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.

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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