Publishers, writers and visitors expressed satisfaction over the spacious arrangement of stalls at this year’s Amar Ekushey book fair, thanks to the larger area occupied by the fairgrounds that have also allowed for a greater number of stalls than ever before.
Visiting the fair and talking to visitors who thronged the fair over the first 11 days, the UNB correspondent found that they were happy with their experience so far.
Since 2013, the venue has been extended to nearby Suhrawardy Udyan. Additionally, the land earmarked for the fair this year has been expanded to 800,000sft from the previous year’s 550,000sft, and that has made the real difference.
Tanjina Akter, a fourth-year Dhaka University student, said this year's fair is different from the previous years’ for the spacious and aesthetic arrangement.
“I could take my time at the stalls as they aren’t crowded like before," she said, adding that she felt very comfortable as she can move about easily.
Some visitors also praised the overall design of the fair which they found really attractive.
News Editor of Dainik Bhorer Alo Monjurul Islam Megh said that the fair fascinated him, especially with its aesthetic elegance, and enhanced spatial dimension.
He also mentioned the arrangement of the bench system inside the fair that allows visitors to take a breather.
"I also have some disappointments about the fair. This time I have felt less the taste of Ekushey February at the fair. Every year there are discussions on Language Movement and famous literary writers or slogans, but this time they were not noticed," Megh said.
He noted that aesthetically the fair is of international quality but there is “a lack of good books”.
Lecturer of Patuakhali Government College Shanta Urmila Mou said the special arrangement on Bangabandhu for centenary year was very interesting for her.
"I witnessed the different arrangement on Bangabandhu at every stall. Alongside, Sisimpur section, dedicated for the children, also amazed me. The aesthetic shape of the stall will attract all visitors this year," she also said.
Mowla Brothers publisher Ahmed Mahmudul Haque told UNB that the initiative to expand the fairgrounds was a wise move.
"It will help readers and visitors feel comfortable. Alongside the authority will also have to monitor the fair carefully as it is arranged over a larger area. It will take some time to know the preferred stalls. But in a word, it is a nice arrangement," said Mahmudul.
Mowla Brothers is one of the 34 publishing houses that got allotted one of the prized ‘pavilions’ – the largest stalls on offer that attract more visitors.
Dr Jalal Ahmed, Bangla Academy’s Director of Sales, Marketing and Reprinting Division and Member Secretary of Amar Ekushey Book Fair organising committee, told UNB that they have tried their best to present the best possible book fair.
A total of 1,442 new titles hit the fair this year in the first eleven days, with poetry leading the genre charts with 422.
A total of 873 units were allocated to 560 organisations. The authorities have allotted 179 units at the Bangla Academy ground to 126 organisatons and 694 at the Suhrawardy Udyan to 694 organisations.