Delhi Book Fair to mull on eroding reading habits
The 19th edition of the Delhi Book Fair (DBF) Aug 23-31 will see deliberations on the role of libraries as the habit of reading is being eroded.

"Good libraries were once considered treasures of society. They were part of us, but today reading habits of people are going down. We wanted to raise this issue and so we decided to make it the theme of our fair," Ashok Gupta, general secretary of event organiser Federation of Indian Publishers said.

"The aim is to develop neighbourhood libraries. If people work in tandem, it is possible to start from the local area and have small library set-ups," he said.

The DBF will witness participation of over 500 publishing houses from around India and abroad and will take place at Pragati Maidan.

Through conferences and seminars, book launches, discussions, literary activities for children and other activities, the general public will have access to all new releases and also the possibility of meeting their favourite authors.

Though Gupta admitted that the publishing industry across the world has seen a sea-change with the growing popularity of e-books, he held that traditional books continue to have great demand in India. Besides, the low literacy rate and the poor penetration of technology impeded the spread of e-books.

"In the west, e-books are the future. But in India, e-books will take time to get established because of low literacy rates and accessibility of technological devices," he said.

"There are many people out there who are reading from books because they can`t afford a computer or don`t have access to the latest technology," he said.