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2017.01.26 Kolkata International Book Fair - Concerns as new publications down
The 41st Kolkata International Book Fair (KIBF) will be inaugurated on January 25, 2016, in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, at the Milan Mela exhibition site. It is a twelve-day event which boasts around 2.5 million footfalls every year, and is known as the largest book fair in the world. Its theme country this year is Costa Rica.

According to the KIBF website, the fair came about in 1974 when young publishers gathered at a College Street coffee house to discuss the establishment of a book fair. Senior publishers rejected the idea, feeling that “books were not commodities that could be sold in fairs”, but the young publishers persisted. The Publishers & Booksellers Guild was formed in 1975 and organized the first KIBF in 1976, the year it also participated in the Frankfurt Book Fair.

However, the sudden demonetization in November 2016 of two large banknotes in India has seriously impacted the Indian publishing industry. According to the Times of India website, Bengali publishers have drastically reduced the number of new Bengali publications, with only one-fifth of the planned new titles to be presented at this year’s fair.

Tridib Chatterjee, guild secretary of the Publishers & Booksellers Guild, said that the Guild had been in discussion with the State Bank of India (SBI) to discuss concerns about the Fair’s capacity to deal with cashless alternatives. There will be at least 15 ATM machines at the Fair, and e-wallet service providers are also being invited to offer training to publishers.

Last year, sales from the Fair totaled 250 million rupees (approx. 5 million USD). As much as the Guild strives to make things work, a large downturn in sales is expected this year.

For more information, please refer to the following websites:  
 
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/take-note-alls-not-fair-at-2017-boimela/articleshow/55972996.cms

http://www.kolkatabookfair.net/