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POST TIME: 1 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Book fair ends with robust sales for digital payment, good management
STAFF REPORTER

Book fair ends with robust sales for digital payment, good management

Visitors browse through books at a stall at Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela (book fair) on Suhrawardy Udyan premises in the capital yesterday, the last day of the month-long fair. Independent photo

Book sale in Ekushey Granthamela increased significantly this year thanks to good management, peaceful political environment and digital payment, according to sellers of different stalls at the fair ground. Salesmen of 51 book publishers said they saw 70 per cent rise in their sales this year on an average compared to their sales volume in 2017. However, most publishers denied disclosing the sales amount when they were interviewed by the survey and research team of (Bangladesh journalists’ Foundation For Consumers & Investors (BJFCI), last two days of the fair ending Thursday, February 28 on the Bangla Academy premises in the capital.  The survey covered 101 publishers who took part in the fair over the last three years.  The survey was conducted by a team comprising of 5 members through interviews, official facts and statistical analysis as part of the BJFCI objectives to inform consumers and investors exact market information and our independent observations.

More than 80 per cent of the publishers under the survey said their sales volume increased more than 70 per cent this year despite a rise in book price. But visitors claimed them that the number of quality books was not enough to meet the serious buyers in the fair ground. After a short break in mid February due to political tension over the trial of BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, the sales continued jumping every day thanks to peaceful political environment and digital revolution in payment mostly led by Bkash, the sponsor organisation of the fair.

BKash, the leading mobile financial service operator in Bangladesh and the largest in the global market in terms of number of subscribers sponsored the book fair under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme to promote book reading and literacy in Bangladesh. bKash Limited holds 7-8 events of book distribution per year as part of its CSR activity and spent Tk 30 lakh to Tk 38 lakh every year.

Digital payment facility offered by bKash, the leading mobile financial service of the country has opened the opportunity for them to buy books in cash where they get back a good amount of money from bkash while good management and favourable environment attracted thousands of serious book readers every day.

Commenting on the offer, Shamsuddin Haider Dalim, head of corporate communications and PR at bKash, said the month of February carries some particular significance in our national life. So, bkash has offered visitors 10 per cent cash back to encourage them buy books for reading.

“Customers effectively have to pay 32.5per cent less than the cover prices of the books as the cash back is applicable on top of the publishers’ 25per cent discount on cover prices at the fair. bKash reimburses the 10 per cent of the book price after publisher’s discount in customers’ wallets in the form of cash back. This is a boon for the book lovers, as they can now buy more books within the limit of their budget’, he said. He also said the customers do not need to pay any charge while making payments through bKash. According the bKash, only 870 customers in 2015 purchased book through bKash payment which jumped to more than 700 per cent to 7,000 customers in 2017.

Around 3,500 bkash customers have already made payment through bKash at the first week of this year’s book fair. Leading publishers say their book sales increased as more serious people visited the fairground are coming to buy books every day without any hassle while in the past few years, they have seen a significant decrease in the number of fair visitors, in part due to political tension and poor management, they said.