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Time to get book-ed in the city

Time to get book-ed in the city
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Delhi’s bookworms have a reason to rejoice as the 18th edition of the Book Fair started on 1 September. This year’s edition has a lot in store for bibliophiles. The prime attraction are e-books and web-based applications. But that’s not all. Visitors will also be treated to a unique film festival where movies based on Indian novels will be screened.

On the inaugural day of the fair, a number of publishers were seen promoting e-books and introducing visitors to the idea of digitising books. Vishv Books, a Delhi-based publishing house, recently launched various applications created for iPads and Android tablets. These applications have been developed for 10 books in the children’s segment.

‘We are trying to make books as interactive as possible. The innovation will help parents read out stories to children from Android phones. We are mulling the addition of a new feature where parents can pre-record the story for narration,’ said Mudit Mohini, director, Vishv Books.

Three hundred publishers from countries like China, Pakistan, United States, Germany among others are displaying books on various subjects like sports, cooking, lifestyle and academics, and of course books for children.

To commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema, the fair is also organising screening of cult movies adapted from the works of famous Marathi, Bengali, Malayalam and Indian English authors at the Shakuntalam Convention Centre.

Calling it an engaging move, book fair director Shakti Malik said it would give the fair an extra edge to lure more visitors. He also deliberated upon the idea of translation of foreign books into Indian languages.

‘This year, a two dozen-member delegation from China is participating in the fair and publishers from the neighbouring country will be interested in negotiating translation rights with their Indian counterparts. Translation of books will be beneficial for publishers,’ said Malik.

‘The Chinese publishers will strike deals with Indian publishers on individual basis this year. Language continues to be a barrier as we cannot speak Chinese and they are unable to speak English. I hope the deal is successful,’ added Malik.

Sheikh Mubarak Ali from Pakistan, who has been participating in the book fair for years now, has brought 250 books all the way from Lahore this year. His books disseminate the message of Islam, literature and history. ‘It is always a pleasure to participate in the Delhi Book Fair. Selling books and interacting with curious Indian readers is a wonderful experience. More so because I have also participated in other fairs organised in Agra and Hyderabad,’ he said.

Overdrive, the British distributor of digital e-books, along with W3C India and Digital Media Initiative are amongst the key distributors of digital e-books at the fair.

‘I convinced the CEO of Overdrive to participate in this event by telling him that this is perhaps a rare place where you will get 300 publishers whose books are mostly not converted into e-books. He readily agreed,’ pointed out Malik.

‘While one company will organise a series of seminars on training people on e-publishing and conversion of books, another will showcase conversion of magazines and newspapers into the e-form,’ explained Malik.

With more than 600 stalls this time, the book fair aims at a collaborative effort to make books accessible and affordable to large sections of the society.
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