Much-awaited book fair opens in Lahore
LAHORE: The much-awaited five-day Lahore International Book Fair (LIBF) kicked off at Expo Centre, Johar Town, on Wednesday. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi, who is also the LIBF secretary-general, inaugurated the event.
Speaking on the occasion, Najam Sethi said the increased prices of books meant that the reading material was getting out of range of a common man as a result of decreased purchasing power. He said although e-media and internet were providing much of the reading material required to the majority of people but books had not lost their value either. “I am a strong believer that books will survive in this digital era.”
Sethi said the government should take notice of the issue and adopt measures to provide good books to citizens at accessible prices. He said the basic purpose of LIBF was to provide book-lovers a variety of material under one roof and that too at affordable prices.
Talking to The News, LIBF Administrator Saleem A Malik said that around 100 companies from around the globe were participating in the 28th LIBF. He said domestic publishers and many international entities from the countries like United Kingdom, United States, India, Germany, Singapore and Turkey had established around 273 stalls at the event.
According to Saleem, all kinds of books (from science to arts and fiction to philosophy) right from pre-school to higher education are available at very manageable prices. He said almost all the major publishers, including Ferozsons and Liberty, were offering discounts in the range of 15 per cent to 50 per cent at new and old books.
Although it was a mid-week day (Wednesday) but a large number of people from all walks of life were observed buying books of their choices at the event.
Jamshed Malik, Nadir Shah, Shakeela and Umar Waseem, while lauding the LIBF management, said, “At last, we got books of our choice at very cheap prices. We were waiting for the event anxiously.”
Nadir, who was delighted to see a huge collection of books, said that every stall was offering books at much low prices as compare to the market prices.
Talking to The News a number of visitors expressed the same view. A few of them urged the government to hold similar events at its own for the common people so they could get low-priced books.
Narmeen, a BBA student, said that the government should hold book fairs after every three to four months. According to Narmeen, book fairs should be organised in all parts of the country, including rural areas, to make these events more meaningful.
Abid and Muhammad Arshad at Gaba Educational Books stall said that the event should be held around November and December every year so that students could get maximum books of their syllabus at low rates.
The event would remain open for the visitors from 10am to 10pm till Sunday (March 2). The Lahore International Book Fair was established in 2006 by four prominent members including Zubair Saeed, Najam Sethi, Saleem Malik and Mohammad Faisal. It is a non-profit NGO. The LIBF is functioning with the objective of promoting book publishing and selling in the region.