Did You #Readapenguin This World Book Day?
Penguin Random House India celebrated World Book Day on 23 April by encouraging people to #ReadAPenguin. Taking over one of the most popular spots in Delhi-NCR, DLF Cyber Hub, Penguin decorated the venue to celebrate books and book lovers on the day set aside by UNESCO to mark the importance of reading, publishing and copyrights.
Penguin, in partnership with DLF Cyber Hub, planned day-long festivities engaging and enthralling the people at the venue. In collaboration with Pepperfry, India’s leading online retailer of furniture and home products, Penguin created the #PENGUINREADINGROOM, a book lover’s haven where readers got a chance to have their own quiet reading room amidst the hustle and bustle of Cyber Hub. The team from Crossword Bookstores, the retail partners, doubled the joy with offers to purchase books at attractive prices for the day.
Preeti Chaturvedi, AVP Marketing, Penguin Random House India, says, ‘This World Book Day, we thought of celebrating the idea of reading in a more experiential manner through a confluence of art, music and books. The endeavour is to bring reading alive in the modern context and cultural setting that relate with new audiences. With the support from our outreach partners City Book Leaders, the engagement and interest we saw among audiences gives us the confidence that reading is still special. #WhyWeRead might hold different meanings for different people, but the fact is that we are still reading.’
In an effort to engage with avid readers and inspire the not-so-avid ones, Penguin hosted quiz competitions at the venue with the chance to win exciting brand merchandise. In collaboration with The Art Floor, Penguin also organized a cover art contest on ground which was judged by Devangana Dash, author of The Jungle Radio and one of Penguin’s newest children’s writers. Post 5 p.m., a musical fiesta took over DLF Cyber Hub as singer/songwriter Nisa Shetty, with Rythem Bansal on the keyboard, serenaded the crowd with classic and popular jazz numbers.
The pièce de résistance of the day was the exciting panel discussion in the presence of popular and eminent Penguin authors as they talked about #WhyWeRead. Moderated by RJ Stutee of Fever 104 FM fame, the panel consisted of talented young writer Gurmehar Kaur, award-winning actress and now author Divya Dutta, India’s bestselling romance writer Ravinder Singh, IPS officer and author Amit Lodha and the iconic Hindi pulp-fiction writer, Surender Mohan Pathak. RJ Stutee engaged the panel in sharing personal stories and anecdotes about why they started reading. Mr. Pathak revealed how, since childhood, reading became deeply ingrained in his life and, like many, he would even read the words on the packets made from newspapers after finishing the peanuts they contained. Ravinder Singh had the crowd in splits as he shared an interesting analogy about reading becoming cool. He joked how the dream guy with a guitar then is now with a book. On a serious note, he divulged that reading can transport people to another world, let them visualize the book in a way that all of them become protagonists. Gurmehar Kaur, on the other hand, disclosed how she resorted to reading books because she didn’t make friends that easily as a child.
The authors on the panel also shared their opinions on the relevance of print books in the age of screen adaptations, e-books and audio books. Divya Dutta had the crowd agree with her when she compared the charm of watching a movie on big screen to reading a print book – these experiences can never be replaced. Mr. Phatak had an interesting point of view since he has witnessed the evolution of books in India. While he admitted that online content sites have ruined reading, he is confident that those who want to will continue to read. Both Gurmehar and Ravinder admitted to being fans of OTT media but were in agreement that the content fails to leave a mark as reading a book.
There was a beautiful impromptu rendition of a song from the classic Hindi film Ek Ajnabi Haseena Thi by Amit Lodha. He had the crowd sway to the tune with him and, finally, it was a wrap!