CHENNAI: The march of technology and e-books don’t seem to have fazed book lovers from flocking to the Pongal book fair on the YMCA grounds, Royapettah. The venue had a milling crowd from all walks of life who had come to buy their favourite books at a discount.
“Lots of people these days have switched to Kindle and other applications, and the number of people coming to book stores has reduced considerably. But when you come to this store you can see an entirely different reality,” said Saranya S, manager, Saran Books.
There were over 500 book stalls at the fair, with distributors from different parts of the state coming forward to participate.
“We mainly work in Coimbatore and Chennai, but also travel to other districts. This is the fourth time we are participating in this fair and have had several loyal customers. I hope it gets better this year,” said V Pandian, Dial for Books store which also offers online service to its customers.
“I have always looked forward to this fair, from classics to literary fiction and spiritual books. You can get everything here at a reasonable price,” said Saranya Sekar, a final year B Com student from a women’s college, who was happily flaunting her newly acquired Satyajit Ray omnibus.
“This has all his short stories. I got it for Rs 200 here. I couldn’t have got a better deal anywhere else,” she said.
Members of the Indian Association for the Blind too have put up their stall which has all the daily equipment needed by the visually challenged.
“We have walking sticks, watches and cell phones for blind people. We are also selling Braille books for civil service examination and other test-related materials. This is most sought after by blind students,” said R Prakash from the organisation.
MY Kalyani, an astrologer, who was visiting the exhibition, said, “I am looking for a pocket-sized Quran as I have a bigger one at home. I love reading and knowing new cultures and religions. I also read the Bible, Guru Granth Sahib and other books apart from my daily Bhagavad Gita. It makes me more human, and care about people,” said Kalyani.
The fair will continue till January 24 and will be open 2 pm to 11 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 11 pm on weekends.