The 10-day annual book festival will commence at the municipal ground near the new bus stand here on January 31.

More than 50 publishing companies and equal number of book selling companies will participate in the expo, a brain child of Collector Darez Ahamed. The exhibition last year netted a sale of about Rs. 98 lakh while Rs. 38-lakh worth books were sold in 2011. This year it has been targeted to sell books worth Rs. 1.05 crore through the exhibition, sources said.

V. Irai Anbu, Director of Anna Institute of Management and Director General of Training, and M. Thirumalai, Vice Chancellor, Tamil University, Thanjavur, will be chief guests at the inaugural function on Tuesday evening. Noted writers, including Ponneelan, Sahitya Akademi awardee and president of the All India Progressive Writers Association, Su. Venkatesan, Sahitya Akademi awardee, S.Tamilselvam, Prof. G. Gnanasambandam, and Parveen Sulthana, Tamil scholars, and Thamira, film director, will participate in programmes at the venue on different days.