The National Book Trust (NBT), India is an apex body established by the Government of India (Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development) in the year 1957. The objectives of the NBT are to produce and encourage the production of good literature in English, Hindi and other Indian languages and to make such literature available at moderate prices to the public and to bring out book catalogues, arrange book fairs/exhibitions and seminars and take all necessary steps to make the people book minded.
In furtherance to the above objectives, NBT is mandated to publish (a) the classical literature of India (b) outstanding works of Indian authors in Indian languages and their translation from one Indian language to another (c) translation of outstanding books from foreign languages and (d) outstanding books of modern knowledge for popular diffusion. The major activities of NBT include publishing of non- textbooks, organizing Book Fairs, Book Exhibitions, conducting literary events, activities for children, training in publishing throughout the country, participating in International Book Fairs to promote Indian literature, providing financial assistance to NGOs, Authors or Publishers’ bodies to organize various book promotional activities to encourage promotion of books and reading.
The NBT publishes general books which include works of fiction, books on social sciences, medical science and cutting edge technology for all segments of society and for all age-groups. The NBT also publishes a wide variety of books for children and post -literacy reading material for new-literates. Moderately priced, NBT publishes books under different series in English and in all major Indian languages of India, viz. Hindi, Asamiya, Bangla, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Bhojpuri, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. In addition, NBT also publishes select books for children in Bhili, Gondi, Santhali and some north-eastern languages, such as Ao Naga, Bhutia, Boro, Garo, Khasi, Kokborok, Lepcha, Lirnboo, Mising, Mizo and Newari. NBT pays special attention to those genres which are not adequately covered by other publishers. These relate to books on science &technology, environment, the land and people of India, and the books in Braille; designed especially for the general reader
PROMOTION OF BOOKS AND READING
NBT plays an important role in promoting books and the habit of reading by organizing book fairs and exhibitions throughout the country since the last five decades. As the nodal body for the promotion of books both in India and abroad, NBT:
- Organises book fairs/exhibitions throughout the country at various levels. NBT has so far oganized 23 World Book Fairs in New Delhi, and nearly 400 State level book fairs and festivals.
- Participates in major international book fairs annually and showcases books from India.
- Makes books available at the doorsteps of the people through mobile exhibitions and on-line sales through its website.
- Has enrolled more than 80,000 Book Club Members throughout the country.
- Provides financial assistance to authors and publishers.
- Organises seminars and workshops.
- Organises special book fairs and literary programmes in the north-east to promote books and book reading in the region.
NEW DELHI WORLD BOOK FAIR
The NBT organizes the annual New Delhi World Book Fair, which is the largest book event in the Afro-Asian region. Over the last four decades the New Delhi World Book Fair has earned itself a high reputation among international publishers.
MOBILE BOOK EXHIBITIONS
The NBT also operates an innovative scheme of exhibition of books through mobile vans across the country to make books accessible to the public at large in remote, rural and difficult areas. Since its launch in 1992, more than 10,000 such exhibitions have been organized across all the states in the country in-eluding north-eastern states.
PROMOTION OF CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
The National Centre for Children’s Literature (NCCL) was established by the NBT in 1993 to monitor, coordinate, plan and aid the publication children’s literature in various Indian languages. The NCCL is engaged in organizing workshops, exhibitions and promoting the habit of reading at the school level by encouraging the setting up of Readers’ Clubs. Till date about 35,000 Readers’ Club have been established across various schools in the country. The Centre is mandated to conduct surveys and research work related to children’s literature. It also publishes a monthly bilingual magazine “Reader’s Club Bulletin” for children.
The NCCL’s library -cum-documentation Centre for children’s literature at New Delhi is now connected with the library network across the country and members can access the books online. This library is open for general public, researchers and children.
PROMOTION OF INDIAN BOOKS ABROAD
As the nodal agency for the promotion of books overseas, the NBT participates in various international book fairs and puts up exhibitions to display select titles brought out by various Indian publishers.
