On any given day there are more book fairs and festivals happening around the world than anyone could keep track of, where readers, authors and publishers congregate, seemingly oblivious to our quaint western notion that, if books aren’t being sold in bookstores or on Amazon then, well, nobody in that country reads.
Take the 8th Bangladesh Book Fair, happening in Kolkata, India, that runs from November 2 through 11.
Organised by the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission the fair features 60-70 Bangladeshi publishing houses that have crossed the border from Bangladesh into Kolkata (some outsiders may better know the city as Calcutta) to showcase their wares.
Very little data about the event is available at this time – I’ll update if anything significant crosses my desk.
Here just to say that this is a small affair compared to the Amar Kushey Boi Mela that takes place in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka every February, for the entire month.
Earlier this year almost $10 million worth of books were sold at the event.
And that will be happening in part simultaneously with the Kolkata International Book Fair in India, which begins January 30 and runs through February 10.
The Kolkata IBF is one of the biggest book fairs in the world, regularly attracting over two million visitors.
As ever, the books sold at events like the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela, the Kolkata International Book Fair and indeed the Bangladesh Book Fair in Kolkata go untracked by the stats counters that count bookstore and online sales.
Meaning that, however big we may be told the international book market is, the true figure will be much higher, and likely growing much faster than we might imagine.
I leave you with this infographic from the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela 2013-18 in Bangladesh, a country few authors and publishers outside the subcontinent will give a second thought to.