On the eve of Boi Mela, publishers expecting bumper month

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UNB, Dhaka :

The Amar Ekushey Book Fair, or Boi Mela, is almost here. Bangla Academy, the traditional guardian of the month-long book fair, which takes the form of a literature festival, has already allotted stalls and pavilions to the publishers.

Visiting the fairgrounds in Suhrawardy Uddyan and Bangla Academy’s sprawling premises in recent days, UNB observed that the publishers have been working diligently to prepare their stalls and pavilions since receiving their allotment on January 23.

The publishers were seen instructing their workers and carpenters to build the stalls according to their preferred design – some simple and traditional, others quite extravagant.

While talking to UNB at the fair premises, the publishers expressed their hope to see even bigger crowds than previous ones due to the Metro Rail opening in the city. They mentioned the two metro stations located near the fairgrounds (Shahbagh and TSC stations), which will allow people from distant locations in the city to attend the fair easily and smoothly.

Ahmed Munir, the proprietor of Uchhas Publications, is confident this year’s fair will be more crowded than ever, and the number of readers and visitors will increase. Many people will come from different parts of the country even, because the overall communication system is much better now. So, readers will be able to come to the fair very easily and in less time than before.

“We have also seen a remarkable increase in our readers’ society in the online platform. Which is a big hope for us. It indicates that the book fair will be more interactive than it has been before,” he added.

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“Boi Mela is the fair of our life, the festival of life,” said Mamun Khan, owner of Shireen Publishers.

“My expectation about this year’s fair is that this year’s book fair will be more crowded than any other book fair. The reason is that the book fair is a knowledge distribution fair, and the reader’s interest is increasing,” he adds.

Asked about the overall preparations, Israt Jahan, the proprietor of Chilekotha publications, said: “This is the second time I’m participating in the fair. Bangla Academy instructed us to complete all the works by January 30. Again, this year we have many new publications and I hope, we will be able to grab the market too.”

Temunee Khan Reenu, who has been conducting the Amar Ekushey Book Fair’s ‘Lekhak Bolchi’ (Writers’ Corner) stage for 34 years, was spending time with the publishers at the book fair premises. He expressed his optimistic view about this year’s fair.

“Everyone including writers-readers, publishers will be able to do their work beautifully and without any hesitation. Since the beginning of the fair, I never saw any post-election book fair like this. The organising committee of the fair will responsibly do its duties.,” he said.

Demanding greater opportunities for independent and upcoming publishing houses, he said, “Little-mag and children section square has been shrunk to its current location. The number of women publishers is increasing day by day and it’s time to think about allocating a specific place for women publishers.”