2023 Kolkata book fair to be on pre-COVID scale

2023 Kolkata book fair to be on pre-COVID scale
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Kolkata: The 46th International Kolkata Book Fair, scheduled to be held in January next year, will be on the pre-COVID scale if cases do not rise again, organisers said.

Publishers and Book Sellers Guild president Sudhanshu Sekhar Dey said there will be more stalls and more space for them in the next edition of the international book fair.

Speaking to PTI on the sidelines of the inauguration of the 10-day 'Sharod Boi Parbon' (autumn book fair) held in the run-up to Durga Puja, Dey said, "The 45th edition of the Kolkata International Book Fair could not be held in 2021 due to the prevailing COVID situation. It was held in 2022 with curtailed stall space and certain restrictions."

"We are hoping that the 46th edition will be on the pre-COVID scale, with bigger and more number of stalls, and more international guests like in the 44th edition in 2020 before the pandemic struck, if the current situation does not deteriorate," he said.

There were around 600 stalls in 2022 and we want the numbers to increase next year to accommodate more publishers and book-sellers, Dey said.

The guild's general secretary, Tridib Chatterjee, said the next edition will be held in the same venue at Central Park in Salt Lake.

"Preparations have already begun for the event, which will be on a grand scale," he said.

Spain will be the theme country for next year's edition, the dates of which are yet to be finalised.

In the previous edition in 2022, books worth over Rs 22 crore were sold.

About the 'Sharod Boi Parbon', which is being held from September 2-11, he said that 100 publishers are participating in the autumn book carnival in which 70 stalls have been put up.

Inaugurating the book fair, eminent writer Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay said, "E-books cannot replace printed matter. The sheer pleasure of getting hold of literary classics and flipping through pages cannot be felt by reading e-books. The sale of books in this book fair proves that paperback and hardbound volumes are here to stay."

Mukhopadhyay expressed hope that publishers and book-sellers, hard hit by COVID-triggered lockdowns, will be able to make some recovery following sales at the book fair.

West Bengal Minister of State, Culture, Indranil Sen said, "As the Durga Puja vibe grips Kolkata, there could not have been a better time and occasion to celebrate literature and poetry than organising a 10-day extravaganza for the City of Joy.