Bologna, London book fairs. Paris BF with India as Guest of Honor

Word of the year – ‘in-person’

Olympia London LBF
The Olympia in London, site of the London Book Fair

The London Book Fair was held from 5 to 7 April with around 1,400 exhibitors and 21,000 professional visitors. Exhibitors numbers from Asia-Pacific included around 50 from Australia and New Zealand, 50 from China, around 30 each from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and India, 20 each from Malaysia and Thailand, and several publishers from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh, and Pakistan. From India, the exhibitors included 18 publishers and trading companies, 4 printing houses, 5 premedia service providers, and one literary agency.

In addition to all the literati buzz at these fairs, Nielsen Book Data shared some of their research on reading trends during the pandemic at LBF, showing that fiction, and ‘cozy crime’ in particular, seems to be on the rise, while manga is more popular than ever. TikTok trends have also impacted backlist title sales, with sales of books over two years old accounting for a third of all sales in 2021. In many book markets, print books have experienced a resurgence.

LBF concluded with the words of its director Andy Ventris, “It has been fantastic to see the global publishing industry come together in person at the London Book Fair over the past three days, reconnecting and doing business, filling the halls of Olympia with a distinct buzz of excitement. After two years away, it was clear how much we had all missed meeting face-to-face, and to see LBF return in such strong form was incredibly heartening. We look forward to welcoming the industry back to Olympia in 2023, building on this year’s phenomenal return.”

Bologna Children’s Book Fair

At this year’s BCBF, 1,070 exhibitors mingled with around 21,400 visitors on the four days between 21 and 24 March. The book industries from Australia and New Zealand sent 25 exhibitors, South Korea 15, India and China each 13, Japan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Singapore each one or two. The Indians included 11 publishers, one printing house, and one literary agency.

French Book Fair Salon du Livre de Paris – 21 to 24 April

In 2020, when the Indian book industry was supposed to be its Guest of Honor, the French book fair Salon du Livre was among the many events that were canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, two years later, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, Indian literature will be celebrated at the first-again in-person book fair in France, which has been transformed into a multiple-location gig, the Festival du Livre de Paris from 21 to 24 April

The organization of the book festival will center around a 10,000-square-meter exhibition space and ‘small lounges’ at the ‘Grand Palais Ephémère,’ a temporary wooden structure close to the Eiffel Tower, created to house events during renovations of the Grand Palais for the 2024 Olympics. Access to the fair will be free of charge but has to be reserved online in advance. During the main three days of the festival, author presentations and book readings will be held at several other locations, as well as a series of guided literary tours around the city. As Covid-19 cases are still rising in France, organizers will try to avoid too large concentrations of crowds.

Street signage in India
Street signage in India

Postponed by hardly two months, Paris is the third physical event among the larger European book fairs this year, only weeks after the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and the London Book Fair, and after the cancellation of this year’s Brussels and Leipzig book fairs. Both BCBF and LBF were canceled for two consecutive years, and both registered visitor numbers of about 75% of their 2019 turnout. Both also showcased the Sharjah International Book Fair as their market focus. The SIBF was one of the few book fairs that were able to mount physical events in both 2020 and 2021.

India Guest of Honor at the Festival du livre de Paris – Program

Friday 22 April
Write-Rewrite History

Shashi Tharoor, diplomat, politician, author
Aanchal Malhotra, historian
Mirza Waheed, author
Christophe Jaffrelot, political science specialist on India
Moderator: Jean-Claude Perrier
Location: Centre de Recherches Internationales

Current literary trends

Perumal Murugan, author, literary critic
Geetanjali Shree, author
Deepak Unnikrishnan, author
Moderator: Karthika Nair
Location: Grand Palais Éphémère

Living in India: Global Cities and the Environment

Anuradha Roy, author, journalist, editor
Bijal Vachharajani, author
Shoba Narayan, author
Moderator: Vaiju Naravane
Location: Grand Palais Éphémère

Living in the World: Calcutta, Abu Dhabi and London

Sandip Roy, author and journalist
Deepak Unnikrishnan, author
Mirza Waheed, author
Moderator: Dominique Vitalyos
Location: Grand Palais Éphémère

Meeting with Geetanjali Shree and Aanchal Malhotra

with, Annie Montaut (specialist on Hindi literature and translator)
Shailendra Mudgal (translator and teacher of Hindi)
Christine Villeneuve, publisher, Editions des femmes
Antoinette Fouque, translator
Location: Bookshop Le Phénix

Saturday 23 April

Engaging in Indian comics and youth literature 

George ‘Appupen’ Mathen, author, designer, musician
Bijal Vachharajani, author
Karthika Nair, author and poet
Discussion illustrated by Joelle Jolivet
Moderator: Jul, comics author
Location: Grand Palais Éphémère

Adapt and Translate: the Mahâbhârata

Ariane Mnouchkine
Jean-Marie Michaud, illustrator of a French Mahâbhârata comics
Nicolas Filicic and ‘his’ illustrated Mahâbhârata
Amina Okada and Indian miniatures
Thierry Pecou, music
Film de Corinne Jaber, comedian

Reading of extracts in Indian languages:
Niranjani Iyer (French-Hindi-Tamil)
Geetanjali Shri (Hindi)
Perumal Murugan and Nirupama Nityanandan (Tamil)
Deepak Unnikrishnan et Jeet Thayil (English) 

Lectures illustrated by Joelle Jolivet
Concept: Karthira Nair et Priti Paul
Translation support by the Apeejay Group and Priti Paul
Location: Museum of Asian Art

Meeting with Perumal Murugan 

Perumal Murugan is a professor of Tamil and the author of numerous novels and poems. Some of his works have been translated into English, such as his latest novel Poonachi and a collection of his poems, Songs of a Coward: Poems of Exile. Only one of his books has been translated into French, Le Bucher (The Funeral Pyre), at Editions Marsan.
Location: Bookshop Le Phénix

Sunday 24 April

The Indian detective story

Ajay Chowdhury, author and film director
Ishrat Syed, author and surgeon
Kalpana Swaminathan, author and surgeon
Moderator: Helene Fischbach, director of the International Festival of Detective Stories Location: Grand Palais Éphémère

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. It created the category of privately owned B2B print magazines in the country. And by its diversification in packaging, (Packaging South Asia), food processing and packaging (IndiFoodBev) and health and medical supply chain and packaging (HealthTekPak), and its community activities in training, research, and conferences (Ipp Services, Training and Research) the organization continues to create platforms that demonstrate the need for quality information, data, technology insights and events.

India is a large and tough terrain and while its book publishing and commercial printing industry have recovered and are increasingly embracing digital print, the Indian newspaper industry continues to recover its credibility and circulation. The signage industry is also recovering and new technologies and audiences such as digital 3D additive printing, digital textiles, and industrial printing are coming onto our pages. Diversification is a fact of life for our readers and like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in nominal and real terms – in a region poised for the highest change in year to year expenditure in printing equipment and consumables. Our 2024 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock – to emphasize your visibility and relevance to your customers and turn potential markets into conversations.

– Naresh Khanna

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