When you hear the word “fair”, you are most likely imagining countless shopping arcades and the incessant noise that comes from them. Let’s mentally exchange agricultural products for books. The noise is diversified by several foreign languages. We centralize all this intellectual “madness” in the Russian capital – and we get the Moscow International Book Fair. The correspondent of “MK” visited the opening of the exhibition and learned the name of the winner of the national prize “Book of the Year”.
If it seems to you that people have stopped reading and the printed book has long ago given way to its electronic rival, take a look at Pavilion 75 of VDNKh this week. I think a cursory glance at a kilometer ornate line will be enough to be convinced of the opposite. Can’t you just go to a bookstore or library, you ask. Why stand under the scorching sun? I confess I asked myself the same question.
The scale of the event is already felt at the entrance. Metal detectors, turnstiles, security guards in white seals. The girl at the entrance kindly hands over the exhibition card. I ask:
– I can’t figure it out without her?
– Nobody understood yet, – laughs.
More than 300 publishing houses from 25 countries of the world are preparing to acquaint visitors of the exhibition with their products. And when I talk about products, I don’t mean just books. Book publishers from Syria brought handmade rugs for ritual prayers, painted scarves will be presented to customers by a small Tula publishing house, and the online e-book store “Liters” will invite guests to try themselves as the “voice of the book”. Anyone can go to a specially equipped recording studio and read one of the suggested excerpts. The best voice according to the results of the competition will receive a contract with “Liters”.
The fair is about to open to visitors. Combat readiness behind the stands. On an impromptu stage, representatives of each publishing delegation await the official launch announcement. The head of Rospechat Mikhail Seslavinsky approaches the microphone:
– Friends, I am glad to welcome everyone to the traditional exhibition of book industry achievements! I will say a few words about the bad. We have summed up the results of the first half of the year – they are not easy. Printing decreased by 3% by title and by 15% by circulation. We hope for a change for the better.
The permanent leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennady Zyuganov, rises on the stage to the persistent applause of the present party members.
– For me there are two holidays in September: the holiday of books and the holiday of flowers. Both at VDNKh. I will be on each one. I would like to thank you for the children’s literature. I have 8 grandchildren, so I follow it very much. And for my part, I want to say that Yurkin and I (V.F. Yurkin – General Director of the Molodaya Gvardia publishing house. – “MK”) this morning we agreed to release a book about Kobzon. He was a great singer.
– Long live human thoughts! Long live knowledge! Long live the book! MIBF is declared open! – summed up Seslavsky.
With these words, the doors are thrown open for visitors. The pavilion is filled with people. Guests quickly disperse to familiar publishers. Children drag their parents to the master class hall. Students rush to chat with members of foreign delegations. Unrecognized poets take manuscripts out of their backpacks and begin a procession of the cross through the publishing houses. The fair takes on colors.
While VDNKh is shrouded in book fog, the Na Strastnoy Theater Center is preparing to announce the winner of the annual national competition “Book of the Year”. More than 500 publications from more than 120 publishers participated in the selection. The winner was, perhaps, the most fundamental work – the Great Russian Encyclopedia in 35 volumes, edited by S.L. Kravets.