, especially in the matter of rights and translations.

The expo has children at its heart with a pavilion dedicated exclusively for tiny tots.

The Children's Pavilion, coordinated by the National Centre for Children's Literature, a wing of NBT, offers writings from most Asian nations.

Also available is the Quran in a DVD format, says Tariq Arif, manning the Qur'an Calligraphic Research Project stall in hall no. 14 from Pakistan.

From the devout flocking the counter, the holy book is highly in demand.

First Published: Jan 30, 2006 14:27 IST