15 lakh people visit book fair this year

The 42nd Chennai Book Fair drew over 15 lakh visitors and the sales this year was over ₹18 crore.

The book fair, organised by the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI), came to an end on Sunday with holiday crowds thronging the venue at YMCA Grounds, Nandanam.

According to the organisers, this year was a big draw as the fair lasted 17 days compared to the 13 days last year.

P. Mailavelan, vice-president, BAPASI, said this year’s book fair has seen an unprecedented footfall of 15 lakh with more than five lakh young people visiting the book stalls. “The highlight is the good sale in the children’s section,” he said.

While the crowds did not throng the book stall at the sprawling YMCA grounds during working days, weekends and the Pongal holidays brought in huge crowds.

However, Kannan Sundaram, publisher of Kalachuvadu, said this year the book fair was not a big success as the numbers were down except for the few days after the inauguration and during the closing weekends.

‘No innovation’

“The Chennai book fair is definitely one of the phenomenal events done without much government support. But it has reached a stagnant point with not much of innovations to attract the people,” he said. “The success is not just in the number of visitors but also in the sale of books. New ideas in setting up book stalls and new themes are not encouraged by the organisers,” he said.

While there are positive vibes in seeing new publishers, writers and book sellers at this year’s book fair did not see much of a crowd, said writer and publisher Manushyaputhiran. “When the book market is expanding, the book reading habit has not seen any big growth,” he said.

The overall recession prevailing in the economy, particularly the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) also affected the sale, he added.

Stating that this year’s book fair was a huge success going by the number of visitors and sales, T.S. Srinivasan, treasurer, BAPASI, said the overall number in sales should be taken into account.

“Some publishers may not have sold much this year because of various reasons. Overall, the sale was over ₹18 crore which is about ₹3 crore more than last year,” he said.

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