Digital edition of JLF 2021 in February

First list of Jaipur Litfest speakers announced

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JLF
Image: www.jaipurliteraturefestival.org

With the Coronavirus pandemic raging throughout the world, most events and exhibitions are either canceled or postponed or going the virtual route. The Jaipur Literature Festival is no exception. The 14th edition of the literary event will take place in a digital format in two sub-events – the first from 19-21 February and the second from 26-28 February. Both are Friday to Sunday weekend events.

JLF
Image: www.jaipurliteraturefestival.org

The first list of speakers for the JLF digital editions have also been announced and includes several renowned authors, including Ramachandra Guha, Daniel Simpson, Prasoon Joshi, Bibek Debroy, Carlo Rovelli, Shashi Tharoor, Marina Wheeler, Simon Winchester, Stephen Brusatte, Sarbpreet Singh, Albie Sachs, Moin Mir, Ranjit Hoskote, Michael Sandel, Navtej Sarna, Oliver Craske among others.

The virtual format of JLF 2021 aims to provide an immersive experience and global access to the attendees in what one hopes are the last acts of the pandemic. The popular literature event will continue its quest for literary excellence, author and co-director William Dalrymple said in an official statement.

Mental health, translations, science and medicine, technology and artificial intelligence, environment and climate change, history and translations are some of the themes that will be explored in the virtual literary extravaganza.

According to knocksense.com, Jaipur BookMark (JBM) – the B2B arm of the litfest will be organizing a digital program in weekdays between the two weekends that is from 22-25 February 2021. The 8th edition of the JBM will bring together publishers, literary agents, writers, booksellers and translation agencies from across the world and will have two sessions per day.

The JLF 2021 merchandise and books by participating authors will be available online at www.jaipurliteraryfestival.org

Our view

Elsewhere, organizer Sanjoy Roy has spoken about the digital events held by JLF throughout 2020, although the live JLF 2020 event did take place in January-end, just before the pandemic took hold. Roy said audiences who had never been able to take part at Jaipur could get some of the flavor of the event in its virtual caravan.

However, in our view, the JLF is the single most important cultural event in India and a considerable achievement in terms of vision, practical organization, and logistics. Although one should not close one’s mind to the JLF’s organizers’ creativity, it will be sorely missed by a broad and inclusive audience. It deserves support to eventually leapfrog the Covid-19 pandemic in 2022 to continue on its evolutionary path.

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.

– Naresh Khanna

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