"Children may need certain books and stationery items, and young people are usually undeterred by the time and weather when they really want to do something. We are organizing certain other activities to add to the excitement of the fair, and are hoping that the fair takes on the look and feel of a lively and entertaining event." said Mr. D.K Jain, General Manager, ITPO.
Recently, PSS got the opportunity to speak with Mr. D.K Jain, General Manager, ITPO. He is incharge of the very popular and upcoming show DBF 2018 and SF 2018. Here are the few excerpts of the interview.
Q. As an avid reader, and customer, we have been visiting the Delhi Book Fair regularly and have thoroughly enjoyed it. We hope to see even more participation of renowned publishers and Stationery and Office Supplies companies as there seemed to have been some decline in the quality and participation, over a couple of years in the past. What are your thoughts?
Mr. D.K. Jain: The World Book Fair having a larger canvas and international participation has a better appeal for the major publishers. Delhi Book Fair is organised on much smaller size and scale. Nevertheless, Delhi Book Fair because of its better organisational features and timing coinciding with academic session has become very popular and is also attracting major publishers. Initially, World Book Fair was held very alternate year leaving sufficient space and gap for Delhi Book Fair. Now, since World Book Fair has become an annual affair there is some impact on the participation because of this reason. However, as Delhi Book Fair which is a B to C event, is dedicated to publishers mostly from Delhi and NCR and has other events like Stationery Fair, Office Automation Fair and Corporate Gifts Fair concurrently has proved highly successful in drawing crowds from Delhi and NCR region.
The World Book Fair, which is B to B and B to C event is organised in the beginning of the year, which is not very suitable for procurement of books and stationery by the end users i.e. students, academicians, etc. The Delhi Book Fair has been conceptualised as a focused event which provides much needed platform for Delhi and NCR based audiences.
Over the years, the sales for these publishers has been on the decline given the fact that people are losing the reading habit or moving to the digital platforms to read books. All these factors have had an adverse effect and have become a problem. The other major problem is the lack of funds from the government for the Delhi Book Fair. We are sure that this time round you will find a marked improved in the standards given that we have received a good response from the publishers, and the stationery and office supplies firms.
Q. As a consumer, I believe that the organization of the fair and quality of the books are the main criteria to attract crowds. What are your thoughts?
Mr. D.K. Jain: While we do not have control over the content of the books - what we can do is provide a good location and area for the exhibition and the publishing industry, which we have been doing year on year. We are also in discussions with the Federation to bring good publishers, however, if good publishers do not take part, then the fair is affected and then visitors are disappointed – I agree.
We have asked FIP to contact all their publishers to attend and make the fair a resounding success. I am certain that you will see the difference in the Fair this time round, since we have also invited major Stationery and Office Supplies Vendors.
Q. What are the dates for the Delhi Book Fair? Do you think the weather will have any role to play in the attendance of visitors to the fair?
Mr. D.K. Jain: The Fair this year is being held from August 25 to September 2 from 10am to 7.30pm. The publishing industry feels this is the best time for the fair. We believe that the weather would not play a role since avid readers and youngsters are undeterred by these factors. In any case, a large number of visitors use the Metro, which provides great connectivity throughout Delhi and from Gurgaon.
In addition, there are now air-conditioned buses and pool cabs too. The attendance from schools and colleges is expected to be high, and they usually use their own conveyance to ferry students to the venue.
Q. Would it would be better to hold the fair during school and college breaks – your thoughts please.
Mr. D.K. Jain: Organizing the Delhi Book Fair in December, would not be feasible since it would be too close to the World Book Fair event. We want a safe gap since we are partnering even with the World Book Fair we want people to visit both fairs.
Additionally, since the new academic session for schools and colleges would have started, children may need certain books and stationery items, and young people are usually undeterred by the time and weather when they really want to do something.
We are organizing certain other activities to add to the excitement of the fair, and are hoping that the fair takes on the look and feel of a lively and entertaining event.
Q. What other events will be coinciding with the Delhi Book Fair?
Mr. D.K. Jain: There will be events within the fair including stationery, office automation – children will be able to buy some excellent stationery and other items – all things that are connected with books and studying in some way. There will also be a section of corporate gifting, within the stationery and office supplies fair, which would be of interest to the organizations visiting the fair.
The trend may have declined over the past some years, but such fairs are here to stay. We are certain that the relevance and charm of physical books, and bright colorful stationery is unlikely to fade.
The reading habit is returning and we are happy to change with the times and incorporate technology to attract more visitors and top quality publishers and stationers. Amazon visited the fair last year, and may come again this year, as would other major publishers.
Q. What about Entry Fee and which Gates would people be able to access the Fair?
Mr. D.K. Jain: Entry is now FREE to encourage more people to visit. We want people to interact with authors – although it is a bit premature to say which authors would be visiting. Things are shaping well for this year’s fair, and with the space being sold out we can say that the demand for such events is still quite high. Publishers will be visiting, which means that they too are hopeful of getting reasonable business. Entry Gates will be From 1, 8 and the Metro Gate to Gate 10. There will be a shuttle service too – from the entry gates to the main venues.
Q. What other facilities can visitors expect?
Mr. D.K. Jain: There will be water, security, food as always. There is a separate space for cultural activities and we have contacted colleges to organize certain activities, and we too will organize author of the day, best publishers, and more, with whom visitors would be able to interact. The Stationery and Office Supplies and Automation Fair too, is sure to grab attention and draw in the crowds.
Q. How will you ensure that schools and colleges will attend?
Mr. D.K. Jain: We have sent them mailers, and are waiting for the response and are expecting a good response.
Q. Large scale renovation and construction is on – please share the efforts that you have made to ensure that visitors do not face any inconvenience.
Mr. D.K. Jain: To start with there is no dust pollution since the digging of the foundation is completed, and with the rain all the debris and mud has settled down. We are making every effort to keep noise and inconvenience to the visitors to a minimum by ensuring that access points are away from the major construction. The shuttle service would take visitors directly to Exhibition Halls.
Q. What is the aim of the ongoing redevelopment – what will you be adding/ upgrading?
Mr. D.K. Jain: New buildings, new infrastructure, underground parking for 5000 cars, skywalk straight from metro station, beautiful surroundings, more greenery, better food. The new complex will have a state-of-the-art Convention Centre with a seating capacity of about 7000 persons, and the exhibition space will be increased to 1.19sqmtrs (from the current 65,000sqmtrs). A Grade Separator is also under construction at the Mathura Road and Bhairon Road junction, to ease traffic congestion and keep a smooth flow. There will also be direct connectivity from the subway from Mathura Road to Ring Road across to Pragati Maidan. These changes are being orchestrated with our own resources, and no grant from the government. The renovation should be completed by November 2019.