The New Delhi World Book Fair: One of my favourite places to be

As I had stated in my previous post, this is one post that had been long pending. I say long pending because I had decided I was gonna do a post on this year’s New Delhi World Book Fair months before it actually happened in February. I think I decided the same time I checked the dates of this year’s fair, which would be sometime in October.

The New Delhi World Book fair, is India’s oldest book fair, and is one of the biggest book fairs in the afro-asian countries. It is organized by the National Book Trust and is honest to god one of my favourite places of Delhi. I have been going to the fair regularly every year for the last 6-7 years I think. I started going there when I was in my bachelors with my other friends, our liking of books making us put up with the kind of throngs only Delhi can produce.

This book fair attracts all sorts of people, the uber rich who are looking for that one really rare collectible, the teachers/book sellers who are looking to stock up their library and collections ( I actually saw one guy walk in with a suitcase this time… no joke), the students attending as part of their school, people who had nothing better to do and decided to check it out, people who like books and will definitely pick up 2-3 books every time they come to this fair (most of my friends come in this category) and of course the mad ones like myself who consider it an insult to the fair if the number of books you buy isn’t in the double digits at least.

This book fair has something for everyone, it has the collectibles and rare books, it has educational and thematic collections that are unparalleled in India, the publications of the major publishing houses from across the world, some with discounts some without and then my favourites, what I call the clearance stalls. The clearance stalls are basically stalls with dirt cheap books. Most of them sell the books at INR 100 or INR 200 for coffee table books while there are some that sell the books for INR 20 or INR 30. Those stalls are my Disney land.

These are primarily the stalls where book keepers are clearing their stocks, making space for new books and getting at least something out of the investment they made on these copies. Here you can find some of the world’s best seller, Daniel Steele, Jeffrey Archer, Nora Roberts, Sydney Sheldon, Jane Austen, Shakespeare and others frequenting these stalls.

Every year, my mother and I decide how much I can spend in these fairs and I try to spend as much as I can in these stalls. I regularly pick up 15-20 books at less than INR 2000 and that keeps my book appetite satisfied for most of the year. This year I picked up 19 for INR 1600, it felt amazing.

I guess, unlike my usual posts, this one doesn’t have a message or purpose behind it. This is one is simply an acknowledgement of one of my favourite places to go to, one place where I feel strength in numbers as a book lover. I guess this is for those who are in the city around mid february any year and would like to experience the city’s culture in a very different fashion and for the bibliophiles out there who would like to be part of one of the largest gathering of like-minded people. If you can, do take out the time next year and visit the New Delhi World Book Fair.

 

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