While today was the most fruitful day for most stall holders at World Book Fair 2018, publishers strongly feel that a much could be done for them by the National Book Trust. We wish this feeling is responded next year in a great way

NBT World Book Fair 2018 blog: Day 08 – Saturday 13 January 2018

By Sanjay V Shah

“Lat year, we sold lots of books and had a memorable time. This year things have been just about okay. Our sales are down by at least 50% compared to the last year while expenses have gone up…” Said one publisher who has a block of 6 stalls at the World Book Fair 2018. We were discussing about how things went this year. While most stall holders did tell us similar things, this publisher went one step ahead and said, “The National Book Trust knew well in advance about construction activities going on in a big way in and around Pragati Maidan.

So, they would have either skipped organizing Fair this year, or would have taken precautionary measures and ensured good response to all. That’s not done and that’s has hurt us.” He was absolutely right. Even a chaiwala selling teas during the event told us, “Meri chaai ka selling na, aadha ho gaya hai. Aur toh aur, main kisi bhi stall pe jaata hoon toh ek baat turant samajh mein aa jaati hai ki iss dafaa sabka haal khasta hai.” For Mangrol Multimedia, today was the best day as we had the maximum visitors and that too, of worth. But then, we also had slump days. So slump that we hardly has more than 4 or 5 quality visitors. Last year, even the worst day was 20 times better than that! One cannot blame the NBT alone for this scenario. Yet, a lot could have been done by the organizer as it knew about construction works. These works resulted in one sided movement of visitors instead of circular movement. Then, visitors this year are forced to walk much more as free shuttle bus service is limited. Those who are familiar with Pragati Maidan know it well that its not easy to cover an entire exhibition here walking. So, elders, children as well as those who come with limited time on hand, cannot cover WBF completely even if she or he wished to.
The only participants who must have found this year’s response great should be first timers. At the same time, things have been better for stall holders in few other halls. For, they are placed on the main road that makes every hall easily reachable. For hall 12, except for those entering to the event from Pragati Maidan Metro station, visitors need to have to walk a long way and, reserve
some strength and stamina to move around it. Anyways, for Mangrol Multimedia, Saturday was a great day. We met several writers, translators, publishers as well as got quite a good number of enquiries. We hope that tomorrow, at least till 03.00 pm, we would have a field day. Then, it would be time to wrap up things.

Here are few suggestions we wish to make to NBT for the next year’s WBF:

  • Please make sure that any construction work or other things do not affect stall holders’ business and networking prospects.
  • Reduce stall rents for Indian language stall holders and provide them the best hall, probably the one which is located close to the gate one of Pragati Maidan.
  • Organize contests and quizzes that could assure visitors involvement.
  • Publicize WBF effectively, especially keeping Indian languages in mind.
  • Provide free wi-fi to stall holders. If not, charge reasonably and that too clubbing charges with stall rents.
  • Food options have gone from bad to worse this year. This must be addressed keeping in mind that it’s an international book fair. Rates for food items should also be kept affordable.

Hope we would have excellent World Book Fair 2019.

By the way, if you have not visited Mangrol Multimedia stall at WBF 2018 yet, please do visit. We would be happy to welcome you. We are here: Hall 12, stall 12.

(Sanjay V Shah is Founder-CEO of Mangrol Multimedia)