| A girl checks out a box set at the book fair on Monday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
Books should be interactive and fluent so that readers find them easier to negotiate, said Ratneshwar Singh, the convener of the 19th Patna Book Fair, on Monday.
“The preference of the reading public has changed a lot over the years. Nowadays, people prefer short stories and autobiographies. Reading long novels that take up a lot of time is out of fashion,” he said.
Singh is not only an organiser of the book fair but also an author. His new non-fiction book, Jeet ka Jadu (Prabhat Prakashan), has been written in a conversational style.
“While reading it, people will feel that they are having a conversation with the narrator,” said Singh, adding that books these days were more interactive than ever and readers were put off by texts that tended to sermonise rather than tell a story.
Readers agreed with him. Anjali, a student of Magadh Mahila College, said: “I hardly have time to read. So, I give thick novels a wide berth and read short stories instead.”
The most popular genre is romance. “Eight out of 10 girls ask for love stories, especially the novels written by Ravinder Singh,” said A.K. Agarwal, the store manager of the Penguin stall.
A software engineer with an MBA degree, Singh has penned two bestsellers — I Too Had A Love Story and Can Love Happen Twice?
Serious readers may scoff at the indulgent fantasy of the narratives but serious books have fewer buyers. R.K. Agarwal, the manager of the Penguin stall, said All India For Everyone by Amarjeet Sinha, principal secretary, education, had few takers.
But there are some readers who like the challenge of a long and difficult book.
Anand Sinha, 58, said: “Reading is a passion for me. It takes time and effort. These days, I hardly find books that run into 1,000 pages. But that’s the kind of books I prefer.”