Taste for reading has not caught on with people as their social awareness is low. Even educated people, even academicians do not care to read the latest books that appear in the market now and then. It is a sad state of affairs. This age is a technological age and there is much demand for technical and engineering books. It is said that literary books which cater to the taste of the intellectuals and writers do not sell fast like books on engineering and technical subjects. Most of the publishing houses publish novels, short stories and books of essays. The publishing houses which specialize in publishing technical, engineering and medical books are very few.
Book fairs afford us an opportunity to make a selection of the books out of the numerous books published every year.
Students should make it a point to visit a book fair whenever it is organized. In Chennai, a Book Fair is organized annually on the grounds of the Quidde Millet College in Anna Salami near the Spencer building. The Book Fair in 2007 will be held in another venue. A number of publishing concerns in Chennai and some other places set up their bookstalls, small and large. Even publishing concerns in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata have their bookstalls. Publishing concerns like Asia Publishing House, Rapa & Co., Emerald
Publishers, Penguin, Harper-Collins, Aries Books International, Kalaignar Pathippagam, Manimekalai Prasuram, Lifco Books, Earthman Pathippagam, Avanti Pathippagam, Thirumagal Nilayam and a number of other publishers set up bookstalls. Hundreds of visitors throng the bookstalls and buy the books they want.
Some writers and publishers are chosen for the annual awards instituted by the organisers of the fair and they are honoured. It is really an exciting trip around the book fair. The number of bookstalls should be great in number, for, it takes at least one or two hours to go round the various bookstalls and buy the books we want.
Book fairs are intended to create among the people an awareness of the wide variety of books published and to create in them the habit of buying and reading books. Books are indispensable to everyone. Books and magazines make us well-informed about the social and political affairs of the country.
I visited almost all the bookstalls. After seeing a number of novels in Tamil and English I was made to think why can’t I try writing novels? I thought I should start writing short stories and when I attain success as a short story writer I can begin writing novels. Getting novels published is difficult. To be known as a novelist takes a long time. Anyhow after having a look at the titles of so many novels I was inspired to try my hand in writing. I have a flair for writing and I wanted to develop it after a visit to the book fair. From the next day onwards I began writing short stories in Tamil and English. Some of my short stories have been published in some Tamil magazines. I am enthused to write more and more stories and even novels.
I saw in a bookstall mini dictionaries, English-Tamil dictionary, Tamil-English dictionary, Tamil-Hindi dictionary Tamil-Telugu dictionary, Tamil-Bengali dictionary etc. These dictionaries may be helpful to many.
In another bookstall I saw biographies of great men and women like scientists, social reformers, political leaders and writers. It is a truth that reading the biographies of great men and women is a great inspiration to youngsters.
In another bookstall there were engineering and medical books and books on many technical subjects like computer science, electronics etc. The books written by experts in many fields were highly priced. Of course technical books cost much.
In another bookstall which specialized in children’s books I found very interesting and useful books for children. There were textbooks for the primary classes.
Another bookstall had an interesting array of books on English grammar, correct use of English and books of model essays.
Coming round the book fair I found newer and newer varieties of books.
Some with a flair for writing may become writers after visiting the book fairs and reading the books they buy. One of the important things in life is we should go on developing our knowledge. If we are in a closed world at home without reading any book or magazine we are in blissful ignorance. The book fairs are organized to invite the people to visit the bookstalls, buy the books they want and read them.
Book fairs are held in many parts of the world. The Frankfurt Book Fair held in Germany annually, attracts the publishers all over the world. Hundreds of bookstalls are set up. Great writers are invited for the book fair and they are asked to read from their books. The Frankfurt Book Fair has acquired international importance.