Better infrastructure, well managed, well planned show – the upcoming New Delhi World Book Fair 2018 will truly be a world-class expo. Here, Baldeo Bhai Sharma, chairman, National Book Trust (NBT), India, shares more about this book extravaganza in conversation with Varsha Verma. New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF) held for the past 45 years, is now a major calendar event in the publishing world. NDWBF 2018 will be held from January 6-14, 2018 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Organized by National Book Trust, India, an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, the show is co-organised by India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), under the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India.

Baldeo Bhai Sharma, chairman, National Book Trust (NBT), IndiaToday Indian publishing stands poised at a significant crossroad towards the path of growth. NDWBF offers the participants a unique opportunity of doing business with this growing book industry. It is also an ideal venue for promoting titles, co-publication arrangements and trade. Besides the many literary and publishing conferences and programmes to be organized during the fair, it also opens up a gateway to the publishing and intellectual world of South Asia. The fair attracts participation from major publishing houses of the globe. Cultural events also form an integral part of the fair.

Guest of honour – European Union

“Instead of having just one country as guest of honour, we have European Union, which represents 27 countries, which will be the Guest of honour at NDWBF 2018. There will be a delegation from these countries,” shares Sharma.

Theme of NDWBF 2018: Environment

“There is a need for awareness about environment and its protection amongst the youth of today. India is a country which has always given a message to conserve environment, right from the ancient times. At NDWBF 2018, there will be specially curated panels and exhibition on environment, how modernisation has created the problem of pollution and how can we conserve our environment. This will spread a positive message amongst not just our youth but also the foreigners visiting or exhibiting at the show,” he says.

Foreign participation…

On asking about the foreign participation at the fair, Sharma shares that besides the participation from 27 countries from European Union, there will be exhibitors from 20-22 more foreign countries.

Better infrastructure…

Even though Pragati Maidan is under renovation, all efforts are being made to make NDWBF experience better than the last. “There will be big hangars besides the halls and it will be an integrated fair. ITPO has assured that they will provide world-class facilities for the fair,” shares Sharma.

Teamwork wins…

“We are proud to say that NBT, India team successfully organises and manages the NDWBF efficiently, without any event management agency. They work day and night to make this event a great success,” he adds.

Sharma also credits publishers and media for making this event a big success. “Publishers participate in a big way in the show and media has always been kind to spread our message across all,” he adds.

Bookings open…

The bookings for NDWBF 2018 have opened and as per Sharma, 300 stalls were booked on the first day itself, which shows the enthusiasm and support from the publishers to make this event a success.

On NBT, India…

This year marks 60 years of existence of National Book Trust, India and Sharma shares that they will continue to work towards promotion of book culture with more vigour.

“We have taken a few new initiatives to promote book culture in faraway places in the country under our campaign “Har haath, ek kitab” (one book in every hand). For this, NBT, India has tied up with Snapdeal Sunshine, a CSR initiative run by Snapdeal. The campaign is a nationwide online books donation drive especially targeting underprivileged children, and aims at inculcating a reading habit among them. As a part of the campaign, Snapdeal will encourage its customers to buy and donate books published by the National Book Trust India. People can choose to donate anywhere between 10 to 2000 books by simply visiting https://www.snapdeal.com/offers/har-haath-ek-kitaab and clicking on the donation plan one prefers. NBT dispatchs books to NGOs across India working towards educating India's underprivileged children including Teach for India, Goonj, Bhumi, Aarti, Idea, Impact, 17000 ft, Books For All, Turnstone Global, Guzarish, Educate Girls, PYDS, Pratham, VimuktiSansthan, Deepalaya, Shikshanandan and the Indian Dreams Foundation,” shares Sharma proudly. “We have already dispatched books worth Rs 1.25 lakh under this campaign.”

Talking more about new initiatives, Sharma shares that for the first time, NBT, India published first book in Sanskrit language. “We also organised NBT Rashtriya Sanskrit Pustak Mela in Varanasi, where publishers showcased books in Sanskrit as well as in other languages,” he adds.

To bring more and more people of rural areas closer to books, NBT is also planning to organise National Panchayat Book Fairs by involving Panchayati Raj institutions, the first one will be held in Srinagar, Uttarakhand.

“Another new initiative is Rashtriya Bal Pustak Mela in Pune, where there will be a two-days seminar on what kind of books should be developed for children to inculcate reading habits among them,” tells Sharma.

In order to encourage young women writers below forty years, NBT has launched Mahila Lekhan Protsahan Yojna, under which NBT would publish original and unpublished works of young writers. Besides, NBT has added several new series in its publishing profile including Women Pioneers series, Veergatha series and Navalekhanmala.

As another first, NBT has also conducted book publishing courses for girl students under skill development programme, the first one was held at Aditi College.

With so much in store, NBT, India is indeed doing a commendable job in the field of book promotion and inculcating reading habits. Kudos to the NBT, India Team!



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