The Book Fair

Expo Centre’s been hosting quite a few exhibitions on a regular basis. One of them is a book fair. This is the third year of this fair and none of us are complaining. I have been attending it since it started out (not very long ago). The first year, there was a tangible hype, everybody wanted to buy books. Some sellers especially Liberty and Oxford offered thin slivers of discount. Other stalls had more to offer, yet since their popularity hadn’t soared they failed to carve a niche. Media also covered it extensively.
The second year too, it got bigger. Many stalls adorned children’s books. Activities were planned for their young readers, food courts got bigger. More book stalls attracted more people. This year, it’s been pleasant and safe. Like the previous years this year too, there were children nagging their parents to buy books, nerdy-looking people engrossed in searching title after title and housewives browsing through coffee table books.
All of that is great but my area of concern is the pricing. Good books (in terms of a jacket, smartly bound, visible print) were priced from 400 and above at Liberty. Which is insane. A book worth six hundred rupees at Liberty Books cost 300 rupees at Paramount. This forced me to think about what’s the standard pricing poilcy and who can afford to buy these books? Hardbound books world over are comparitively expensive. But 2000 rupees for a book on photography is way too much money for a student to spare. I wish these book sellers set realistic profit margins so that the rest of us can take advantage of such bookfairs. What’s you take on this?
The fair will be continue till the fourth of December.

19 Comments so far

  1. PatExpat (unregistered) on November 30th, 2007 @ 10:04 pm

    No one has objection at spending the same amount of money on a single dinner at a fancy restaurant most of which (dinner ) leaves the body in the next 24 hours and we don’t think twice about it. However, a book is for life and we complain so much about their prices which are less than the cost of dinner and usually take more than 24 hours to finish.

  2. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on November 30th, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

    Well, I do not know the real story, but the publishers complain of high taxes on paper and other printing costs. Plus, some of them like OUP keep the profits high ’cause they have to send some of those to their parent firms.

    Paramount keeps its prices high so as to distinguish itself from the Urdu Bazaar horders.

  3. silver (unregistered) on November 30th, 2007 @ 11:32 pm

    I was shocked to see a group of my friends spend Rs 10000 at a restaurant for a buffet… ohhhh my!! all the poor souls who earn 2000 a month… talk about income disparity!!!

  4. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on December 1st, 2007 @ 12:01 am

    One Bottle of Scotch Whiskey costs 3500 ! and an average of 70 – 275 bottles are sold by the permit shop to visitors each weekend, consumption of BEER at the same parking lot is unaccounted for. The permit shop is located off saba avenue close to cafe clifton. The famous tea shop of sea view area.

    Books fairs are like soft shadow of comfort in such miserbale scortching heat of cable TVs, internet and cell phone mania.

    Buying books is sign of we being still breathing, and have hope to rise again.

  5. PRO-PUBLIC (unregistered) on December 1st, 2007 @ 3:44 am

    how many public libraries(big ones) do we have in the city, any clue??

  6. wasiq (unregistered) on December 1st, 2007 @ 9:51 am

    in 97 when HM the Queen visited Karachi the british council karachi computerized and in 2002 it closed down the library for ever…..
    So who is wasting the time now…..?

  7. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on December 1st, 2007 @ 11:56 am

    7 in total 5 operational 2 (under renovation) besieged by Govt SPOOK agencies as covert places.

  8. PRO-PUBLIC (unregistered) on December 1st, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

    @Jamal sahib

    thanks very much for info.

  9. MB (unregistered) on December 1st, 2007 @ 1:53 pm

    went there yesterday and yes the books were kafi mehange. Dont know about the TAX & PUBLISHERs side of story but yes everything that can help this country progress is not for common man.

    The variety was fine as well as the overall environment. Mostly i saw elders and familes and people who are there to buys some books. I wanted few but as i said quitly costly so i only managed few.

  10. Ramla A. (unregistered) on December 1st, 2007 @ 11:08 pm

    Fairs of this kind usually offer great lower prices to the customers. But beware! I had photographed a book, the price tag of which was carelessly overlapped with a higher price sticker! An addition of some 70 bucks if I remember correctly.

    The Indian stalls did a roaring business in the first fair, and the second time around – most stalls had sold out.

    The book sellers should consider offering crazy discounts to encourage crazy loyal book readers.

  11. Ramla A. (unregistered) on December 1st, 2007 @ 11:18 pm

    Addition to above – I photographed the said book in the first fair.

