If the World Bank is reaching out to the Calcutta reader, so is the World Health Organisation (WHO). After setting up shop (Stall 5 in the foreign publication enclave) for the first time in the Book Fair, WHO is now planning to launch low-priced Bengali reprints in town.
“Yes, it should be a reality very shortly. We have been talking with a few reputed publishers and you may say the negotiations are in the final stage,” said R.P. Dixit, head, marketing and dissemination of information of WHO in South-East Asia.
WHO has about 500 priced titles, while more are available free, either in print or on its website, www.whosea.org/rdoc. “Though we are selling major WHO publications here at a comparatively lower price than in, say, Europe or America, we can appreciate the fact that even this cut price proves too much for most individual buyers,” said Dixit. “As part of our conscious strategy to disseminate information, we also want the publications to be in local languages to reach out to greater numbers.”
State minister of health and family welfare Pratyush Mukherjee, professionals, students and NGOs have welcomed the WHO move. To ensure expediency, WHO has been offering publishing partners a deal where the organisation will “just take 10 per cent of the royalty” of the translated titles. “The experiment has already been a success in Bangladesh,” observed Dixit.
WHO’s first foray into the Book Fair was part of its expansion programme. “We have been to other book fairs in the country before, but not this one. We must admit that we might have missed a trick,” said WHO officials manning the store, with 150 titles.