Book fairs play a vital role in publishing. Both professional and consumer book fairs are important for the book industry. They bring together publishers, agents, distributors, retailers and book lovers together on a single platform.Media shifts its attention to book industry when the book fairs are on. Authors get a chance to meet their fans and foster stronger relationships with people and publishers.
But, in this digital age, where virtual presence is everywhere, are book fairs still important? Most of the book fair across the world are shrinking in size but they are still flourishing, if not in terms of size, then in terms of the quality of visitors to the fair and the business deals sealed at the venue.
State Central Library under department of Art and Culture had launched 29th Imphal Book Fair which will continue till January 24. The fair was organised in collaboration with Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation Kolkata at Tiddim Road Athletic Union Ground Imphal West.
Many students from school to university level, people working in various profession, academician, job seekers, civil service aspirants are continuously visiting the fair.
One of the sellers said that footfall in the fair is lesser in compared to previous years. But it may increase after some days as the fair has just begun.He also said that people’s interest of visiting the fair varies.
A visitor Johnson who is pursuing graduation said “I am very much interested in visiting book fair. It was really disheartening when state didn’t organise book fair for two years due to COVID-19 pandemic. Nowadays people feel that education is all about getting good marks instead of thinking it as gaining knowledge. Because of this reason, the habit of reading good book, which is not part academic syllabus, is losing. This is yet another major factor of lesser crowd in book fairs.”
He also said that there is a great difference between reading a physical textbook and e-book. No matter how much technology is developed, physical textbook cannot be replaced by e-book.
On the third day of the fair a symposium was held under the “Internet and Library”. One of the speakers who is also president of Manipur Library Association (MALA), Kangjam Chaoba Singh said that with the advancement of technology, any information is easily available in the internet. But significance of physical textbook cannot be completely replaced by information found in internet.
He further said that some politicians of the state often expressed about unnecessity of developing library in the state due to advancement of information technology. However, such mindset should be changed and government should rather think of constructing well equipped library that can attract students as their favourite place.
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