The Book Fair as the name suggests is all
about books and the quest for knowledge. It is
held every year in Kolkata in the winter months
of January-February on the sprawling fairground
of the 'Milan Mela Grounds'. Thousands visit the
fair every year to get a hand on their favourite
books. Though books are available across the
state and country, a book fair enables mingling
of cultures and brings about unison and harmony
in society. Such a fair is always an attraction
for book lovers across the globe.
The first book fair was held in the year 1976 and thereafter organized every year. The first book fair had only thirty-five stalls. In subsequent years the numbers of stalls have substantially increased. The fair lasts for nearly two weeks. It is a time of happiness and festivity with the smell of books all around the air. This fair is organized to bring many books, publishers, book lovers, readers etc. under one umbrella and campus. The various stalls enable one to find books on different subjects easily. Books of different publishers and topics are found at the book fair. Hopping from one book stall to the other to collect the favourite book, novel or comic is a fun filled endeavour.
Hopping around for books and finally purchasing some of the desired ones at some attractive discounts. The book fair is organized by publishers under the name of 'Book Sellers and Publishers Guild'. West Bengal is considered to be the seat of wisdom and culture; and the success of the Calcutta (Kolkata) Book Fair substantiates this statement. Throngs of people are seen visiting the Book Fair every year in Kolkata. Some college students and others bring along musical instruments, sit in groups and keep strumming and singing in the open air the whole day long.
There is always a theme pavilion in the Calcutta (Kolkata) Book Fair. There is also a little magazine enclosure which is an important part of the fair. It is a special corner for the budding writers and poets. On the main fairground some artists make instant sketches of visitors on the spot for a nominal fee. The fire brigade is in attendance too. Food stalls are an added attraction.
Thousands of students visit the fair every year. There is an entrance fee too. Concessions are given to school children accompanied by teachers. Publishers offer attractive discounts on books during this period to attract book lovers and to enhance sales of their publications. Seminars and lectures are held from time to time to discuss ways and means to improve book publishing and the utility aspect of book fairs. A remarkable aspect of the fair is that one can see both young and old people including children who very enthusiastically visit stalls and purchase books of their choice. A good amount of books are sold during this time.
The Calcutta (Kolkata) Book Fair has gained immense popularity and success down the years. Book fairs are not only held in Kolkata but all across the country and globe as well. Book fairs held at other places is slowly gaining popularity among the masses. But the book fair at Calcutta still stands out to be the most popular and has opened up new horizons and dimensions.