“ The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different.” - Mahatma Gandhi


The Kolkata Book Fair


The Kolkata Book Fair (Old name: Calcutta Book Fair in English, and officially Kolkata Boimela or Kolkata Pustakmela in romanized Bengali,

is a winter fair in Kolkata. It is a unique book fair in the sense of not being a trade fair - the book fair is primarily for the general public rather than whole-sale distributors. It is the world's largest non-trade book fair, Asia's largest book fair and the most attended book fair in the world. It is the world's third largest annual conglomeration of books after the Frankfurt Book Fair and the London Book Fair. Many Kolkatans consider the book fair an inherent part of Kolkata, and instances of people visiting the fair every day during its duration is not uncommon. The fair also has a typical fairground experience with a book flavour - with the presence of picnickers, singer-songwriters, and candy floss vendors on the fair premises. With a total footfall of over 2 million people, it is world's largest book fair by attendance.

The success of the Kolkata Book Fair has resulted in many book fairs in smaller cities in West Bengal like Siliguri, and was inspired, in turn, by the first World Book Fair at New Delhi in 1972.


Inception


The book fair was started on a small scale in 1976 by the Kolkata Publishers' and Booksellers' Guild. The book fair was started to meet the growing public demand for books, but a relative lack of bookshops in Even though the country now has several large bookshops like Landmark, Starmark, Crossword Bookstores, and The Oxford Bookstore, beside the book shop district of College Street, the tradition persists and Calcutta Book Fair is growing every year.


Duration


The fair traditionally starts on the last Wednesday of January, and ends on the first or second Sunday of February (to ensure that the duration is always 12 days). It was initially a week-long event but popular demand forced authorities to extend the duration to 12 days in 2005. Even though there is usually an extended holiday in Calcutta during the period of 23 January (Netaji'sbirthday) to 26 January ( Republic Day of India) the fair is held at the beginning of February to overlap with the payday of most Kolkatans.

Venue


Since year 2009, the fair is being held in its new location at "Milan Mela" near Science City on E.M.Bypass. The initial apprehension about reduced attendance at the new site has been proven wrong. Millions had visited the book fair in 2009.