To celebrate the joy of reading physical books, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation brings us the 8thAmdavad National Book Fair. From books on nature and science to rare collections and second hands to children’s books and many, many others in your wish list, find them all here at very low prices.
The Ahmedabad National Bookfair is in its 8th edition and it is back to connect the Amdavadis to the vast realm of literature. With no linguistic and genre boundaries, the Amdavad National Book Fair is the place where you have the highest chance of finding the books you have been looking forward to reading for ages. And as the year marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the fair is dedicated to him.
November 14th was the first day of the fair. The Book Fair adorns the beautiful Riverfront with an intellectual vibe and, speaking from personal experience, it’s really hard to walk out from this colossal of books without buying yourself a book. I ended up getting five books for myself and they were exactly the ones I had been searching for, for years.
When you enter the fair area, you’ll see it divided into three sections—the first is where the food stalls can be found serving mouth-watering snacks and refreshing drinks. It is advisable to fill yourself up before you begin your adventure of finding your favourite books from thousands of them.
The central area has the main stage where performances take place every evening. For instance, Chintan Pandya and the group of Fanatikadid a dramatic reading called Rashmirathee on November 15th.
At the end of the premises is a gigantic tent where the actual book fair has been set up. The castle-like-tent is filled with 167 stalls that are put up by publishing companies, local libraries, religious groups and you can also find certain personal stalls selling their private collections.
These stalls have collections of books in various languages and within different genres. From children’s books to some of the rarest literary treasures, you can find them all in the price bracket of Rs. 100 – 200!
You can also find stalls that sell science projects and exclusive ones for globes and maps. Astall with magic supplies for kids and another with different insects displayed in small globe-like aquariums were the most unexpected ones that I stumbled upon.
While talking to some of the sellers, I was sad to find that even with such marvellous collections, they haven’t been able to sell too much. Chirag, a handler at Nav Bharat Sahitya Mandir’s stall, said:
“It’s nice to see these many people but still our sales are less compared to previous year’s. The main competitions we have are the new and upcoming mediums for reading. People prefer e-books and kindles over physical books now.”
It is a little disheartening that such a great tradition of reading physical books is treated with little interest and is reducing gradually. Unlike in the digital mediums, there is a certain joy in reading physical books which is irreplaceable. There is an excitement in leaving personal notes in them, or finding old ones from second-hand books picked up at such fairs. Then there are the rare books that one can find only in a fair like this, which otherwise cost thousands of rupees online on Amazon/Flipkart but can be reasonably bought here. I stumbled upon books on art history, treasured books on paintings by Monet, a book like The Enduring Image, which carries a photographic collection of all the artefacts from the British Museum. Under general circumstance, such books cost nothing less than 2000-3000 rupees. But imagine having walked through the British Museum in just 700 bucks? That is all that they cost at Amdavad National Book Fair. And then to have suddenly been surprised by a note passed on by the previous possessor of the book, a fellow visitor to the Museum is a treat.
Wouldn’t you want to keep the tradition alive and visit the Amdavad National Book Fair? Get yourselves beautifully illustrated books or those from the rare book collections or just a personal copy of the book you had been wanting to really, really read.
The fair continues till November 23, 10:00 p.m.
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