Bangladesh publishers tighten control over book printing as paper costs soar

Bangladesh publishers tighten control over book printing as paper costs soar

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Usman Ghani, former president of the Bangladesh Knowledge and Creative Publishers Association, alleged that a syndicate of businesses was inflating paper prices. They feel that the increase in the price of paper will force the publishers to cut printing by 50 percent.

“When it is time for book fairs and printing of textbooks, the paper mill owners get together and increase the prices. They are taking advantage of the situation,” said Ghani, who runs Agami Publications.

He demanded government steps to break the syndicate and reduce paper import duties.

The price of paper used by publishers for creative books has increased from Rs 80,000 per tonne to Rs 135,000 per tonne, said Arif Hussain Chhoto, president of the Bangladesh Book Publishers and Sellers Association. “If the price goes up again many of us won’t be able to publish books.”

He said that publishers bring books worth Rs 7-8 billion to the book fair every year, but this time this amount will come down to Rs 5 billion.

He said that the association is planning to increase the prices of books by 25 per cent.

Ahead of the Ekushi Book Fair 2023, the Bangladesh Writers’ Readers Publishers Council will soon brief the media about the crisis.

He has a proposal to reduce the book fair stall rent from Tk 18,000 to Tk 10,000, with incentives if necessary to make up for the loss in the current crisis.

Council’s member secretary Masool Islam Neel said, “The publishers have suffered losses due to the abnormal increase in the price of paper and increase in other expenses.”

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