December 12, 2019
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Sumatheendra Nadiq

The NBT chairman is confident that books will survive the multimedia onslaught

Sumatheendra Nadiq
The National Book Trust is organising the Delhi World Book Fair. What is the objective?
To showcase the world of books and make people aware of something exciting, out of the routine.

Any special focus this time?
Asia. There are a series of discussions on globalisation and its impact on Asian publishing.

How will Asian publishing be affected?
There is a fear that Asian languages will be marginalised, what with multinational publishing houses tempting people with glossy books and more people being products of English medium educational institutions.

What do you feel can be done to counter this?
We should switch over to Indian languages for the medium of instruction. Even for higher education.

Are you worried about the increasing price of books?
But incomes have also risen. Also, organisations like the NBT are subsidising books, especially technical books and those in regional languages.

What is the reaction of readers in rural areas?
The response to NBT vans there is even better than in the cities.

Has this fair been a success?
Tremendous sales are being registered. We may double the last fair's sales when there was business worth Rs 20 crore.

Is there a proposal to make the Delhi book fair an annual event?

Are you worried that the reading habit will be dealt a fatal blow by the multimedia onslaught, especially TV and the Internet?
People are still buying books. These are just stories spread by vested interests. Books will hold their own. Decades after TV, books are still popular and in spite of the Internet, they will still be there.

Have book reading and signing sessions by authors helped sales?
It's not a question of sales. A book fair should have a whole series of book-related activities. There should be an opportunity to jostle and interact.

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