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Publishing businesses hit hard by pandemic

26 September 2021

Reza Mahmud :
Book publishing businesses are in peril due to long term suspensions of educational institutes across the country due to the pandemic.
About 25 lakh people related to 26,000 members of Bangladesh Publishers and Book-sellers Association, briefly known as BAPUS are facing hardship in this phenomenon.
Leaders and publishers said, they are deprived of cash incentives from the government to survive.
"The publishers are working hard to build a knowledge based nation. But they are the worst sufferers during the coronavirus pandemic as all the educational institutes were totally closed for nearly two years," Arif Hossain Choton, President of BAPUS told The New Nation on Saturday.
He said, the government announced several cash incentive for keeping businesses and industries survived.
But the Book publications have remained out of all lists due to the existing policies.
"The government is yet to announce publications as industry. So, the publishers failed to get incentives in industry level," the BAPUS President said.  
"On the other hand the government has arranged other incentives for businesses but only for those who had got bank  loans earlier. But most of the books sellers do their businesses with small capital. As such, almost all of those who have no bank loans are out of consideration.So, only 10 to 12 traders from Bapus have got this facility," Arif Hossain Choton said.
The Bapus leader said, most of the book traders are in peril. They are suffering from want of money. They have failed to provide their families adequately for the last two years' poor business.  
The business leaders said, the academic and creative publishers could not sell books worth about Tk 12,500 crore in the last 18 months.
Most of the traders are now facing hardship to pay their shop rent and wages of employees.
The organization has submitted memorandum to the Prime Minister through the 60 Deputy Commissioners across the country in August 18 demanding special incentive package for keeping them survived.
They have demanded Tk 100 crore to disburse as incentives among the members of Bapus.
The Bapus also urged the government to buy creative books from the publishers' worth Tk 500 crore as part of incentives.
Meanwhile, the government used to purchase such books worth Tk 100 crore every year.
Bapus leaders said, among the 26 thousand members, about 5,500 traders are doing business in the capital city.
Besides, about 2,500 small and large publishers are among them.
The businessmen expressed hope that they will regain their business gradually as the educational institutes are being open. But the loss they experienced would take long time to recover.
Most of the publishers while talking with The New Nation echoed the same.
They said the other business frequently opened even amid the strict lockdown. But the educational institute as well the books trading was totally suspended during the era. "The Banglabazar publishing businesses are suffering from corona in and outsides. In side's corona is policy level deprivation and out side's corona is the real pandemic hit our businesses," Engineer Kawser Hasan, Managing Director of Panjeree Publications Limited told The New Nation on Saturday.
He said government should give the printing and publication businesses to the publishers totally.
"The government is involved with the businesses but it has not been seen in other countries," he said.
When contacted, M A Musa Khan, Publisher of Book Point told The New Nation on Saturday, "Changing syllabus and curriculum frequently hit the publication business seriously."
The government should prepare syllabus and curriculum for long term.

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