‘High prices promote pirated book industry’

  • Govt asked to establish a joint committee to oversee prices of books

ISLAMABAD: The rising prices of books were causing a dent to the business of publishers as well as a number of readers was also shrinking being converted towards E-books reading and internet surfing.

Book publishers and readers urged the government to formulate a proper policy under which the prices of the books could be reduced. Ejaz Rahim, a gold medalist and writer of bestseller book – Sacred Thirsts, Secular Hungers, based on his poems, admitted the fact that imported quality paper was a major reason behind the high rate of books.

He said that big names have to maintain their international standard so they pay taxes on purchasing of imported paper, whereas some local book industries use substandard material while compiling books that was why their prices were comparatively low. As compared to neighbouring countries, the local publishers made it difficult for a common man to read books, he said.

He suggested the government to establish a joint committee to oversee the matter so that the books on religion, culture, sciences & technology, anthropology and art could be in reach of everyone. He underlined the need for setting up a policy for the writers’ encouragement and provides them benefit as well.

Zahra Akmal, a public relation officer of one of the leading publishers, stated that they were compelled to keep prices high as they do not compromise on a standard. “We consume imported paper though we have to pay high taxes on it.” Before publishing any book, “we keep a backup plan to stay away from the absolute loss,” she said.

“We see the billboards and advertisements on promoting films, cosmetic products and music concerts but never observe any promotional activity of the books,” said Hassan Abbas Raza, a renowned writer. High costs of the books not only discourage readers from buying original books but also promote pirated book industry which damages writers and readers both simultaneously, he said.