Considering low turnout at Ekushey book fair in the last few days due to rain, Bangla Academy yesterday decided to extend the month-long fair till March 2 (Saturday).
“We have decided to extend the schedule, as per publishers' request, so that they recover their losses due to rain,” Dr Jalal Ahmed, member secretary of the fair organising committee told The Daily Star.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had given them direction to pay heed to the demands of publishers.
Sporadic rain affected turnout at the fair on February 27 while on February 17, heavy rain took a massive toll on book stalls and damaged thousands of books.
Meanwhile, fair organisers hosted the formal concluding ceremony at the main stage yesterday evening.
Jalal said a total of 153 titles arrived at the fair yesterday, taking the tally to 4,685 new titles this year, highest in the last decade, with sales estimated at around Tk 77.55 crore. The academy stalls alone sold books worth 2.15 crore this year.
Last year, a total of 4,591 new books hit the fair with sales estimated at 70.50 crore.
Poet Nirmalendu Goon received 'Kabi Jasimuddin Sahitya Purashkar-2019' for his contribution to Bangla literature. This year, KothaPrakash received 'Chittaranjan Saha Memorial Award' for publishing the highest number of quality books, while three publishing houses including Prothoma Prokashan received 'Munier Chowdhury Smriti Purashkar 2019' for their creative publications.
Panjeri Publications received 'Rokanuzzaman Khan Dadabhai Smrity Purashkar-2019' for publishing quality books, while Batighar received 'Qayyum Chowdhury Smrity Purashkar' for having the most aesthetically pleasing stall.
Director General of Bangla Academy Poet Habibullah Siraji in his welcome speech thanked everyone for their cooperation.
Meanwhile, publishers welcomed Bangla Academy's decision to extend the fair.
Oitijjhya Publication's owner Arifur Rahman Nayeem said he had experienced the highest sales on February 25-26 but rain disrupted sales on Feb-ruary 27.
“I think book lovers who could not come to the fair due to rain will get an opportunity to buy their books now,” he said.