National Book Trust – The Apex Publishing House Of India

Where can you find books on Freedom Movement, Fiction, Folklore, Indian Literature, Children literature, books written by women, Autobiographies, World literature and even books on school curriculum and competitive exams? In India, it is the National Book Trust.

About the organization

National Book Trust(NBT) is the Apex body in India publishing books in all these genres, that too at a nominal and affordable price.

NBT is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development.    It is located at Vasant Gunj, New Delhi. It was inaugurated by Philosopher and the then President Dr.Sarvepally Radhakrishnan on August 1st, 1957.

Books photo
Photo – book sale loot by Ginny CC BY-SA 2.0


National Book Trust was set up with a vision to make available low-cost quality books that reach people from all walks of life. It has played an important role in the development of India, after years of colonial rule. Other famous organizations that took shape at the same time were Sahitya Academy and Lalit Kala Academy.


Some of the objectives behind the establishment of NBT are

  • To produce books in all languages as mentioned in the constitution
  • To make books available affordable books
  • Promote classical literature of India
  • Translation of outstanding works of Regional authors
  • Translation of good foreign language books
  • Offering books of modern knowledge
  • Publishing book lists, arrange seminars, exhibitions and get together book lovers, publishers, and writers.
  • Publishing newsletters to announce recent publications

Activities carried out by NBT

The following activities are carried out by NBT to achieve its objectives.

Books photo
Photo – bookheart by wewiorka_wagner under CC BY-SA 2.0

  1. Publishing books

This autonomous body has the latest technology to publish books on Fiction, Social Sciences and Medical Sciences.  It publishes reading material for new literates also.  Books in major languages like English, Hindi, Asamiya, Gujarati, Bengali, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Kannada, Konkani, Marathi,   Tamil, Telugu, Boro, Garo, Khasi, Gondi, Urdu, Punjabi, Mising, Newari, Bhili, Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Manipuri, Lepcha and others languages are also published.

Importance is given to genres generally ignored by private publishers such as Children’s books, Braille books, books on Science & Technology, Environment, etc.

  1. Promotion and trading

NBT is involved in the organizing of book fairs and exhibition across the length and breadth of India.  One of the most important such book fairs is the World Book Fair in New Delhi.

The Book club of NBT has about 80000 members across India. It also has organized Mobile exhibitions and online sales to reach nooks and corners of the country. Mobile exhibition programmes were established in 1992.  About 10,000 Mobile exhibitions using vans have been organized till date taking books to rural, remote and inaccessible areas of the country.

National Book trust also provides financial assistance to Authors, other publishers, and NGOs to organize book events that promote reading.

  1. Promotion of Indian books abroad

It also participates in the prominent Book fairs in the world to promote Indian books.  It has participated in book fairs at Jerusalem, Seoul, Nigeria, Warsaw, Singapore, Kula Lumpur, Manila, London, Dhaka, Minsk, Bangkok, Kathmandu,   Bologna, Frankfurt, Dhaka, Lahore, and Sharjah.

It has been Guest of Honour at Moscow – 2009, Frankfurt-2006 and Beijing 2010.

  1. Assisting writers and publishers in need

NBT provides assistance to authors and publishers who are in the Education sector under the scheme of The subsidized publication of Books.

  1. Promoting Children literature

The National Centre for Children’s Literature (NCCL) was established in 1993 mainly to promote books on or for children.  This center promotes the Habit of Reading at School level through workshops and exhibitions.  Its Book clubs have 35000 members on their rolls. Surveys and research are also conducted

A magazine “Reader’s Club Bulletin”  is also published by this center for children.  One can also access the NCCL’s Library cum documentation center online.

Other activities include

  • Publishing in various Indian languages for all age groups
  • Organizing various regional book festivals
  • Short-term Training courses in Book Publishing
  • Literary activities such as Lecture series on Foundation day.
  • Conducting surveys and Research on Book reading in India
  • Providing assistance to literary bodies for book promoting activities
  • Conducting National Book week between 14th to 20th November that has online contests for children in its itinerary


National Book Trust is very popular among the general public for Children’s books. Famous illustrators such as Mrinal Mitra, Pulak Biswas, Jagdish Joshi, Subir Roy, Manjula Padmanabhan, Mickey Patel, Atanu Roy, Suddasattwa basu have lent their hand to make NBT publications successful.  Even Painters like Jatin Das and Krishen Khanna given a helping hand to make NBT Children literature the most widely acknowledged in India.

Featured Photo – Books by Ryan Hyde under CC BY-SA 2.0 

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