40th Chennai Book Fair: Goes cashless
Right from day one the crowd, particularly the younger generation, swelled at every stall and brought cheers to the publishing community. Almost 1.5 million people attend the fair every year and this year too it appears to be no less..
The Book Sellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI), the organisers, have not left any stone unturned in providing facilities to both customers and sellers. Every stall was adviced to bring thier POS machines. In addition to that, BAPASI arranged 50 POS machines at vantage points to help stall owners who did not have the infrastructure to use such facilities..Morover, cash coupons in denominations of Rs 50, Rs100, Rs 200 and Rs 500 were sold to help customers overcome issues of currency and coins for purchase inside the bookfair. With 700 plus stalls spread over 200,000 sq.ft. at the St George School on Periyar EVR High Road, the fair ground was well connected to every other part of the city. The ‘bapasi’ app launched for the fair was an instant hit with visitors. Floor naviagation proved to be easy and hassle free.. This App also provided details of various daily events that took place at fair, online ticket purchase and so on. Interestingly, Chennai book fair is the only book fair in the country that provides free lunch during the fair days (during holidays) to stall keepers and other support staff numbering almost 1,600.
The new electrographic technology has brought down the printing cost rapidly. This facilitates small quanitity printing, reducing the cost of investment and storing. This techmology paves the way for the emergence of newer writers and publishers. Year after year the number of books increase and the demand for stalls is on the rise. These prove to be a challenge for the Association. One of their demands with the State government is to provide a permanet space to conduct the annual fair.
Chennai Book Fair is not just a place for people to visit and buy books. It is also a cultural extavaganza for Tamils, what with Pongal festivities and holidays coinciding with the fair. Everyday, accalimed writers and speakers participated in discussions and addressed the gathering, providing scope for pollination of ideas and thereby igniting minds. The two auditoriums, the big and small, saw a large number of literary activities that were widely attended.