Book fest has bookworms, other Bangaloreans truly hooked!

November 19th, 2008 - 9:02 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Nov 19 (IANS) Bangaloreans in thousands can be found these days snapping up their favourite titles or simply having fun with friends and family at a book fair, said to be one of the largest in India.The sixth edition of the Bangalore Book Festival-2008, which kicked off at the city’s Palace Grounds Friday, has witnessed around 70,000 footfalls almost every day.

“The book fair acts as a meeting ground for all and sundry. Along with best book titles on various topics, the fair also provides entertainment in the form of various cultural extravaganza and good food,” said event co-ordinator Harindra Savanur.

From award-winning titles to books as cheap as Re.1, the event is generating a huge amount of curiosity from a cross section of society because of its eclectic collection.

Around 300 stalls at the fair have on offer books on management, computer science, animal behaviour, politics, spirituality, fiction and non-fiction.

The event has been jointly organised by the Bangalore Booksellers and Publishers’ Association and the Kannada Book Authority.

“Because of a Janata Dal-Secular rally Monday at the Palace Grounds, followed by heavy traffic jams in almost all the thoroughfares of the city, the number of visitors to the fair was minuscule that day,” Devaru Bhat, secretary of the association, told IANS.

“After a slow Monday, the book fair gained momentum again Tuesday and we are hoping for around 500,000 visitors during the 10-day event.”

The popularity of the book carnival, considered the second biggest in the country after the famous Kolkata book fair, has increased manifold over the years. Along with a wide array of books on offer at the festival, bibliophiles also get a chance to meet up with friends and have a nice time together.

Children too are having a gala time with their favourite story books, comic magazines, quiz collections, general knowledge and science journals.

The fair is giving a discount of 10 percent on each purchase, in addition to concessions offered by individual stalls. Publishers from across the country are participating in the fair.

In stalls like the Rare Book Shop, books are selling like hot cakes at prices ranging from Rs.10 to Rs.400. At Chowkhamba Sanskrit Pratisthan from Benaras, many a title has been sold at just Re.1.

“My collection of books is wide and varied. If I am selling books at Re.1, then I am also selling books at high prices of around Rs.7,000. I am happy to get such a huge response from Bangaloreans and it seems they have a good taste in books,” said R. Mishra, the proprietor of Chowkhamba Sanskrit Pratisthan.

The collection at the stall consists of books on tantra, yoga, Hindu epics, ayurveda and Vedic mathematics in Sanskrit.

Long queues could be seen also at the Sahitya Prakashana and ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) stalls.

Along with books in Kannada and English, many visitors are also buying Urdu, Tamil, Bengali and Hindi tomes.

“I have been a regular visitor to the fair since its inception. The fair is unique because of the wide array of books on offer at its various stalls. Moreover, everyone, irrespective of age groups, can come and enjoy books here. I have bought five books on various subjects,” said Nirmala Shankar, an IT professional.

Along with books, the fair is also offering entertainment programmes ranging from light music to folk dance programmes, book-reading sessions and special Kannada-Tamil poet meets.

“It is great to spend time at the book fair. I have come along with my friends and we are having a great time amid books, food and good company at the fair,” smiled college-goer Shikha Rai.

After a hectic day of book browsing and buying, hungry bibliophiles munch on their favourite bajjis, pickles, kebabs and even a full meal at various food stalls.

The organisers of the fair are expecting to generate Rs.200 million from the event. The book festival is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the entry fee is Rs.20. Entry is free for school and college students.

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