Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why Fair is Foul in Kolkata

When the lights went out for two hours on a peak Saturday evening, the International Kolkata Book Fair reached the nadir of its 34-year existence. Three days into the fair and little was in place, not even a back-up lighting plan. Leading up to the fair, booksellers had complained about cramped space, creaking infrastructure and dust in the air, but even when the fair opened on January 27, many of the stalls weren’t ready.

In what has become typical of West Bengal, another of Kolkata’s big-ticket events was being allowed to diminish year-on-year. Once it was the largest retailer book fair in Asia; very soon international publishers will shun it. In fact, many top publishers, having checked out the fair last year, excused themselves quietly this year. Hachette India, HarperCollins, Random House and Kolkata-based Seagull, to name a few, were prominent absentees.

Full report here Indian Express

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