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kolkata book fair

Kolkata Book Fair

The KOLKATA BOOK FAIR (Old name: Calcutta Book Fair in English, and officially Kolkata Boimela, is a winter fair in Kolkata. It is a unique book fair in the sense of not being a trade fair - the book fair is primarily for the general public rather than whole-sale distributors. It is the world's largest non-trade book fair, Asia's largest book fair and the most attended book fair in the world. It is the world's third largest annual conglomeration of books after the Frankfurt Book Fair and the London Book Fair. Many Kolkatans consider the book fair an inherent part of Kolkata, and instances of people visiting the fair every day during its duration is not uncommon. The fair also has a typical fairground experience with a book flavour - with the presence of picnickers, singer-songwriters, and candy floss vendors on the fair premises. With a total footfall of over 2 million people, it is world's largest book fair by attendance.
The success of the Kolkata Book Fair has resulted in many book fairs in smaller cities in West Bengal like Siliguri, and was inspired, in turn, by the first World Book Fair at New Delhi in 1972.
The popularity of the Kolkata Book Fair was seminal in India being nominated the Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2006, according to the Frankfurt Book Fair organizers. The book fair has been celebrated in theatre, literature, songs and limericks in Kolkata.


Most bookstalls in the book fair keep English and Bengali books. Popular book stalls include Ananda Publishers, Dey's Publishing, Deb Sahitya Kutir, and Mitra Ghosh Publishers,Pratibhas, Punashcha, Sishu Sahitya Samsad, Deep Prakashan, Tuli Kalam, Bhasha o Sahitya, Maondol Book House, Saraswato Library - among Bengali language book shops and Timely Books, Seagull Books, Rupa & Co. , Penguin India, Tata Mcgraw-Hill - among English language book shops.
Virtually all major EUROPEAN scientific publishers or corresponding FRANCHISEES set up shop, including OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, Kluwer and Springer Verlag.
The fair also has diplomatic mission stalls, which typically display and sell books of their country. The BRITISH COUNCIL, UNITED STATES INFORMATION SERVICE, and ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE typically host stalls. The EUROPEAN UNION, BANGLADESH and several LATIN AMERICAN embassies have hosted stalls in the recent years. Due to the present Government of West Bengal being communist, and the Kolkata Publishers' and Booksellers' Guild having a significant communist influence, the CUBAN embassy is usually prominently featured, with Che Guevara posters and t-shirts being commonly sold and worn in the fair.
In 2007 for the first time Romania is included among the participants. Teodora Enache, one of the best jazz artists in Romania, will be as well 'present' through her music.
Most major news media in Calcutta have stalls, including The Statesman, and The Telegraph.
Calcutta institutions, which have their own press or publishing house typically host stalls - including the Indian Museum, Asiatic Society, survey institutes like Zoological Survey of India, Botanical Survey of India, Geological Survey of India, and universities like University of Calcutta, Jadavpur University and Rabindra Bharati University.
Other notable annual stalls include:
· The famous Santiniketan-based used bookseller Subarnarekha
· A stall hosted by the famous Kolkata artist Rathin Mitra, featuring his work. Rathin Mitra is famous for his panoramas of Kolkata
· The food stall of BenFish (Bengal Fisheries) typically attracts more customers than most bookshops
The initial rule that only publishers, and not institutions which just sold or distributed books but did not publish any books, can participate in the fair has been waved in the 2000s. This rule often forced small distributors to bring out a token publication just to be able to participate in the fair.

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