NBT book fair, organised in association with district administration and Rotary Club of Tiruchi, inaugurated

National Book Trust (NBT) would open book promotion centres in all States and Union Territories across the country during the XII Plan period, said M.A.Sikandar, Director, NBT, here on Friday. The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development had already written to the States and the Union Territories on the issue. The States and the Union Territories would provide the space for the centres. In Chennai, where NBT already has some space, the centre would be opened in the next three months.

The centres would have space for organising literary meetings, book shops for the publications of NBT, the Central government, and other publishers. The move was part of NBT’s attempt to re-position itself to focus on promoting reading habit among the people, especially youth, he said on the sidelines of the inauguration of NBT book fair, organised in association with the district administration and Rotary Club of Tiruchi, in the city. This is the first time that NBT has directly organised a book fair in the city.

Mr.Sikandar disclosed that NBT has planned to foray into e-book publication with about 500 of its titles to be available in the format by February. The e-books would not only be in English and Hindi but also in other languages. However, he clarified that the move was mainly intended to cater to the demands of Indian Diaspora and tech-savvy youth.

Asked about the possibility of NBT making the book fair an annual affair in the city, Mr.Sikandar said the Trust had the responsibility of organising book fairs across the country. However, it would be willing to extend financial assistance to voluntary organisations for conducting book fairs. Collector Jayashree Muralidharan, who inaugurated the book fair earlier, commended NBT’s initiative to organise a book fair on a large scale in the city. With the Internet and visual media holding sway among youngsters, it was important to promote the reading habit among them. “Reading books is the best way to acquire knowledge. If you begin to love reading, you will never stop,” she told the youth and children among the audience.

Mr.Sikandar said the book fair was not intended to be a commercial venture to generate revenue but to encourage people to read books, especially children.

M.Thirumalai, Vice Chancellor, Tamil University, Thanjavur, Su.Venkatesan, writer, R.S.Shanmugam, president, The Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India, and Mohammed Hussain, president, Rotary Club of Tiruchi, spoke.

The book fair at St.John’s Vestry Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School grounds is open between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. till October 14.