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Dhaka Tribune

Amar Ekushey Book Fair: Low readership no hindrance for poetry book publishers

As of on Tuesday, a total of 1,263 poetry books were published so far, out of the total 3,992 books released at the fair

Update : 25 Feb 2020, 10:52 PM

Poetry books continue to outnumber other genres in terms of publishing in the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair, although they are failing to attract readers.

Readers are more interested in buying novels and fiction rather than poems, resulting in low sales numbers, said publishers and attendants of different stalls.

As of on Tuesday, a total of 1,263 poetry books were published so far, out of the total 3,992 books released at the fair.

Explaining the reasons behind the high volume of poetry books, Mizanur Rahman Patoyari of Mizan Prokashoni said new authors usually release books on poetry, resulting in a higher number of poetry books.

“We have released 50 books on Mujib Borsho including two poetry books – one by Aslam Sani and another by Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman,” he said.

When asked, poet Aslam Sani told the Dhaka Tribune that his book “Mujibur Bangalir Antor” on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has been well received among readers.

"This is not entirely true that readers are less interested in poems; because the taste of readers is changing constantly, so is the writing style of poems,” he said.

“We have released a total of 100 books to mark Mujib Borsho, including 20 poetry books. But only one of them is doing well,” said Alamgir Aronno, a staff at Puthiniloy Publication.

“Dau Brikkho Dau Din,” authored by Bangla Academy Director General Habibullah Siraji, is drawing more readers and expected to be sold out completely before the fair ends, according to him.

Kamal Hossain, a visitor at the fair, told the Dhaka Tribune that he bought five poetry books for his seven year old daughter from the fair and 'Nirbachito 200 poems' of renowned poet Rafiq Azad for himself.

“Poetry is always my favourite, though I prefer poems from selected few poets only,” said Kamal.

According to publishers, books by legendary poets like Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Joy Goswami, Abdul Gaffar Choudhury, Sukumar Ray, Nirmalendu Goon, Asad Chowdhury, and Rafiq Azad are the ones mostly adored by readers.

Two stalls with only poetry books

When most publishing houses worry whether poetry books will be sold or not, two publishing houses – Kobi Manas and Kabita Charcha – have released only poetry books in this year’s book fair.

Rajib Rayhan, adviser of Kobi Manas, said they released 40 new poetry books by new writers this year including five books by poets from West Bengal.

“We are pleased that people are at least skimming or flipping through pages. This is how readers can choose their favourite authors and books,” he said.

On the other hand, Bodrul Hayder, publisher of Kabita Charcha, said they are publishing a new kind of poetry books, where one of the books is associated with science and poems.

Poet Hasnain Sajjadi said his poetry book on science titled “Bigganbader Kabbatotta” will attract readers.

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