Magazine article American Libraries

An Acquisitions Outing to the Kolkata Book Fair

Magazine article American Libraries

An Acquisitions Outing to the Kolkata Book Fair

Article excerpt

The annual book fair in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India, is, according to Bengali author Krishna Dutta, an occasion where "people meet, eat, buy a bag of books at a discounted price, and return home with a warm and cultured glow." We attended this year's fair, the 30th, in order to purchase books for our libraries' collections and also to experience intense book-buying in a non-Western culture.

The book fair is held for several weeks (this year from January 26 to February 6) outdoors in Kolkata's main park, the Maidan. The more than 600 exhibitors included Indian and international companies as well as government and nonprofit organizations. The publications on display--mainly in English and Bengali--included CDs, DVDs, videotapes, maps, and teaching materials as well as books.

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The night before the fair opened, workmen finished constructing the booths as dignitaries arrived to greet French author Daniel Pennac (Passion Fruit, 2001), keynote speaker and representative of the theme country. The French government set up its own booth, a replica of the Louvre pavilion, and the main entrance to the fair sported a large wooden model of the Eiffel Tower. …

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