    Anyhow what with Harry Potter book 7’s price sliding down from 1600 to 900 in only about a month – we can have an idea of the sellers’ profit margin. Hopefully someone will get better sense – and encourage people to get hold of decent original versions at great prices.

  12. fAr stAr (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2007 @ 1:47 am

    i visited the exhibition on the first day. found some great books, but the price tags of them were a bit higher then what i can afford. but for someone who loves reading, and also buy those expensive books, it is an opulent exhibition.

  13. Kashif (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2007 @ 3:02 am

    I went there last year and bought around 2500 worth of books. Had no idea so many good books will be there for such discounted prices else would have taken more cash with me. Lots of good indian books where there (I bought some related to Tech and Investment). Then there were good islamic books with up to 80% discount. Incidently, Oxford books were more expensive than indian books of same category.

  14. IUnknown (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2007 @ 3:33 pm

    hows the book fair except costly books?

  15. tee (unregistered) on December 4th, 2007 @ 12:13 am

    i went there today… been going there since the first fair was held three years back. its wonderful to see so many books at one place and the environment is generally great. What i love about shopping at these places is the fact that you get to meet so many other book lovers and then the way everyone is so keen to recommend books and talk about other books by your favorite authors.

    but the sad thing is the pricing. its not about whether we spend more on dinners, it just that a book lover would want to buy as many books as s/he can. and one would expect book fairs of such scale to offer discounts of more than a measly 15% which is nothing. i had been looking for a particular title of a fiction book for quite some time. when i finally found it at liberty it was ridiculously priced at Rs 795!

    Secondly, i wish they would make the exhibition much more of a colorful affair next time to attract more people. its all so dull and drab. readings from books, local authors etc would be great.

  16. faylasuf (unregistered) on December 4th, 2007 @ 12:18 pm

    i wz there on friday, i.e. first day of the exhibition and even though the turn around of audience or prospective book readers was not very healthy it was good to see a healthy book fair in terms of the product on offer and suppliers comin up to offer, at the same time it was frustrating to observe the lack of discipline, should i refer to it as lack of professionalism? Liberty was the single interesting and organized place to skim thru the books

    i would agree that the discounts vr not very motivating but then would disagree that the books are being priced too high. obviously the books are expensive if you don’t want to part with yr cash!

    i hope no one wud start with the debate on earning power and lack of proper facilities for the underprivileged.

  17. Kiran (unregistered) on December 4th, 2007 @ 4:33 pm

    I went to the book fair on Monday and i was very disappointed .. No doubt the variety of books was there but they were way too expensive ..
    I LOVE reading books so the problem of spending lots of money on them is never an issue .. But even then i’d like to be able to buy more books rather than spend all my money on just one book ..
    It’s understandable that hard bound books cost a certain amount of money but then these book fairs should also cater to the bookaholics who buy for the pleasure of reading rather than the pleasure of the book’s cover ..
    Sad to say but i didn’t buy a single book i liked over there .. Just bought 2 notebooks and the latest Synergyzer issue .. They did some nice branding over there ..

  18. Ameer Hamza (unregistered) on December 4th, 2007 @ 8:23 pm

    Asalam u Alikum,

    Last year they had too many good books with huge price tags. Some books were reportedly expensive than what they are on ‘normal days’. One of those books was caught red-handed by my friend who fired at the sheepish-looking salesman. It was either Paramount or Liberty, both off course business people having no love for people or the books. That incident was duly reported by yours truly in Daily Dawn letter’s section.

    After reading this post I am quite glad that I didn’t make it to the Expo. Much thanks to the horrible rush we have there every single day during evenings.

    I hope Govt. which is presently either digging or building roads consider book-reading an important adventure and start investing in it. This could be done by simply selling books at throw-away rates. This may also be done by forcing publishers to sell their books on heavy discounts.

    May Allah help is all. And may Allah bring down the prices of the good books.

    Ameer Hamza

  19. IUnknown (unregistered) on December 5th, 2007 @ 1:06 pm

    i went there yesterday and i found nothign goood than vanguard . Books were costly but still an hour of searching made me worth going to the bookfair.

    Hall #1 must have been a good place if i have visite there on first two days,. There were books stall of US companies. They must have good boookss on history and as well as technology.

    The boook fair was good. Better than previous one but prices nneeds to be lowered.

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