On mobile bookfairs across the state of Bengal...
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However, we often tend to overlook the state's thriving publishing industry which registers a turnover of not less than Rs 35-40 crore (Rs 350-400 million) every year.
A hefty part of this turnover accrues from sale at the Kolkata Book Fair held under the aegis of the Publishers and Booksellers' Guild in January and February every year. People from all over West Bengal and also from other states throng this annual bonanza of books.
Taking cue from the readers' response, Mitra & Ghosh Publishers Private Ltd, one of the oldest and most prominent publishing houses of the state, has taken the initiative of organising a mobile book fair across West Bengal, starting this month."When we were celebrating our 75th anniversary in March, one of our new directors suggested this idea to us and we just fell for it," Manish Chakraborty, the company's joint managing director, told rediff.com.
"We heard that our founders -- writers Gajendra Kumar Mitra and Sumatha Nath Ghosh used to hawk books across India. When this plan was broached to us, we thought we should go for it.
"For, it would serve many purposes -- it would increase our sale, popularise reading habit among the masses and at the same time it would reinvent the spirit of book canvassing as propagated by our founders."
"We are inviting various publishers, English and Bengali alike, to send their published titles to us. We plan to sell their books as well at the fair.
"We shall be carrying the books in a truck and on reaching our venue, will set up a makeshift stall. For our first fair, we are liaising with municipal bodies, libraries, clubs etc," said Chakraborty.
Sukumar Singh, chief functionary of Mass Education, is all smiles ever since he got the offer to collaborate with Mitra & Ghosh.
"A book fair of this kind will give us an opportunity to spread the message of education among the masses and will also help us do a need-based survey among the population of Bengal," he told rediff.com.
Both Chakraborty and Singh like to dream big. Therefore, the duo plans to carry this mobile book fair to other parts of India by the end of this year.
These mobile book fairs are not enough to satisfy the creative urge of the dynamic duo. They plan to build a book hospital -- first of its kind in India -- to restore and preserve books.
Apart from reinstating and mending old and rare books, the hospital, as per plan, will also conduct workshops and trainings on book binding and book preservation.