Rows of small tin-shed shops stuffed with books at Nilkhet market attract a variety of buyers ranging from gardener to architect, thanks to a booming photocopying business.
People rush everyday to the book market, close to Dhaka University, Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, for new arrivals.
One can find a copy of latest publication whether it is a science journal or a novel by a famous author.
The market has been maintaining pace with fast changing taste and technology. It can now offer books with attractive covers to give them a new look.
It has turned into busy centre for reproduction of world famous books, taking the advantage of the technological advancement.
The market has now daily business turnover worth more than Tk 9.0 million.
Market sources said 70 per cent of the total books available in the market are Xeroxed and these are reproduced by utilising photocopy machines and off-set printing faculties.
They said on an average daily sale turnover of these reprinted foreign books is estimated at Tk 7.65 million.
A shop owner preferring anonymity said the shop that is known for having a good stock of books on specific disciplines like medical, commerce and engineering earns upto Tk 40,000 a day.
But a stall selling books on TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, MBA, spoken English and general knowledge fetches Tk 6000 to Tk 10,000 a day.
"This market has now the strength to copy a book within a very short time after it is published in the United States or the United Kingdom," said another salesman preferring anonymity.
The shop owners said students are their regular customers. They said the students are not only the customers of the foreign books. There are academics and researchers frequenting the place for the latest publications.
At least 12 educational institutions, including Dhaka University, BUET, Dhaka College, Eden Girls' College and Home-economics College have given the market a strong base.
While talking with a number of shop owners, it was learnt that this area was occupied by the old book vendors during Pakistan and post liberation period. But it has been gradually expanded with setting up of photocopy, scanning and binding machines.
Recently, the popular Nilkhet market was divided into two markets - Hazrat Bakusha hawkers Market and Islamia Market.
Bakusha market is mostly concentrated in reproduction of foreign books and the Islamia market is the sales centre.
Zia Giasuddin Mohon, superintendent of Hazrat Bakusa Hawkers Market Cooperative Society, claimed that he was the third individual and a student to open a small shop in this market after buying a photocopying machine in 1987. He said the number of shops doing photocopying business increased to 50 within a year.
The markets have created self-employment opportunities and part-time jobs for the low income group.
"Everyone is aware of the breach in copyright, but prefer to remain silent as it helps the students to buy the expensive books at a very low price," said another salesman preferring anonymity.