New Delhi World Book Fair 2022 postponed

Covid-19 plays spoilsport again!

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

The 50th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF) scheduled to be held from 8 – 16 January 2022 at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan has been postponed according to a tweet by the fair organizer, the National Book Trust (NBT) dated 5 January. The tweet stated, “In view of the latest DDMA guidelines and the requests made by various stakeholders and visitors, the New Delhi World Book Fair scheduled from 8-16 January 2022 at Pragati Maidan (ITPO) stands postponed. The fresh dates will be announced separately.”

Indian Printer & Publisher had earlier reported that the National Book Trust had submitted a report to the Central Government regarding the prospects of holding the book exhibition. The NDWBF has been postponed in lieu of the rising number of fresh Covid-19 infections with the capital reporting a total of 10,665 cases of Coronavirus infection on 5 January 2022 – the highest since 12 May 2021 during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) held a meeting concerning the rising number of cases in New Delhi on 4 January (Tuesday) and it was decided to impose a weekend curfew in the capital banning non-essential movement to control the spread of the contagious virus along with other restrictions. The NBT had also received several intimations from regional, national as well as international publishers stating their inability to participate in the fair due to Covid-19 restrictions and the alarming rise in cases. Currently, Delhi metropolis has the third-highest number of Covid-19 cases in India.

Covid-19 resurgence has played spoilsport to the 2022 Indian book fair and literary events calendar with the Chennai Book Fair getting postponed and chances of Kolkata Book Fair still being held despite a Covid-19 case spike in the city. The announcements are still pending regarding the physical editions of the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) and the 6th Kerala Literature Festival (KLF). The impending third wave has also led to the postponement of several trade exhibitions such as PaperEx India 2022 and Auto Expo 2022.

The New Delhi World Book 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 new dates for the 50th edition of NDWBF will be announced soon keeping the Covid-19 climate of the country in mind.

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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