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Stall owners of Ahmedabad book fair cry foul as business hits low

Monday, 12 May 2014 - 7:39pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: dna

Disappointed over low turnout, sluggish business and lack of publicity, several book stall owners at the Amdavad National Book Fair asserted that they won't participate in the fair next year.     

According to stall owner of Bharatiya Kala Prakashan, CP Gautam, he could sell books worth Rs80,000 only. “Except weekends, there was no rush. There was no canvassing either. I will think twice before putting up our stall for the fourth edition in 2015.”

Upset over poor business, another stall owner, Zakraya Mohammed, lamented that they could sell books worth Rs25,000 only during the 7-day fair, which concluded on Wednesday. He refused to put up a stall next year. He had come from Chennai, spent a lot to take part in the fair but suffered huge losses, he said.

Many other stall owners expressed similar views. Owner of Happy Thoughts stall said: “We paid a rent of Rs30,000 for the stall and also sold books worth Rs30,000. It means no profit no loss. Then why would we put up stalls here.”

Blaming the management for not publicising the event, Ravi  Nagpal, stall owner of Student Book Centre, Delhi, said they sold books worth Rs60,000, however, the expenses occurred were Rs1,25,000.  

Maintaining that they will not participate in the fair next time, Madhvi Jain of Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, said: “I came all the way from Delhi, paid Rs60,000 as cost of the stall, yet failed to recover the amount. This was not the scene last year.” She suggested that winters would be appropriate to hold the fair.

Citing the election code of conduct as reason for poor publicity, Sanjay Mittal of Raja Books, Delhi, said: “We are facing a loss of Rs15,000. With no option, we are selling books at a lower price yet people are not coming.” Many city-based stall owners too are planning to avoid putting up stalls in 2015.

However, contrary to views expressed by the stall owners, sources in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), which organised the fair, said: “This is a tactic of the publishers. Every time they say that they won’t come. Still we have been witnessing increase in the number of stalls for last three years. There will be more stalls in 2015 compared to 2014. People have enjoyed these seven days.” According to AMC, around 3.80 lakh people visited the fair.

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