The curtain will fall on Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2021 on its 26th day, two days before it was scheduled to end
Publishers at the Amar Ekushey Book Fair will incur a huge loss as they were unable to sell the expected number of books. Besides, the fair is also on its way to a shutdown on Monday.
The curtain will fall on the Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2021 on its 26th day, two days before it was scheduled to end, due to the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country.
AKM Tarikul Islam Rony, publisher and owner of Tamrolipi, sat despondent beside his pavilion. Talking to this newspaper, he said: “The sale was not at par with our expectations and preparations.”
However, he thanked Bangla Academy as well as the government for arranging the fair amid growing tensions about it not going ahead.
“The publication sector has been neglected very much during the Covid-19 pandemic. We do not need any compensation right now but the government can buy books from us, those which are necessary for schools and colleges,” Rony said.
“The government can further donate these books to the libraries of educational institutions. It will not cost more than Tk50 crore. Readers who could not attend the fair can read from there,” he remarked.
Md Sohag, a sales executive of Prothoma’s pavilion, told this newspaper that most of them were hired on a contractual basis only for the book fair. They are expecting a little less honorarium compared to previous years as the fair has incurred huge losses amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
Abdullah Al Masud, wrote a book, “Ekti Cinemar Shopno” (Dreams of Cinema), published at this year’s fair. It is also available online but it did not get the expected appreciation in the fair due to a lack of book lovers.
“We authors are saddened by the lack of bookworms. This time face-to-face interaction with readers was absent which took away the life of the fair. Even the cost of stall installment and maintenance will not be met by using the earnings,” he stressed.
However, Likhan Mia, a sales executive of Bangla Academy, said that dictionary sales were high this year as in previous years.
Bangla Academy stalls sold books worth Tk1,50,000 a day at every year’s fair but this year the sales reached only Tk40,000 on average. They have sold books worth Tk65,000, which is the highest in a day in 2021.
Sales reached Tk3,50,000 on February 21 last year, Likhan added.
As many as 108 new books were introduced at the fair on Saturday.