• Saturday, June 10, 2023

46th International Kolkata Book Fair Brings Back Pre-Covid Enthusiasm for Books Among Readers

Between Tuesday and Saturday, the fair attracted almost 11 lakh visitors.
on Feb 07, 2023
46th International Kolkata Book Fair

The first Sunday of the 46th International Kolkata Book Fair, in Salt Lake's Central Park in the northeastern part of the city, saw readers celebrate their love for books just as they did before the pandemic. There were serpentine lines outside book stalls, a crowded little magazine arena, and stationary traffic outside.

The Publishers and Booksellers Guild, the fair's organizers, suggested two explanations for the attendance.

First off, Covid, which hung over the fair last year, is almost entirely gone. Second, many people from the suburbs who would have previously challenged getting to the location are closer to the fair thanks to the East-West Metro service between Sealdah and Sector V.

"It has made a significant impact because the fairground is so easily accessible from Sealdah through the East-West Metro. Because of East-West Metro, more book lovers from suburbs and even farther afield are attending this time, according to Tridib Chatterjee, general secretary of the guild. Aside from that, readers have returned with a fury now that Covid's terror has subsided.

Between Tuesday and Saturday, the fair attracted almost 11 lakh visitors. There were 4.5 lakh attendees on Saturday alone, and the organizers were confident that attendance on Sunday would increase.

The gates opened at noon on Sunday. By 3 p.m., the usually deserted Sunday roads surrounding Karunamoyee were jam-packed with automobiles, forcing the police to deploy more officers to help with traffic control.

Numerous young individuals, many of whom were carrying a list of books to be purchased, were among the guests.

Amitava Dasgupta, from Rabindranagar in Santoshpur, south Kolkata, uses crutches to walk, but that didn't stop him from going to the busy fair on Sunday. To get to Central Park, he took two buses for two hours.

Dasgupta stated, "I wanted to witness the gathering and give me some comfort that the power of printed words is not entirely lost. "I'll be here again."

Kaberi Bhattacharya and her family, which included her mother, Basanti Roy, traveled to the fair from Singur in the Hooghly district.

"I decided to take my mum to the fair with us. She initially hesitated because she needed a walking stick, but she eventually accepted. Due to Covid, the Bhattacharyas skipped the fair the previous year, and they rented a car this time so they could attend the fair.

The fairground's crowd continued to grow by the hour, making the booksellers happy. It got challenging to maneuver inside the pavilions by late afternoon, and readers from around the state crowded into the area designated for little periodicals.

"So far, it has shown great promise. According to one publisher, we still have a week left, but the sales are already up by about 25% from last year's fair.

Since we are a new publishing business with insufficient titles, we needed to decide whether to attend the fair. We applied with some trepidation, but it appears that the decision has paid off now," remarked a different publisher.

His booth is one of several newcomers to the field of book publishing. Following the job losses brought on by the pandemic, several began authoring novels.

No one thinks that each of them has been given a little stall roughly 50 square feet in size.

The Metro Railway authorities said that on Saturday, for the first time since the route opened, the East-West Metro had foot traffic surpass 50,000.

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