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World Book Fair 2013 concludes amid electrifying cultural performance

New Delhi, Mon, 11 Feb 2013 NI Wire

The World Book Fair 2013 ended here on Sunday with the promise of returning as a bigger fair in the next year.

The seven day long World Book Fair that was organized here at Pragati Maidan with by National Book Trust (NBT) with the collaboration of Sangeet Natak Academy concluded on 10th February amid the joy of huge success and electrifying cultural performance.

The 21st edition of World Book Fair ended on an optimistic note that publishing industry's fortunes in India were on a roll despite the global economic uncertainty.

"The next World Book Fair will commence from Feb 15 to Feb 23 at the Pragati Maidan," informed NBT Chairman M A Sikander while delivering the valedictory speech.

Poland will be the guest country, he added.

Pragati Maidan, the sprawling venue of the fair that turned into an annual event this year from its biannual status of last 41 years, was a throng of visitors whose numbers kept surging since morning.

Nearly 1,100 exhibitors from 28 countries showed books in every category in 2,100 stands.

The fair's theme was indigenous and folk literature that reached out to people through an ethnic books corner and and an art exhibition.

The National Book Trust (NBT), which hosts the event with India Trade Promotion Organisation, brought the Sangeet Natak Akademi on board to host a tribal and folk performance festival.

France was the guest country with a pavilion of 200 titles, launches, symposiums and business sessions.

A NBT official Saturday said the number of footfall had crossed 75,000.

Citing early estimates, the official said, nearly 200,000 people visited the fair this year, in a rise from 150,000 last year despite the rain playing spoilsport on the first two days.

This year, the fair went out of its way to push business opportunities - its primary focus - with two important B2B events, a New Delhi Rights Table and CEOSpeak where Indian and foreign publishers discussed trade and exchanged ideas.

"We made the fair an annual event this year so that it matches international standards. There were two big B2B events - a New Delhi rights table where 50 Indian publishers met 11 foreign publishers. Several Indian language rights (of books) were sold in the domestic market and a few in the foreign markets. Indian books will now be translated in foreign languages under a new policy," NBT director M.A. Sikander said.

"Despite the modest budget, the trust tried to give the fair the interactive feel of a literary meet with five authors' corner where at 150 writers met readers and signed books," he told reporters.

At least 50 literary events accompanied the business of publishing to present a holistic picture of the industry, he said.

"We're trying to integrate with civil society in more engaging ways. I'm in talks with chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education and commissioner of the Kendriya Vidyalayas to include a visit to the fair in the school curriculum," Sikander said.

He said he was trying to generate private resources for next year's fair to reduce the burden on the government.

The fair was more people and media-friendly this year with civic services such as shuttles to ferry tourists around the halls covering nearly 45,000 square metres and instant information for the national and international media.

Atlantic has published 150 titles of Routledge classics at specialIndian prices.

Sunil Kapoor, director, Cosmo Publications, said "reading as a habit was making a revival and pushing sales".

"Parents want their children to read books contrary to fear that the Internet and television will affect reading habits. The printed word will stay forever," said Kapoor.

His company, which holds rights to American titles worldwide, exports American books back to the United States.

--With IANS Inputs--

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