New Delhi World Book Fair likely to be called off

NDWBF could be postponed to April of this year

New Delhi World Book Fair
New Delhi World Book Fair 2019. Photo IPP

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) recently approved a graded response action plan after the number of Coronavirus cases shot up in the capital. New Delhi recorded a total of 4,099 fresh Covid-19 cases on 3 January 2022 thereby increasing the positivity rate to 6.46%. 

With this recent spike, the National Book Trust (NBT), which organizes the annual New Delhi World Book Fair, has submitted a report to the Central Government about the prospects of still holding the 2022 fair that was scheduled to begin at the end of this week – 8 January 2022. According to a report in The Hindustan Times dated 3 January, the Ministry of Education (MoE) may cancel the book exhibition that was slated to be held from 8 – 16 January 2022. The news report suggests that this year’s edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair may be postponed to April 2022 or organized as a virtual event on the same dates. 

The DDMA has banned the organization of business-to-business (B2B) conferences and exhibitions with a yellow alert under its graded response action plan to upsurges in the Covid-19 pandemic. As reported by HT, with the recent Covid surge in the city and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant across the country, many book publishers from India and overseas have intimated their inability to take part at the major annual book fair organized by the National Book Trust. The Fair was to complete 50 years in 2022, with a special photo exhibition to commemorate the milestone. The theme of this year’s edition was ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav,’ – elixir of energy of independence.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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