In the age of audiobooks, Hyderabad Book Fair a crowd puller

Hyderabad: The 35th Hyderabad Book Fair drew a large crowd on Wednesday, nearly a week after it opened, with people of all ages thronging the NTR Stadium, where the exhibition was inaugurated on December 22.

The book fair attracts approximately 40,000 visitors every day, with the number exceeding a lakh on weekends, demonstrating that, even in the age of podcasts, audiobooks, Kindle, and the like, printed books retain their own allure. With only two days till it closes on January 1, the crowd at the book expo is only getting bigger.

For the first time since its inception, the fair features over 340 book stalls, attracting people of all ages who are braving the winter chill to buy books,

The fair is a bibliophile's delight, with lakhs of books in Telugu, Hindi, Urdu, English, Kannada, and Tamil languages. "I know a few book lovers who came back twice or three times because one day wasn't enough to browse every stall, and choosing between so many themes, authors, and genres is a big task,” Shrutikant Bharati, secretary of the Hyderabad Book Fair, remarked.

From history to poetry, heritage to literature, culture to politics, comics to humour, the books cover a wide range of subjects.

Kanishka Thakur and her friend Priyanjana Ray, who are studying science and business management, had a tough time choosing just enough books to fit their budget. "I picked up Dan Brown, Malala Yousufzai, Amish Tripathi and Jane Austen," said Kanishka, to whom reading is therapeutic and having a real book “alleviates the feelings of the writer against an e-book that produces distraction”.

While buyers visit each of these stalls, many cultural activities, such as slam poetry, dances, vocal performances, and book launches, take place on a stage set in the centre of the fair.

The fair also offers a ‘Writers Hall’ where prolific and aspiring authors may sell their works and engage with their readers. Mercy Margaret, a Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar - 2017 awardee who writes about politics, ideas, social issues, women's issues, and human rights, discussed how the book fair provides a perfect platform for authors like her to reach her audience.

"I rarely get effective feedback from my readers, it was a thrill and a fantastic learning process meeting them in person and hearing how they interpret my work, which is essential to me as a woman writer," she said.

The book fair will be open from 2 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. on weekdays and from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends and holidays until January 1.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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