Since 1970, NBT has participated in various international book fairs including Frankfurt, Bologna, Jerusalem, Seoul, Sharjah, Beijing, Colombo, Tokyo, Bangkok, Minsk, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Warsaw, Nigeria, Kathmandu, Manila, London, Karachi. Dhaka and Lahore.
India’s Guest of Honour Presentations at Frankfurt (2006), Moscow (2009), Beijing (2010) and Seoul (2013),were organized by NBT. As part of the Presentations, the NBT coordinated many literary programmes, including seminars, discussions, reading sessions, and authors’ presentations. In addition, a special exhibit of books from India was also put up.
NBT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME FOR TRANSLATION
NBT has set up a NBT Financial Assistance Programme (NBT FAP), a dedicated Rights Exchange Programme that will pursue translation of Indian books into foreign languages. Under this initiative, the Trust will provide financial support to foreign publishers who are interested in translating Indian works.
NBT has been mandated by the Government of India to administer a Financial Assistance scheme for voluntary and literary bodies. The Financial Assistance is given on ad-hoc basis for organizing book promotional activities. Up to 75 per cent of approved expenditure for any or more purposes namely (a) to organize seminars of Indian Authors/ Publishers/ Booksellers on subjects which have direct bearing on Book Promotion in India (b) to organize Training Course on a subject directly related to Book Promotion (c) to organize Annual Conventions / Conferences of Writers/ Publishers/Booksellers and (d) any other activity which may be found to be conducive to the development of Book Industry etc is provided.
ASSISTANCE TO AUTHORS & PUBLISHERS
Promote the publication of reasonably priced books for higher education, NBT gives financial assistance to authors and publishers of textbooks and reference material. Under this scheme for the subsidized publication of books, only such books are subsidized for which a definite need is felt and which relate to subject areas where books of an acceptable standard are either not available or are so expensive as to be beyond the means of the students. So far, NBT has subsidized the publication of more than a thousand titles, mostly in English. The scope of the scheme has been widened to provide assistance for such publications in Indian languages.
FOUNDATION DAY LECTURE SERIES
The NBT celebrates its Foundation Day on 1 August every year. Literary programmes and other activities mark the occasion. On its 56th foundation day in the year 2013, the NBT held its 2nd Annual Lecture. This annual Lecture series invites an eminent personality from among women and men of letters, scholars, intellectuals and others who have made significant contributions to the world of publishing, to reflect largely on an overarching theme of books and reading in today’s India.
TRAINING COURSE IN BOOK PUBLISHING
To create a pool of trained professionals for the publishing industry, NBT conducts a month-long Training Course in Book Publishing in Delhi every year. Besides, NBT organizes short term training courses in publishing in other parts of the country.
In addition, NBT has now collaborated with select universities to offer one year post-graduate diploma in publishing studies. NBT has already signed on MoU with the Calcutta University and Ambedkar University, Delhi to help students who wish to pursue book publishing as a career.
NATIONWIDE READERSHIP SURVEY (NAPRDY)
The NBT conducted a National Action Plan for Readership Development Among the Youth (NAPRDY) with a vision to make all youth in the age-group of 15- 25 an active reader by the year 2025. The first major step under the NAPRDY has been the undertaking of the first ever National Youth Readership Survey among rural and urban youth across the country, which was undertaken by the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), to assess the readership patterns as well as the reading needs of the youth. The Survey has since been published as a Report by the NBT.
The follow-up study in the form of a second Report on the Youth of North-East India: Demographics and Readership, giving an analytical and detailed account of the reading habits of the literate youth in the north-eastern states and their exposure to different forms of media, was also published by the NBT.
NATIONAL BOOK WEEK
Launched in the year 1982 the National Book Week is an initiative of the NBT to promote books and the habit of reading in the country. During the National Book Week, held from 14 to 20 November every year, the NBT organizes a number of book promotional activities and literary programmes throughout the country, like book exhibitions, seminars, discussions, meet-the-author programme, workshops and other literary events. During the year 2013 more than 200 such events were organized all over the country including an online contest for children on story writing with Science fiction as the theme.