Bidhan Boi Mela was inaugurated last Friday at Bidhan Sishu Udyan in Ultadanga, next to Police Abasan.
There are 41 stalls, all selling books, including the likes of Ananda Publishers, Dey’s Publishing, Patra Bharati and Deep Prakashani.
“There is no other city in India with so many booklovers. We have 24 lakh people visiting and sales worth Rs 22-24 crore at the Book Fair. In the run-up to that fair, which has been postponed to July this year because of the pandemic, we are holding smaller book fairs across the city. The one in Jodhpur Park in February was a success. So now we are here,” said Tridib Chatterjee, president of the guild.
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The inauguration was attended by two literary greats who stay in neighbouring Salt Lake — theatre personality Manoj Mitra and poet Joy Goswami. Poet Sankha Ghosh who stays close to the venue had been invited too but could not make it due to advanced age.
“During the lockdown period, we could not open bookshops. But when people started asking us for books, we made deliveries on bikes and cycles. So many people spent the lockdown period reading books,” said guild general secretary Sudhangshu Sekhar Dey.
Talukdar recalled how Atulya Ghosh, the founder of the Sishu Udyan, had left instructions that only books be given as prize. “He had a great personal collection in his Karbala Road house which even Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had gone to see. Till now, we stick to the tradition of giving books as prizes to our little members,” he said.