“We are maximizing our business through online sales and mobile book fairs”

says Imran Ahmed, President, All Assam Publishers and Booksellers Association in conversation with AABP.

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All Assam Publishers and Booksellers Association represents the publishers and booksellers in Assam. Imran Ahmed, President, All Assam Publishers and Booksellers Association shares a brief about their association and how publishers in Assam are handling this Covid-19 pandemic.

Visions and objectives of All Assam Publishers and Booksellers Association

“Our vision is to spread the culture of reading books among all sections of people, our motto is “Buy Books, Read Books, and Spread Reading Culture.” The organisation works within the state but with close relationship with the book industries of neighbouring states. We organise the North East Book Fair, the only mega book fair of this region since 1998. The 21st North East Book Fair was inaugurated by the Vice President of India, Honourable M. Venkaiah Naidu, along with Chief Minister and Education Minister of Assam. We have a dream to transform it to an international level,” shares Imran Ahmed, President, All Assam Publishers and Booksellers Association.

Members and their benefits

“More than 500 booksellers and publishers are associated with our association. We stand together with solidarity for the benefit of the book industry. Members get the support to access all state and central government schemes for the strong leadership of our association. Similarly, most of the procurement orders from education institutions and universities are awarded strictly to our members. Our permanent office with a space of 1000 sq.ft. is situated at the heart of the book market in Guwahati and we also plan to develop lodging facilities for members,” tells Imran.

Challenges faced in the pandemic…

“The spread of virus posed a threat to the health of humans and the lockdown became a collateral of that threat. Though lockdowns could contain the spread to an extent, it has greatly affected the economy and has challenged the stability of business. Our organisation is obviously not prone to the damages of the widespread pandemic. The shutdowns of business as per government rules has cost us huge losses in business opportunities. It was not only Covid that was weakening us, what also affected us was government’s schemes of providing free textbooks to the students. We realized that the sustainability of the whole industry would be in question and hence we are requesting the government to amend the scheme with our memorandums with the support of our members,” he shares.

The road ahead…

“Recovering from the effects of Covid will definitely be a challenge to the markets all around the world. But to come out of the stagnation, we are planning to maximize our business through the online market. Also, to keep up with the tradition of spreading culture, we are organizing mobile book fairs in rural and remote areas with the help of NBT and planning to explore other areas. Being a huge family of publishers, it is sometimes overwhelming to receive support from all the members. We plan to march forward through this together like a big family in all our future endeavors,” concludes Imran optimistically.

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