‘Reading alive despite challenges from technology’

Bhubaneswar: Passion for reading is very much alive among people despite challenges from technology as book fairs provide an ideal forum for enrichment of readers as well as writers, said noted children’s writer Ramendra Kumar.

The common notion that reading habit among people, mainly youngsters, is declining is completely wrong since the passion for reading is deeply ingrained in book lovers, he said citing his own experiences in book fairs, literary meets and exhibitions.

Popularly known as Ramen, Kumar, while narrating his experience at the recent New Delhi Book Fair, also rejected suggestions that demonetisation had affected book sales.

Kumar, who works as chief of communications at the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) in Odisha, said, the organisers of the National Book Trust had invited him to the book fair, held earlier this month, to conduct story telling sessions for two days at the children’s pavilion.

“The large footfall and the brisk sale of books at the event clearly disproved the theory about the adverse effect of demonetisation,” Kumar said.

“They also seemed to prove wrong the Cassandras who are predicting the decline and fall of reading habit,” said the author, who was the only children’s writer from Odisha at the fair.

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Describing New Delhi World Book Fair as the biggest such event in Asia, he said, it offers an “awesome opportunity to readers, writers, editors and publishers to get on a common platform and enrich each other through exchange of ideas and experiences.”

Noting that the children’s pavilion was the most happening section at the Fair, Ramen said youngsters from international and government schools, and from institutions for differently-abled kids participated in the sessions.