Pune Book Fair postponed amid Covid surge

Most 2022 industry events rescheduled

Pune Book Fair
Set of Marathi book titles. Photo Flipkart

The Pune Book Fair, which was lined up from 20 – 23 January 2022 at Creaticity, Yerawada, has been postponed due to the recent escalation in Covid-19 infections in the city. Pune recorded 4,857 fresh Covid-19 cases on 14 January with one fatality.

Pune is largely considered the cultural capital of Maharashtra with its slew of educational centers and industrial units. The Pune Book Fair has garnered interest from the publishing industry in recent years and is now considered a prime literary interaction platform in Maharashtra and surrounding states. 

The Pune Book Fair, supported by Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, features a number of publishers from Maharashtra as well as other states. The book show is attended by library managers, book enthusiasts, editors, booksellers, institutional representatives, students, academicians, and government officials, apart from major book publishers.

The organizing committee shared in a statement, “Considering the current situation arising out of Covid, especially Omicron, dates of the Pune Book Fair and concurrent Sahityik/Sanskrutik program have been rescheduled. The rescheduled dates will be announced soon.

The third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to the postponement of major book fairs, literary festivals, conferences, seminars, and trade exhibitions in the past fortnight. The Chennai Book Fair was the first to be postponed, followed by the 50th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair. Jaipur and Kerala Literature Festivals were not far behind. 

The Asom Granthamela however did take place with good attendance over the 12 days from 29 December 2021 to 9 January 2022. Moreover, preparations are still on for the Kolkata Book Fair, which begins on 31 January despite a major increase in fresh infections in the state. 

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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