An employee of Rokomari.com, an online bookseller, scans a barcode before sending it to the packaging department from where it will be delivered to the customer. Photo: COLLECTED

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An employee of Rokomari.com, an online bookseller, scans a barcode before sending it to the packaging department from where it will be delivered to the customer. Photo: COLLECTED

Although the Amar Ekushey-2022 Book Fair began on Tuesday after being postponed for half a month due to the surge in Covid-19 infections, readers have already started buying the published books targeting the annual event. through online platforms.

The higher Covid-19 infection rate and the delay in the launch of the fair had disappointed the young poet Aleem Haider. He worried that this year’s fair would be as depressed as it had been last year.

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It was a concern during the sale of his new book, Shwapnoloker Shontrash, where he rediscovers the beauty and opulence of nature in his village at the height of the pandemic.

But to his surprise, his publisher Moni Mohammod Ruhul Amin, director of Agradoot, told him last week that more than 100 copies had already been sold online.

“There was a vacuum in book sales last year due to the pandemic, but writers, readers and publishers have prepared for this year with a greater online presence,” Haider said.

Amin said most of his establishment’s online book orders this season have been through platforms such as Rokomari.com and Othoba.com.

“Additionally, customers can also pre-order or order directly from our website. We have developed an online mechanism as readers are more inclined to place orders online amid the pandemic,” he said.

According to publishers and online platforms, Internet sales have increased by 50% to 100% during this pre-fair season compared to the same period last year, when they fell by more than 50%.

Plagued by the pandemic, Baatighar, a publishing house hoping to gain a reputation for good taste in book outlets and quaint stores, introduced its own online book sales mechanism in 2020 amid the pandemic. . This effort paid off.

Owner Dipankar Das said online sales doubled in the first two weeks of February compared to the same period in previous months.

“New books published by us and translated books are selling well. Besides, the demand for non-fiction and classics is also good,” he said.

Marking the show, it offers discounts of 25% to 40% throughout February on online and physical purchases.

Publishing house Prothoma has launched an online book fair from February 1 offering a 25% discount.

“We started the online book fair before the actual fair, in line with readers’ expectations and we are getting the expected response as online sales have increased,” said Jakir Hussain, director of the publishing house.

Readers order fiction, autobiographies, children’s books, books on politics, religion, liberation warfare, essays and research, he said.

“We are getting a good response online and the sales are increasing day by day as people get used to shopping online,” said Mazharul Islam, publisher of Anyaprakash.

According to him, around 15-20% of the publication’s total sales are normally made through online orders.

“But for this year, the share of online sales would increase significantly,” he added.

According to Mahmudul Hasan Sohag, co-founder of Rokomari, Bangladesh’s largest online bookstore, online orders rose 30-40 percent in the first two weeks of February compared to the same period last year.

When the government imposed a strict nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19, online book sales plummeted due to logistical problems and a decline in people’s purchasing power, a he declared.

“However, the pandemic has brought many people online. Overall, there has been positive growth during the pandemic,” Sohag added.