With huge number of people thronging the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela every day, the MA Aziz stadium in Chattogram continues to wear a festive look.
The book fair began on February 10 on the stadium's gymnasium field and will continue till the end of this month.
The first ever central book fair is being organised by “Gyan O Srijanshil Prokashana Parishad”, under the city corporation's patronisation, said Nazmul Haque Duke, convener of Ekushey Grantha Mela Udjapan Parishad, Chattogram.
The fair is featuring a total of 110 stalls, with participation of 55 publishers from Dhaka.
While visiting the book fair yesterday, this correspondent saw a huge rush of the weekend crowd.
“The boi mela began on the 10th… we have already lost 10 days,” said Apurba Sabbatain. The Chittagong University student was browsing books at Anya Prakash. “We have less than a week left; I have to come back to buy more books.”
Port city resident Jayed Hasan used to go to Dhaka to visit the Ekushey book fair every year. It was different this time around. “This is the first time we are having a book fair on such a large scale. This is really an occasion to relish.”
At this year's book fair, some of the notable publishers include Anya Prakash, Agami, Balaka, Kalantor, Behula Bangla, Kotha Prakash, Grantha Kutir, Rodela, Bishwo Shahitto Kendro and University Press Limited.
Out of those, “Bidyananda Prokashoni” is being run without any attendants. There is a placard at the stall that reads “money from the sales will be spent for destitute children. Please pay the price of the book in the box”.
This correspondent saw a large crowd at the stall. Many were buying books as per instruction.
Publishers also seemed satisfied with the demand for books and overall sales. They said books on Liberation War, biographies and science fiction were in high demand.
Raju Ahmed of Kotha Prakash said, “The sales exceeded our expectations.”
Not just publishers, the organisers were also upbeat.
“Book fair offers something for everyone. It's the perfect family event,” said Nazmul Haque Duke. “People of all ages with diverse interests come here with one thing in common : the love of reading.”
He said the crowd reached its peak on February 21. Books worth around Tk 8 crore have so far been sold at the fair, he added.