Govt urged to reduce duty on paper to popularise reading culture

Zubair Qureshi

In spite of alarming decline in the sale of general books mainly due to increased use of smart phones and youths’ obsession with Facebook and other social media sites, books are still popular with a large number of people and one can see quite a good number of customers buying books at the bookstores in federal capital and the garrison city.
Bookshops in Saddar, Westridge, Satellite Town, Commercial Market, Committee Chowk, and Sadiqabad are doing great business and proprietors there say they are thinking in terms of expanding their businesses.
Although literature and self-help are the two evergreen subjects, yet there are a number of new subjects which attract readers, especially youth, says Ziaul Qamar who is in the book business for the last fifteen years. He said SMS books are being sold like hot cakes.
Teenagers anxious to send new text messages in the form of poetry, prose or jokes to their friends are falling for them. Also, new editions of Habib Jalib’s books Jalib Beeti and Ehd-e-Saza were sold in large number especially because of the Jalib’s death anniversary. Among the international bestsellers, the all-time great Del Karnegie, is still a craze.
His books have been printed in new hardbound large size volumes; youngsters are desperate to get a copy, he said. Meanwhile, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol are as popular as ever, he said.
In the Islamic sector, Dr Zakir Naik, Maulana Tariq Jameel and Maulana Maudoodi are in good demand. However, interest in Maudoodi is fading. Zia says books by South American writers sell most; Paulo Coelho, Garcia Marquez and Pablo Neruda top the list.
Among South Asian authors Mohsin Hamid, Daniyal Mueenuddin, MeiraChand, Khushwant Singh, Kamila Shamsie and Arundhati Roy were in demand. The reading type often frequent Books and Books, Sony Books,Ashraf Book Agency, Kitab Ghar, Ahmed Book Corporation, Capital Book Depot, Rehman Book Depot, Gulf Book Centre and Idrees Book Depot. And the bookworms are found in old book shops digging for something unique.

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