The 14th Nepal Education and Book Fair kicked off last Friday at Bhrikuti Mandap. The 10-day fair houses 75 stalls put out by publishers, booksellers and education related organisations. The result is a one-stop shop for a whole range of literature, sure to appeal to everyone. What's more, there are discounts and deals available.
It's not just a family affair. Along with local stalwarts such as Ekta, Educational Book House, Mandala Book Store and Ratna Pustak Bhandar, international publishing houses such as Sage, Rupa & Co. and Penguin have also put up shop. There are also a fair number of stalls run by colleges and educational consultancies.
In addition to the book exhibition, events such as book launches, signings, readings, interaction programs, quizzes and workshops have been organised everyday. Friday will showcase the book launch of Mangaliko Adhuro Ka, a collection of children's stories by Khagendra Sangraula, followed by a dramatic presentation by Actor's Studio.
"This year's book fair is more interactive," says Chettri, "and we think it has helped attract additional visitors."
However, some exhibitors feel that if promotion of the book fair and the events had been more extensive, many more people would have showed up. For those who haven't made it down to Exhibition Road yet, the great minds of the world are just waiting to be picked up.
Nepali readsKhagendra Bhattarai of Pairavi Prakashan says, "There has been an increase in readers of Nepali books as well as writers." Jhamak Ghimire's Jiwan Kada ki Phul, Tara Rai's Chapamar Yuwati ko Diary, Devendra Bhattarai's Registan Diary, Hari Bhaka Katuwal's Yo Jindagi Khai Ke Jindagi, Narayan Wagle's Mayur Times and Yug Pathak's Urgen Ko Ghoda have been listed as the most popular buys. But older favourites such as Laxmi Prasad Devkota and BP Koirala still have a loyal readership.
Books like A Journey to Kathmandu by Laurence Oliphant and Maoist in the House by Tom McCaughey have been picked up at least in part because of their familiar sounding title. But there are also a handful of Nepali writers who write in English. "There have many inquires about Nepali writers who have English publications," says Raman Raut of Educational Book House. Manjushree Thapa's Seasons of Flight as well as her earlier publications, Samrat Upadhayay's recently launched Buddha's Orphans and Narayan Wagle's Palpasa Café have received an encouraging response at the fair.
Young readers have boosted sales for international authors, and no surprise, the Twilight series is very popular. Nicholas Sparks, Sidney Sheldon, Chetan Bhagat, Paulo Coelho and Cecelia Ahern are bestsellers, and the olden goldies are making deals to go home with readers.
Nepalis like their reading plenty serious too. Fatima Bhutto's Songs of Blood and Sword, The End of Poverty by Jeffery Sachs, and Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt are doing well. Nepali readers also have a taste for autobiographies and self-help books.
"Parents need to encourage reading habits in their children, and not limit them to coursebooks," says Suvani Singh of Quixote's Cove. They have brought in children's books from international publishers Scholastic, Usborne, and Tick Tock, and the kids are loving it.
The 14th Nepal Education and Book Fair will conclude this Saturday