Focus on multilingualism at New Delhi World Book Fair

Books, sessions, cultural programs and much more

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New Delhi World Book Fair
The Bhaubhashi Bharat Pavilion theme pavilion in Hall 5 was a huge draw with visitors soaking in the multilingual tradition and readers and book lovers exploring India's linguistic diversity. Photo IPP

The New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF) is a major calendar event in the Indian publishing industry. In its 51st year, this year’s fair was held at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi from 10 – 18 February 2024 with the theme Multilingual India (Bahubhashi Bharat) – A Living Tradition. The Bhaubhashi Bharat Pavilion theme pavilion in Hall 5 was a huge draw with visitors soaking in the multilingual tradition and readers and book lovers exploring India’s linguistic diversity.

The pavilion was conceptualized by the National Institute of Design Ahmedabad with colorful banners of regional language story books hanging from the roof and facts and figures about the languages and dialects spoken in India forming its pillars and screens. The exhibits and informative panels on eminent writers and linguists of various Indian languages were a feast for litterateurs. Photo booths with the quotes of Mahatma Gandhi in different regional languages and multilingual signboards of railway stations in the backdrop attracted visitors in large numbers. A booth by DocTunes enabled visitors to speak to a computer and get its translation in any Indian language.

The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) and the ministry of education had put up a photo exhibition on Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh – a visual narrative of continuities and linkages that showcased the rich cultural heritage of the region.

The NDWBF, organized by the National Book Trust India and co-organizer and venue partner with the India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO), was inaugurated by minister of education, skill development and entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan, on 10 February 2024.

The 2024 edition had over 1000 exhibitors, including renowned national and international publishers as well as independent booksellers. Bibliophiles and literature enthusiasts thronged the fair in large numbers. The book exhibition space this year covered 50,000 square meters. Indian language publishers in Gujarati, Hindi, Maithili, Bangla, Assamese, Punjabi, Marathi, Malayalam, Odia, Sanskrit, Tamil, Sindhi and Urdu had a prominent presence in this year’s edition. According to The Hindustan Times, the NDWBF 2024 recorded an average daily footfall of 100,000 visitors. Indian Printer and Publisher could not independently verify the footfall.

Saudi Arabia was the Guest of Honor country with a 25-member delegation showcasing Saudi literature and language along with the nation’s culture at the event.

The fair showcased a vast array of books in multiple languages and genres. The Author’s Corner provided a space for author interactions, meet-and-greet sessions, and book signings for book lovers. A variety of cultural programs and activities were organized, including book readings, live performances, workshops and panel discussions.

Indian Publishers optimistic about NDWBF

Prakash Books India had a spectacular stand where it showcased its imprints Wonder House and Fingerprint. The stand attracted a large number of book lovers and bibliophiles. Naveen Bagga, head – sales & business development at Prakash Books, said they had received a great response at their stand.

New Delhi World Book Fair
The Prakash Books stand at New Delhi World Book Fair 2024. Photo IPP

Simon & Schuster India was celebrating its global 100th anniversary in publishing. The book publisher represents a number of international publishers in India, including Adams Media, Gallery Books, Simon Spotlight, Paula Wiseman Books, Margaret K Mcelderry, Beach Lane Books, The Scribner Press, Denene Millner Books, Salaam Reads, Saga Press, Simon Element, Little Simon, among others.

New Delhi World Book Fair
Simon & Schuster India was celebrating its global 100th anniversary in publishing. Photo IPP

Abhay Singh, senior publicity and marketing manager at Simon & Schuster India, said their stand received a regular flow of book lovers.

Rupa and Aleph Books had a beautiful stand that attracted a lot of book lovers and literary enthusiasts. The publisher was offering a 20% discount on all books at its stand. Vijay Kumar Sharma, sales manager at Rupa Publications India, said they received a good footfall.

At the HarperCollins stand, Poulomi Chatterjee, publisher at HarperCollins Publishers India, said the company got serious business inquiries and good sales at the event. The company had curated book sets of popular authors such as Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, especially for the fair, which sold well. HarperCollins offered a discount of 20% on all books and 30% on all book sets, she said.

New Delhi World Book Fair
Poulomi Chatterjee, publisher at HarperCollins Publishers India. Photo IPP

Westland Books had a prominent presence. Dhairya Dugar, head of business development at Westland Books, said that the publisher received a good response on its reprints. Books from Pratilipi also did well.

Dreamland Publications showcased its wide collection of books for children. Kids accompanied by parents were seen selecting from the wide variety of books on offer. Indian Printer and Publisher had a chance to interact with Aman Chawla, director, Dreamland Publications, who said he was happy to see the excitement of children at the stand.

Hachette India had a well-curated stand that had special sections on Books about books, LGBTQ+, and Book adaptations. Radhika Chauhan from Hachette Books said these specially curated sections received a lot of traction from general visitors, bibliophiles and literary enthusiasts. The special colorful box set of The Hachette Book of Indian Detective Fiction received a lot of admiration from book lovers, she said.

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

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