Chennai Book Fair

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Chennai Book Fair
Book fair-Tamil Nadu-35th-Chennai-january-2012-PATH 1- part 6.JPG
The Book Fair Entrance
Status Active
Venue Y. M. C. A Ground
Location(s) Nandanam, Chennai
Country India
Inaugurated December 14, 1977
Attendance 600,000 in 2007

Chennai Book Fair or Madras Book Fair is an annual book fair organized in the Chennai, India by the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI). The fair typically lasts for about two weeks during the New Year-Pongal season. The fair is usually held between the last week of December and the third week of January.[1] In 2016, following the 2015 South Indian floods, for the first time, the book fair was rescheduled to be held in March–April. Instead, an alternate low-key Pongal Book Fair was held between January 13 and 24 for book lovers and tourists. The fair has been organized June 2-13 at Island Grounds, Chennai and is open weekdays from 2p-9p and from 11a-9p on holidays.

The Chennai Book Fair is the second largest book fair in the country.[2] All major Tamil and English publishing houses participate in this fair. The 2015 fair had over 700 stalls representing most major publishing companies in India and was held between January 9 and January 25, 2015.

The Chennai Book Fair is considered to an important event in the Chennai cultural calendar along with the Chennai music season.


The First Madras Book Fair was organized in Madras between December 14 and December 24, 1977, by The Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India(BAPASI), an association of major publishing companies of Tamil Nadu.[3][4][5] The first Madras Book Fair had 22 stalls and was held at the Madrasa-i-Azam school due to the initiative of K. V. Mathew of B. I. Publications.[5] He is also credited with planning and organisation of the next five editions of the fair.[5] Mr. Mathew has also organized an annual book fair for students.[5] The Student Book Fair, however, hasn't been as successful as the Chennai Book Fair.[5]

The book fairs gradually rose in popularity. At the 12th Madras Book Fair held between December 22, 1989, and January 1, 1990, Tamil translations of WHO publications were put on sale.[6] The success of the Chennai Book Fair prompted BAPASI to start similar book fairs at Udagamandalam, Thiruvananthapuram, Pondicherry and Tiruchirapalli.

The 24th Chennai Book Fair experienced a spurt in the number of Tamil language publishers. Of the 180 publication houses who participated in the book fair, 80 were Tamil publication houses, a remarkable increase since the 23rd fair in which there was only one stall devoted to Tamil publications.[7] The book fair celebrated its silver jubilee in 2002 coinciding with the 50th anniversary celebrations of BAPASI. The fair was held for 15 days instead of the usual 11-day affair.[8] In 2007, due to traffic congestion and the need for more space for the stalls,[9] the venue for the annual book fair was changed from Quaid-e-Milleth Women's College to St. George' School in Kilpauk.[10] In the 32nd edition held in 2009, the number of visitors crossed the one-million mark. In 2013, due to construction work on the Chennai Metro, the venue of the book fair was shifted to the Y. M. C. A. grounds in Nandanam.

The early editions were held in the last weeks of December and ended in the first week of January in order to coincide with the Christmas-New Year holidays. However, in the late nineties, the fair was moved to mid-January to coincide with the Pongal festive season.

Year Edition Venue Area Number of stalls Participants Visitors Days held Revenue
1976 1 Madrasa-I-Azam school 22
2001 24 Quaid-e-Milleth Women's College 180 11 days
2002 25 Quaid-e-Milleth Women's College 15 days
2003 26 Quaid-e-Milleth Women's College 272 300,000 9–19 January (11 days) 60 million
2004 27 Quaid-e-Milleth Women's College 310 200 540,000 9–19 January (11 days)
2005 28 Quaid-e-Milleth Women's College 700,000 7–17 January (11 days)

60 million

2006 29 Quaid-e-Milleth Women's College 375 6–16 January (11 days)
2007 30 St George's Anglo-Indian School, Kilpauk 474 600,000
2008 31 St George's Anglo-Indian School, Kilpauk 700,000
2009 32 St George's Anglo-Indian School, Kilpauk Over 600 Over 1,000,000 8–17 January (10 days) 70 million
2011 34 St George's Anglo-Indian School, Kilpauk 150,000 sq ft 646
2012 35 St George's Anglo-Indian School, Kilpauk 100,000 sq ft 687 5–17 January (13 days)
2013 36 YMCA Physical Education College Ground, Nandanam 180,000 sq ft 746 450 900,000 11–23 January (13 days) 120 million[11]
2014 37 YMCA Physical Education College Ground, Nandanam 200,000 sq ft 777 10–22 January (13 days)
2015 38 YMCA Physical Education College Ground, Nandanam 200,000 sq ft 700 9–21 January (13 days)

