Bangladeshi book fair highlights love of printed books

Dhaka, Feb 23 (IANS) With less than a week left until the end of Bangladesh’s largest month-long annual book fair, thousands of all ages are still flocking daily to see and buy new books.

The overwhelming popularity of the fair more than suggest that people still have a deep love for books, with paper, ink and covers, rather than their modern-day digital counterparts.

Many of those attending the fair have said they feel a profound sense of happiness and nostalgia as they inhale the fragrance of a newly-printed book.

The Amar Ekushey Boi Mela, which literally means “Immortal Twenty First Book Fair,” has been held since February 1 in Dhaka’s Bangla Academy premises and its adjacent Suhrawardy Udyan (garden), in commemoration of those who died fighting for Bengali language on February 21, 1952.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the month-long book fair. This year, a total of 651 stalls were allocated to 402 organisations, with the holiday weekend seeing a huge spike in book lovers rushing to the event.

On Friday evening, the Academy was packed with tens of thousands of book lovers.

The impressive foot flow was evidenced by the hundreds of visitors who were waiting in long queues to enter Bangladesh’s largest annual book fair, eager to buy books and other published materials.

The crowds were a testament to the ongoing romantic appeal of traditional books and other printed materials.

Rezauddin Stalin, a poet and and a television personality, strongly believes that digital books could never replace the appeal of printed books.

“Books are something primitive and natural, like a footpath. Books can be touched and read whilst lying on bed. Books will continue to lead the way in establishing a true knowledge-based society,” he said.

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