Losing focus? Making book fair annual good for retail, not trade: Publishers
The first three days of the week-long fair witnessed low footfall. Almost all publishers waited for weekend buyers to increase sales, especially because this year, the fair had only one weekend. After rain kept buyers away on the first two days of the fair, many students visited the fair as part of school programmes.
While organisers were expecting trade to increase, publishers say the fair is a good retail opportunity, but not necessarily the best business platform.
Managing director of Jaico Publishing House Ashwin Shah said, “We aren’t even expecting the kind of business we did last year. The number of buyers decreased because the fair has become an annual event. From a trade point-of-view, the book fair should be held once in two years. Business will not increase by making it an annual event.”
Naveen Joshi, Executive Vice President, S Chand Publications, who has represented his company at the fair 38 times, said the annual fair is more of a retail opportunity. “Many publishing houses enter the fair because of its scale but no one will say how much business was done,” Joshi said.
Marketing manager for Full Circle Books, Girish Goel, said the number of booksellers has reduced. “Normally, the fair is a 10-day event and covers two weekends. This time, it was only seven days and one weekend,” Goel said. He said the fair could be an annual trade event and should be open to public once in two years.
Publishers said that an annual fair “will need better planning”. Many believe that two years is enough breathing space for new publications to hit the stands. They say that the area of the fair may have increased but its management is still an issue.
Deputy chairman National Book Trust, Pradeep Chabra said that the fair had been made an annual event as the then HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had “expressed such a wish” while inaugurating the World Book Fair 2012. “After that, we signed an MoU with the HRD ministry and India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO),” he said.
Chairman and CMD of ITPO Rita Menon said this year’s fair had more attractions, like the rights table for exchanging translation rights between publishing houses from different countries, and the author’s corner in each hall where readers met authors. The CMD said: “Though the scope of the fair has increased, there is no way of knowing if that translates into an increase in business.”
Be the first to comment.