Paperback books still dominate readers’ choice and attract the readers amid the extensive digital revolution of books.
The information provided by Bangla Academy showed that the publication of books has nearly doubled and sales of books have increased by almost seven times compared to five years ago.
A total of 4591 books came out during the just-concluded Boi Mela, and books were sold amounting to Tk71 crore (estimated), while the number of released books was 2963 and sales amounted to Tk11 crore (estimated) in 2013.
The number of books published in the fair in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 stood at 2995, 3700, 3444 and 3646 respectively, while the estimated total sales were Tk17 crore, Tk22 crore, Tk40 crore and Tk66 crore.
Readers of e-books and audio-books said that they feel more comfortable, satisfied and entertained reading paper books compared to the e-books and audio-books.
The book fair that recently ended, witnessed the huge presence and crowd of readers in the book fair.
Talking to visitors of different ages, it was found that most of the aged people were not interested as such to read books online, while young readers showed some interest but said they feel comfortable in paper-books.
Meer Raihan Masud, a journalist, said he preferred reading paper books, as he felt comfortable with that. “Paper books always give us a lively feeling. On the other hand, digital books can't provide us with the feel.”
A fourth-year student of Islamic history and culture at the University of Dhaka, Munira Dilshad Ela said she felt comfortable with paper books. “I study in my free time as it gives me a different pleasure and satisfaction. I do not find the proper pleasure and satisfaction with PDF or e-books.”
Munira added that there are many reasons behind preferring paper books, such as the design, paper and smell. “I think the real taste of reading exists in paper books, not an e-book. I do not want to miss the taste."
Freelance writer Sadman Sakib shared his comfort in reading paper books.
“The digital device is used for multipurpose tasks, so it hampers the dedicated reading. Also, digital version of all standard books is not still available online. So, low resolution and pirated books hamper the eyes,” he said.
Young poet Aleem Haider Dhrubo never found the feelings in digital books. He also felt that he did not pay proper attention seriously in reading on blog, social media or digital books. “It has different amusement in reading books by touching and folding. I cannot enjoy reading books in digital formats.”
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor said book fairs should be extended to the root level to reach readers across the country.
He also underlined the need for improving library facilities and increasing the number of libraries.
The minister said they would pay special attention to the specialized libraries on different subjects, as, according to him, there is no alternative to reading in library.
A special committee found only 488 books out of total 4,590 released in the fair as standard ones, he said.