'Almost everyone bought at least one book today'
Thousands of visitors, mostly youth, couples and children flooded the fairgrounds on Friday donning traditional outfits yet again Pohela Falgun and Valentine’s Day was celebrated at Amar Ekushey Book Fair.
Visitors flock daily to the Boi Mela but only a few actually buy anything, but an opposite picture was painted on Friday, said the stalls keepers.
“Almost everyone bought at least one book today [Friday],” said Sadia Islam Kona on Friday, the staff at Anupam Prakashani.
Sadia said: "The target sale began on the first Friday of the book fair. We did sell books worth over Tk2.5 lakh that very day, but this Valentine’s Day [adjoining] with Pohela Falgun, I think the sale will surpass last week's volume.”
Publishers and bookstalls’ representatives said sales remained slow during the last few days of the fair, but the number of visitors remained high from every Friday and special days such as Pohela Falgun and Valentine's day, and same is expected on Ekushey February in this month-long event.
Youngsters, couples and family with children dressed in saris and especially in yellow, red or orange and boys donning similar coloured panjabis or shirts were found in the fair premises.
Dhaka Tribune found a newly married couple, Topa Tabasshum Hassan and Likhon Hassan who were celebrating their first Pohela Falgun and Valentine’s Day as husband and wife.
“Topa is a book lover, so I brought her to the perfect place for bookworms. I gifted her five books, including Shrestho Kobita by Jibanananda Das, while her Valentine’s Gift is Valobasar Sukh Dukkho by Imdadul Haque Milon,” Likhon Hassan told the Dhaka Tribune.
Anannya Prokashoni's staff Faruk Ahmed said: "Today [Friday] everyone is gifting books to one another. The festival has increased sales.”
Writer Soumen Saha, who was attending the fair since the morning, said poems also drew good sale in addition to love stories.
Many parents and institutions bought educational books as gifts for children, he said.
AK Nasir Ahmed Selim, the publisher of Kakali Prokashoni, said: "I found positivity in this generation as readers are growing every year. I saw children coming here searching for new books of Muhammed Zafar Iqbal. This year, one of our most sold books is Zafar Iqbal's 'Rohoshshomoy Black Hole' and as usual, the best sales were that of books by legendary writer Humayun Ahmed."
Later in the evening, the crowd-density increased further with readers and authors and poets going into discussions. Bookworms took autographs of from their favourite writers and took selfies with them.