In digital age, Shimla Book Fair brings thousands of books close to readers
Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) , May 14 : At the onset of summer tourist season in the northern hill state Himachal Pradesh, the nine-day long Shimla Book Fair today commenced at the historic gaiety theatre in the capital city.Twenty seven stalls have been pitched up by the publishers and book sellers, encompassing around ten thousand books. The fair is fascinating the tourists as well as the locals.
Publishers and other people visiting the book fair are of the opinion that books are the source of knowledge and have great amount of worth associated with them even in the digital age.
The book fair is organised by the National Book Trust in association with Himachal Government's department of language, arts and culture.
Deputy Director of National Book Trust Mohd. Imran Ul Haq told ANI that the trust aims at spreading the love of books at every level.
However, the space crunch is a hurdle for setting up more stalls which eventually limits the number of books displayed.
Professor Pramod Sharma of Himachal Pradesh University said, "Books have their own worth irrespective of plethora of e-books emerging on digital platforms. Moreover, the text available on digital platform originates from the books only."
Book publishers and sellers are enthralled at the lavishing book fair but are also perturbed simultaneously due to the dearth of the space. They expect government to help them to survive in difficult time.
Ram Krishn Mishan's Swami Geeteshanand said, "I believe book fair is an imperative event and responses of people towards book fair in Shimla have always remained positive. But we expect the government to look after the book sector so that the cost price of books is reduced and we can purchase them at subsidized rates."
Book sellers in the book fair are providing slew of books under one roof. One of the book sellers from Delhi, Durgesh, expressed the need to have the organized book fairs continuously and continually.
Another book seller Mahavir Jain said, "Majority of the people visiting the book fair hail from a younger age group. It is interesting that the same youth who happens to go gaga over the kindles and e-books have shown equal inclination towards the hard copies of the books as well. I am attending book fair in Shimla for the third time in a row and response generated from the people has been getting better over the years."
Publishing houses with well established stalls at the book fair are generously giving out five percent more discount to the children.
Akash, a representative of a publishing house in New Delhi said, "The response of the people is really good and besides it is just a beginning. We will generate even greater sales as the book fair progresses and also we have given five percent discount generously to children. Undoubtedly, people still have quite a lot of interest in books and that is pretty evident here at the book fair."
Shimla Book Fair has been eyed upon by both the locals and tourists alike. A sizeable amount of tourists are also among those visiting the book fair.
A tourist from Hyderabad Kishore said, "I am pretty delighted to visit the book fair in Shimla. Books are still important even in the age of technology. Books can never be substituted as they increase the imagination might while social media platform is devoid of this very trait. Also, I assume, that digital platforms are not that much helpful when it comes to increasing the knowledge."
Bibliophiles find it a good step to organize a book fair in Shimla. Former IAS and an avid reader, Lalit said, "The book fair brings books closer to the people. They unite and help develop a bond between the silent pages of the books and the humans."
"In addition to these, such fairs aid in cultivating the reading habit amongst children and youth", Lalit added.