LAHORE: The 29th Lahore International Book Fair (LIBF) opened on Thursday at the Lahore Expo Centre. Hundreds of book enthusiasts made their way to the centre on the opening day.
The five-day book fair was inaugurated by Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan.
The book fair features 285 stalls. This year, 20 foreign publishers are represented at the fair.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Saleem Malik, the LIBF administrator, said the fair had received immense support from the public and the publishers. “The interest shown by publishers has increased tremendously over the years, which indicates that there is potential for more such book fairs in the country,” he said.
“This year only 20 foreign publishers are taking part in the fair. The number is substantially lower than previous years when 40 to 45 foreign publishers used to take part in the event. Visa issues often pose hurdles in the way of participation of foreign publishers,” he said.
“Publishers from India, US, Germany, Turkey and England have participated this year,” he said.
Malik hoped the government would play a more proactive role in organising such fairs. “We need more government support for such initiatives,” he said.
The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board and the Punjab Information Technology Board have set up their stalls at the fair this year.
At the Children Literature Festival (CLF), around 200 titles of various Indian publishers are on display. Though the books are not for sale, the team at the stall took orders from people who wished to buy the books on display. All editions of the CLF’s children magazine Uran Tashtaree are also available.
Large crowds were seen at the stalls of Allied Book Company and the Multi Line Books which offered text books for students enrolled in various higher education programmes, especially medical books. The stall of Oxford University Press offered various titles including their popular dictionaries, offering 25 per cent discount on the entire range of dictionaries.
Stalls offering discounts saw large crowds. Discounts ranging from 15 per cent to 75 per cent were offered at the Paramount Books stall which featured mostly children’s books. Ferozsons Lahore also offered 25 per cent discount at its books. Readings and Liberty offered 15 per cent discount on their books.
Children showed keen interests in stalls prominently displaying children’s books. The Association for Academic Quality (AFAQ) has offered 25 per cent discount on its books for children.
Their stall also displayed encyclopedias and general knowledge books for children. Kamran Haider of the AFAQ team said encyclopedias were highly sought after.
Books titled Khatta bakra and Daal chaawal ka safr along with the Biloonghra series were prominently displayed at the Bookgroup’s stall. It also featured around 200 titles for children between the ages of five to 11. Talking to The Express Tribune, senior sales executive at the Bookgroup, Rasheed Ali Mir, said their expertise was in publishing books in Urdu, English, Sindhi, Seraiki and Pushto. “We want to promote Urdu and local languages. We need to understand that children read books and stories in their own languages with greater interest and understanding,” he said.
The book fair will continue till February 9.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2015.