The Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2006 beginning today (Wednesday) on the Bangla Academy premises will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia at 2:30pm.
The Bangla Academy authority has earned an estimated around Tk 2.5 million from the allotment of 461 stalls in the country's largest book bonanza.
Bangla Academy Book Fair Coordination Committee (BABFCC) 2006 has allotted 461 stalls to the participants violating the rules as the latter permit a highest of 400 stalls to be constructed.
"This year, 461 stalls have been allotted among 305 participants and around Tk 2.67 million has been allocated for the holding of the fair," said Murshiduddin Ahmed, an official of Bangla Academy.
He added that this time, 30 per cent discount rates will be offered to the buyers against 20 per cent in 2005.
The BABFCC has fixed the rent for small stalls at Tk 5,000, medium stalls at Tk 9,000 and large stalls at Tk 20,000 for the entire tenure of the fair.
For getting stalls participants had to apply in academy supplied application forms at a cost of Tk 300 and contributed Tk 1,000 each as stall construction cost.
Bangla Academy first started selling its own publications in 1972 at discounted price and in 1974, sale and exhibition of books were made on the occasion of 21st February National Literary Conference.
From 1975 onwards the outside publishers started participating and the book fair received formal recognition in 1978. Since then, the number of participants has risen progressively, and in 1984, a set of rules was formulated and book fair was named as Amar Ekushey Grontho Mela.
This year, 305 participants are occupying 461 stalls against 318 occupying 464 stalls in 2005. Moreover, 312 publishers participated with 457 stalls in 2004, 267 with 400 stalls in 2003, 240 with 357 stalls in 2002, 237 in 2001 and 215 in 2000.
In 1994, a record number of 653 participants and in 1997, 520 participants took part in the fair.
The estimated cost for the fair is Tk 2.65 million this year against Tk 3.1 million in 2005, Tk 2.4 million in 2004, Tk 2.2 million in 2003 and Tk 2.45 million in 2002.
Starting from February 1, this year's book fair will continue until the month end and the fair will remain open for all everyday between 3pm and 9pm. But on holidays, it would remain open from 11am and 9pm. On February 21, it will remain open from 8am to 9pm.
This year, steps have been taken to beef up security and each participant has been instructed to collect no more than two laminated gate passes at a cost of Tk 25 each.