Many new titles have hit the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2017, generating more revenue for their publishers and creating publicity and opportunities for the new authors.
Yet, concerns have been raised about a growing number of publishing companies at the Ekushey Book Fair, as some reputable publishers have alleged the companies are bringing out poorly written and edited publications. This may have a negative impact on booklovers, and in turn on book sales and the publishing industry itself, they have said.
Publisher of Agamee Prakashani Osman Gani has said: “The yearly book fair is an enjoyable time for both book-lovers and publishers, but it gives some publishing companies the chance to join the industry despite lacking skills in publishing and professionalism, which badly affects the industry as a whole.”
Osman, also the president of Academic and Creative Publishers' Association of Bangladesh (ACPAB), also cited “insufficient manpower and logistical support” as other shortfalls of these companies, adding that “some of them are proving to be a new threat to the fair, with readers likely getting cheated in the process.”
In the preceding days of the fair, the association carried out a drive against piracy and found five stalls guilty of carrying pirated books. The association said such a drive will continue in order to fully wipe out the ill motives that spoil the industry.
Echoing the sentiments of other readers and publishers, noted IT specialist and publisher of Bijoy Digital Mustafa Zabber said acts such as piracy only prove to be suicidal attempts for those involved in it.
“I believe in opportunity for all and in following the course that raises, sustains and ensures an industry’s success,” he said regarding the increasing number of publication companies. He added: “Those companies who are not doing well will not survive in the competitive market.”
He urged authorities such as Bangla Academy and the ACPAB to organise special advanced seminars, workshops, and trainings in the sector geared mainly toward newcomers.
Member secretary of the fair conducting committee Jalal Ahmed said a copyright board exists with a task force to primarily oversee piracy. He confirmed the news that ACPAB had seized some pirated books at the fairgrounds and hoped the copyright board would start carrying out its duties very soon.
Day eight at the book fair proved to be as successful as the preceding days, with many more booklovers in attendance, especially children. A total of 109 new books were brought out with 14 being formally unveiled at Bangla Academy.