The curtain fell on Amar Ekushey Book Fair on Wednesday with thousands of visitors thronging to stalls on the concluding day of the month-long extravaganza, record number of new book arrivals as well as good sales.
The fair also witnessed hassle-free visits for booklovers from across the city and outlying districts as the fair area was expanded to five lakh square feet comprising Suhrawardy Udyan and Bangla Academy premises.
Some publishers who had expressed dissatisfaction over stall distribution at the fair’s initial stage were at the end quite happy with sales.
According to Bangla Academy information centre, the overall sales at the book stalls this year were approximately Tk 70.50 crore, about Tk 5 crore higher than the previous year.
The academy itself sold books worth Tk 1.51 crore till Monday.
The overall sales in the book fair in 2016 was Tk 42 crore; Tk 21.95 crore in 2015; and Tk 16 crore in 2014, according to the academy’s information centre.
As many as 4,591 new titles, including 255 on the last day, hit the stalls this year, an increase of 945 titles than the previous year. Books of poems led the tally with 1,472 titles, followed by 643 novels, 701 books of short stories, 257 essays and 112 children’s books.
Publishers expressed their satisfaction over the sales and were overwhelmed by the bookworms’ varied interests of books including travelogues, memoirs and biographies alongside novel, short stories and poems.
Monirul Haque, publisher of Ananya, said that he was overwhelmed seeing the visitors buying books from the beginning. ‘Visitors’ choice for quality books will make the publishing business competitive in the coming years,’ he hoped.
Oitijjhya sales manager Amzad Hossain Khan said that the new titles brought out by the house earned visitor’s positive response.
On the last day of the fair, people started to throng to the premises as soon as the fair gates opened at 3:00pm.
Most of the visitors were in last-minute rush to check the new titles and purchase preferred titles to add to their year’s collection.
Cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor, while visiting the fair on the last day, told New Age that visitors should be credited for hassle-free ending of the fair.
Academic and Creative Publishers Association of Bangladesh’s former president and Agamee Prokashani publisher Osman Gani demanded a separate government department to look after book fair-related issues.
‘Although the fair premises are expanded every year, the authorities concerned lack coordination and much-needed management skills,’ he regretted.
This year, 719 stall units on the two premises were distributed among 455 publishing houses, government and non-government organisations. Of the houses, 30 participated in the fair for the first time.
On Wednesday, Tamralipi announced the name of Ayesha Foyez Sahitya Puroskar 2018 winner. On March 23, the publishing house would hand over the awards to writers Sadia Islam Sristy and Saleha Chowdhury, said publisher AKM Tariqul Islam.
On the day, Shrabon Prokashani brought out Glory and Despair: The Politics of Tajuddin Ahmed, authored by Syed Badrul Ahsan.
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