At the Chennai Book Fair taking place from 9 to 21 January 2020, author Arumugam Tamilan was asked to cut short his speech following his references to the new Citizen Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in his speech. Immediately, members of the audience demanded an explanation from the book fair organizers.
The organizers said that Tamilan was requested to stop speaking as he had overshot his time limit, and the 9 pm is the time for the fair activities to cease. “The police had given till 9 pm for the book fair activities. However, when Tamilan was speaking, it was already around 9:05 to 9:10 pm, which is why he was asked to wrap up. There was no other problem,” said the BAPASI president, RS Shanmugham.
2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India
Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and
multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.
The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry.
While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately
their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book
printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.
The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.
Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.
Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.
Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.
While book fairs have proliferated across the country, in the past year their role in freedom of expression has expanded. Authors generally try to be relevant and speak to entrenched beliefs. Book fairs are a place to commune with ideas and literate thinking people who are looking to their favourite authors to speak out on issues that concern them. And local authors are almost obliged to articulate their views on the daily attacks not only on rational thinking but also on peaceful freedom of expression.