The presence of book lovers and general enthusiasts on Sunday, the third day of the Amar Ekushey Book Fair, was smaller than the first two days as it was not only the first working day of the week, but of the month as well.
Even the hours were shorter, from 3pm – 9pm, a timing that will be maintained on working days for the early part at least.
Visiting the fair, UNB correspondent found a mainly young crowd thronging the over-700 stalls set across the Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Uddayan, while some families were seen visiting the fair with their children.
Moving from stall to stall was the order of the day, except perhaps to linger at a personal favourite. Judging by which, adventure publishers ‘Seba Prokashani’ must enjoy a large fanbase.
Many were also found busy taking ‘selfies’, often in front of attractively designed stalls.
Sumaiya, a third-year student of Dhaka University, was quite enjoying the light attendance that helped her “roam freely and comfortably”. It also allowed her to take her time in choosing which books to purchase, she said.
Rumky, another student of DU, was one of those making more of a strategic early visit to the fair today, to stay updated on information relating to the release of new books.
“Today I have no plan to buy any books. I’ll just visit stall-to-stall on the lookout for new releases. I will make my purchases after some days, when I know what I want. I’ll be visiting the fair again and again as I live in the university hall,” she said, confident in her plans.
General Secretary of Pencil Foundation, a Facebook-based platform, Askar Ibne Firoz, said their aim is to bring back the readership alongside the publication of the books.
The Pencil Foundation publishes books aiming to spread the spirit the Bangla language and its culture to the entire world.
"Our group has a membership of over 125,000 (121,310 as of Sunday evening more accurately) who are most active in the social media. We have arranged a competition for publishing books. We received a huge response. We have published three books in three categories this year from 200 scripts,” the young organiser said.
Stall attendants were found in a relaxed mood mostly, owing to the thin crowd.
A sales representative of Anyaprakash, the well-known publishing house, said sales are only just starting, and they expect it to be a few days before they really start to take off.
Continuing a trend started in recent years, the venue of the fair has been extended to include nearby Suhrawardy Uddayan, opening up a new range of options.
This year, the fairgrounds expanded to 550,000 square feet (sft), some 37,000 sft more than last year. A total of 770 stall units were allocated to 499 organisations.
The fair’s historic home, Bangla Academy, is hosting 150 units of 104 organisations, with the remaining 620 at the Suhrawardy Uddayan distributed among 395 organisations.