I happened to read an article in The Hindu on 9 March which claimed that there were no Tamil stalls in the New Delhi World Book Fair. The writer of that article, may be from Andhra, was prompt enough to interview the representative from the Telugu stall, the only one from that language! But, interestingly, failed to notice two Tamil stalls just adjacent to that Telugu stall and other 5 Tamil stalls which were located behind that row ! I sent a letter to the editor, but not sure if it will be published.
Every edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair attracts a few publishers from down south. When I was associated with a publishing company, I was the in-charge of lone Tamil stall during 1992 and 1994 book fairs. Times changed and many other publishers now take part, for instance, NCBH, Kalachuvadu, Kizhakku, Sandhiya, Bharathi, Shanthi, Islamic Foundation Trust, etc. Many of them were present in this edition of the Fair too.
Publishers from Tamil Nadu and Kerala had the highest number of stalls in Hall No. 14 from among the four south Indian states in the recently concluded New Delhi World Book Fair. While Malayalam was represented by nine stalls, Tamil language publishers had ten stalls. And Telugu and Kannada have one stall each.
“Response is very good, as usual,” said Suresh from Mathrubhoomi Printing and Publishing Co. Ltd. D.C. Books, one of the largest publishers of Kerala, with two stalls was having good business. Malayala Manorama, one of the leading newspapers in Malayalam with its Delhi edition, was present here both for selling publications as well as to collect subscriptions. Considering the Keralite population in the capital spread all over the NCR region, Malayalam publishers were the happiest lot. The All Kerala Publishers & Booksellers Association, a representative body of about 200 publishers from the state, was also present with a representative collection of books from about 25 publishers.
“So far the response is not encouraging. We have brought only select titles, mostly new publications, to this Fair,” said Rukudeen of Islamic Foundation Trust, who was present in the Book Fair for the second time. Whereas, Ongaram Publications had only the writings of Swami Ongarananda in its stall. Jothi Kumar, its representative, said, “We are having only religious books and it seems people are not much interested in this subject.”
Kizhakku Pathippagam, which is more into direct selling, booked orders from the book lovers to deliver them by courier. “This helps us to avoid huge expenses on transportation and damage of books,” said Pandian from Kizhakku. They had a set of select publications for display, which were also sold off in the last few days. New Century Book House is a regular participant since two decades and its representative Kumar was happy with the response from visitors and institutional buyers.
Kannan from Kalachuvadu Publications Pvt. Ltd., one of the notable publishers of Tamil Nadu said, “We are here with select books including classics and our aim is not just to cater to the general readers but to supply books to the libraries and institutions.” Balaji Institute of Computer Graphics, a first time participant in the NDWBF, had in its stands a lot of books on computers in Tamil. They were promoting particularly one title ‘Puthagam Patriya Puthagam’, (A Book about Book), which, according to them, carries all information about book—history of book, publishing, production, ISBN, marketing, libraries in India, list of books nationalized, etc.
Malarvizhi from Semparuthi, a publisher of children’s books, too, was encouraged with the response, “I am surprised to see that our children’s books in Tamil attracts even non-Tamils too and so I have made my mind to come to the next edition of the Fair with a few translations in Hindi too.” BAPASI, the organiser of the Chennai Book Fair, was also present for the first time with a representative collection from about 50 publishers.
“I am waiting for the weekend, because the population from Karnataka is comparatively less in Delhi,” said H. Puttappa, representative of Karnataka Publishers Association which is here with a collective display of publications from about 10 publishers from the state.
Most of the language publishers were happy with the institutional buying. The New Delhi World Book Fair is the best opportunity for libraries, exporters and other institutions to select the best under one roof. Visitors from Sri Lanka who especially came for the Fair also used this opportunity to buy books in Tamil and English.
Apart from these stalls in languages section of Hall No. 14, National Book Trust, India and Sahitya Akademi, the major publishers of books in all Indian languages, had in their stall a fair number of publications in various languages. Unfortunately, they were not noticed by visitors who visited particularly for language books.