Two missed years have severely impacted Kolkata publishers who rely on the event for a substantial portion of their annual revenue. However Kolkata’s publishers organisations have stubbornly resisted any suggestion that a digital options might make things easier for publishers, authors and booklovers. This in a country of 750 million internet users.
In a country of 1.4 billion people 50,000 new Covid cases being recorded daily and 800 fatalities a day is not, it seems, enough to prevent the Kolkata International Book Fair going ahead on February 28, having previously been postponed. Stall will be smaller, with much more outdoor “ventilated” space and the standard protective measures will be in force, but there’s little chance of this event making a big dent in the financial woes of the region’s publishing.
Neighbouring Bangladesh, marking its 50th anniversary of independence, is the theme country, with 42 publishers from Bangladesh participating, and publishers are expected, per the Business Standard, from USA, UK, Russia, Italy, Japan, Iran, Spain, Argentina, Mexico among others, although just how many will stand by those commitments in the circumstances remains to be seen.
Publishers and Booksellers Guild President Sudhangshu Sekhar Dey reports that the Kolkata Book Fair had been recognised by International Publishers Association, and that’s a big step forward for one of the world’s largest public-facing book fairs, which in pre-Covid times could attract over two million book lovers.
Assuming no further plan changes this event will go ahead after two missed years that severely impacted Kolkata publishers who rely on the event for a substantial portion of their annual revenue.
However as oft reported here at TNPS the local publishers organisations have stubbornly resisted any suggestion that a digital options might make things easier for publishers, authors and booklovers, even when, as was claimed earlier this year, Kolkata publishers face starvation. This in a country of 750 million internet users.
That’s in stark contrast to reports from other sectors of the India publishing scene where digital embrace has helped many publishers see record high sales and revenues.