The 30th Kolkata Book Fair got underway in the City of Joy on the Republic Day at the city's Maidan. The fair, which records 13 to 14 lakh visitors every year, will be on till February 6.
This year, the fair houses about 600 stalls, including more than 20 pavilions.
According to the Publishers and Booksellers' Guild, official organiser of the event, "Kolkata Book Fair 2005 is of special significance as it is technically updated and is remodelled to keep pace with international standards."
Incidentally, the Kolkata Book Fair is ranked at par with its foreign counterpart -- World Book Fair, Frankfurt on the world calender.
Says Sabitendranath Roy, former president of the guild, "In certain respect, the fair is superior to its Frankfurt cousin. Each year, it hosts a number of intellectual and cultural events at Monmarte, an open forum for performing artists. Nowhere else will you get such an enriched milieu of creative hearts."
For the first time in the fair's history, three big players of the publishing industry -- Ananda Publishers, Mitra & Ghosh and Dey's Publishing -- have set-up their stalls adjacent to each other.
This is causing small and medium publishers some concern as they feel the three crowd pullers will tell upon the distribution of buyers in the fair.
France being the theme of this year's fair, French writer and critic Daniel Pinnac inaugurated the event.
He shared the dais with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya. While the latter hailed Kolkatans' love for the printed word, Pennac's words, 'Let's celebrate the power of words', set the right tone for the event.