24th Kochi International Book Festival from 24 February

Physical edition after a 2-year long hiatus

Photo: Dewang Gupta on Unsplash

24 February 2022 will mark the beginning of the 24th edition of the Kochi International Book Festival, that will continue till 6 March at the Ernakulathappan Grounds in the city. The fair will be held for the first time since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic that is still wreaking havoc across the world. The 23rd edition of the book festival which was held in 2019, prior to the pandemic, was a grand success with more than 10,000 visitors on a daily basis.

The first edition of the Kochi International Book Festival was organized in 1997 to commemorate 50 years of India’s independence. The annual book fair, which is put together by the Antharashtra Pusthakotsava Samithi, goes on for 10 days. The Kochi Literature Festival is also co-located with the Kochi International Book Festival. 

The book festival, held in December each year, provides a B2B interaction environment for publishers, book traders, literary agents, translators, distributors, and traders. The cultural event is also the meeting point of regional book publishers and sees regular attendance from publishing houses in neighboring states as well as established publishing houses from across the country. The publishers employ the book arena to create brand awareness for their literary and knowledge offerings. 

The fair focuses on the B2C angle as well which makes it an anticipated event in every enthusiast and bibliophile’s calendar. The Kochi International Book Festival offers a line-up of cultural activities for readers of all age groups including book discussions, book launches, book readings, book quizzes, art contests, literary meets, author interactions, panel discussions, and literary workshops, apart from cultural performances. The 2022 physical edition of the event will take place in observance with all Covid-19 precautions and guidelines.

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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