32nd Chennai Book Fair, 2009[edit]

35th Chennai Book Fair, 2012

The 32nd Chennai Book Fair was inaugurated at St George's Anglo-Indian School, Poonamallee High Road, Chennai, by former President of India Abdul Kalam on January 8, 2009.[4][12] and lasted ten days.[13] The 2009 edition had over 600 stalls[14] and was attended by over one million people,[13] amongst whom were Chennai historian S. Muthiah, businessman Nalli Kuppuswami Chetti and Gnani.[14] Second-hand pavement shops outside the fair also did a good business.[15] Book publishers made a cumulative sale of approximately 70 million.[13]

34th Book Fair[edit]

The 14-day fair was held at St. George's Anglo Indian School on Poonamallee High Road. The fair included 646 stalls, spread over 1.5 lakh sq.ft. Over 1 million titles were on sale. Book publishers from New Delhi, Agra, Hyderabad, Bangalore and various parts of Tamil Nadu participated in the fair.


The first four editions of the book fair were held in the Madrasa-i-Azam school. In 1981, the book fair moved to the YMCA grounds in Royapettah, Chennai. The 1982 edition was organized at the Woodlands Drive-In restaurant. The book fair was subsequently moved to the Quaid-e-Milleth Government Arts College for Women in the late 1980s. The Quaid-e-Milleth Government Arts College for Women remained the venue of the book fair till 2007, when the venue was shifted to St. George Anglo-Indian High Secondary School on the Poonamallee High Road due to space and parking constraints.


The Chennai Book Fair is considered to be one of the biggest events in the Chennai cultural calendar along with the Chennai music season.[16] In addition to book stalls, there are food and refreshment stalls to serve the needs of hungry visitors. Regular debates, contests and speeches are held at the venue. In recent times, movie clippings of films of international renown are filmed at the venue of the fair. Annual awards to the best writer and the best publisher are given at the fair.[17]

36th Book Fair[edit]

36th Chennai Book Fair was held between January 11 and 23, 2013, at YMCA Physical Education College Ground, Nandanam due to the construction of CMRL (Chennai Metro Rail) at E.V.R Periyar Salai. It had 747 stalls in a 180,000-square-foot area, with 450 participants and 1 million titles.[18][19]


  1. ^ Kamath, Rina (2000). Chennai. Orient Blackswan. p. 105. ISBN 8125013784, ISBN 978-81-250-1378-5. 
  2. ^ "Chennai Book Fair from 9 Jan 2015". News Today. 
  3. ^ "25th Chennai Book Fair 2002". World Health Organization. 
  4. ^ a b "Films, fun and contests for kids at annual book fair". Times of India. January 7, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Muthiah, S. (November 8, 2004). "60 years midst books". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 
  6. ^ "Health Literature and Literary Services" (PDF). WHO repository. World Health Organization. p. 5. 
  7. ^ "80 Tamil publishers participate in Chennai Book Fair". The Hindu. January 7, 2001. 
  8. ^ Kannan, Ramya (January 5, 2002). "Time to mark your books". The Hindu. 
  9. ^ "Chennai Book Fair has new venue". The Hindu. January 4, 2007. 
  10. ^ Malarvizhi, J. (December 12, 2006). "Venue of annual book fair changed". The Hindu. 
  11. ^ "Book fair ends after stupendous sales". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 24 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "Kalam to inaugurate Chennai Book Fair on Thursday". The Hindu. Chennai, India. January 6, 2009. 
  13. ^ a b c Sujatha, R.; K. Laskhmi (January 19, 2009). "Fair crowds, well! books still need more readers city pulse". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 
  14. ^ a b "600 stalls present a sea of books to pick and cherish". The Hindu. Chennai, India. January 9, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Nothing stalls pavement sales". The Hindu. Chennai, India. January 20, 2009. 
  16. ^ Krishnamachari, Suganthy (January 17, 2002). "Volumes of wisdom and fun too". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 
  17. ^ "Book extravaganza kicks off". The Hindu. Chennai, India. January 8, 2005. 
  18. ^ BAPASI release
  19. ^ "Book fair expected to draw 10 lakh visitors". The Hindu. Chennai: The Hindu. 10 January 2013. Retrieved 10 Jan 2013. 

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