Book Fair returns with the spirit of Amar Ekushey
In line with previous years, Amar Ekuhsey Book Fair has returned this year with its ever-buoyant spirit. The month-long fair, the largest and most popular book fair in Bangladesh, is set to commence today at Bangla Academy premises and the adjacent Suhrawardi Udyan.
Every year, workers at printing press and binding houses spend sleepless nights to prepare for the fair. However, this year they had to work harder to meet the growing demand of books. According to Bangla Academy, the organiser of the fair, this edition will be bigger as they have expanded the venue and allocated more stalls.
Bangla Bazar, the largest hub of book publishers in Bangladesh, is buzzing with activity as publishers, printers and binders have joined forces to transport the books to the fairground in due time. Though some new books have been shifted to the stalls, they are still putting finishing touches to books which will arrive in the fair soon. Some publishers expressed the hope that this year's sales will see a significant growth in comparison to last two years' fair which was, to a great extent, marred by political instability.
Abul Kashem, a senior worker at Ahona Printers, said “The political situation is better this year and the country is in a stable situation, so we expect that people will come to the fair and buy books. We are still working hard to meet the deadline.”
Panini Printers at Sutrapur Road has a number of modern printing machines, and they have been working for the last couple of months. They informed that most of the work has been done and they are now doing the last-minute work.
Tuhin from Rafa Printers said, “I love to work during this season as we face tremendous pressure to deliver books at the right time.”
There are many printing and binding houses in Banglabazar and nearby areas. Also, many publishers have their own printing press. After printing their own books, they take orders from other publishers.
Workers at Shamim Auto Book Bindings said, “We don't have much work throughout the year, but from December we start getting a heavy workload. We have to work 24/7 in shifts so that we can finish binding books before February.”
There is different scenario at publishing houses, as they have piled up new books which will soon garnish stalls at the fairground. Pearl Publications' owner Hasan Zayedi Tuhin said, “This is the season of new books. We love to print new books as readers love to read them. We work hard to supply them with new books by of their favourite writers.”
Ananya's owner Monirul Haq said, “Every year we publish over 100 books, and this year is no exception.”
On another front at Bangla Academy and Suhrawardi Udyan, workers were seen busy with last-minute arrangements. Volunteers were seen setting up stalls and putting colours on those makeshift booths. They have been working for one week to set up stalls and pavilions. They are doing their best to make their stalls look beautiful to attract readers.
Some 450 publishers have set up their stalls covering a total area of 478,000 square feet at this year's fairground.
Photos: Sheikh Mehedi Morshed