Book Fair gradually gains momentum

Dhaka, Mar 24 : The Amar Ekushey Book Fair-2021, the country’s beloved Boi Mela – which commenced almost 46 days after its scheduled time due to the Covid pandemic, is yet to draw a large number of book buyers even six days in.Sales personnel said visitors are roaming across the fairgrounds and browsing titles and showing curiosity about new arrivals but there were very few buyers.
Publishers and sales executives said the hot and humid weather with occasional thunderstorms in March-April is unsuitable for book lovers, especially children and the elderly, to visit the fair.
Dipannita, sales executive of Tamralipi Publications, said the fair is yet to gain momentum. “Bookworms are not coming that much due to the hot weather,” she said, blamed lack of promotional campaigns behind the low turnout of buyers.
Kausar Ahmed, a senior sales executive of the stall, said: “Although we are not selling books as per our expectation, we are still hopeful as people are coming amid the Covid-19 infection surge.”
Md Robin, a sales executive of Genius Publications, said: “Although today is the sixth day of book fair, we are yet to see the expected number of booklovers. Those who are visiting today are only roaming around the fair premises, not buying books.”
Osman Gani, publisher of Agamee Prakashani, told UNB: “As the book fair is being held in March instead of February, we will not be able to sell as many books as expected. However, we will try our best with what we got.”
Visiting the area, this correspondent sees people are oblivious to social distancing despite the pandemic being at its peak. Law enforcers only allowed visitors to wear masks and carry hand sanitizers through the entry points but many were seen not wearing masks or maintaining proper hygiene.
Member Secretary of the fair organizing committee Md Jalal Ahmed said that volunteers were working at the fair premises raising public awareness about coronavirus safety measures. He urged visitors to maintain strict hygiene guidelines issued by the health authorities.
A total of 118 new books arrived at the fair on Tuesday.
Bangla Academy has allocated space to 522 publication houses at the fair, comprising more than 800 stalls and 33 pavilions. This is almost double the space available in 2020.
Buyers will get 25% concessions on the price of books brought out by different publishing houses and organizations, and 30% on books by Bangla Academy.
The fair is open to all from 3pm to 9pm from Sunday to Thursday, but on weekends and public holidays, the fair will remain open from 11am to 9pm.
The month-long book fair is arranged every year commemorating the sacrifices of people who laid down their lives on February 21, 1952 for establishing Bangla as mother tongue, reports UNB.