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March 13, 2017

T2F’s bookstore — an effort to lure people back into reading

Karachi

March 13, 2017

With the T2F bookstore launch on Saturday evening, it seems that Karachi’s dwellers are slowly rousing from a deep slumber which kept them at a distance from old bookshops.

Collaborating with Mr Old Books which earlier had many branches across the city, the initiative aims at saving old bookstores by providing them with a platform where they may be able to expand their sales.

The bookstore owners, however, were not present on the occasion but they had left a documentary for the visitors that showed how none of them was sure if the shop would close down after them or not.

“Earlier, many booksellers would turn to Sunday Bazaar but after it was closed they had lost many customers. So by giving them space here, we might be able to help them,” said Asad Alvi, who hosted the launch.

He added that the books ranged from fiction and non-fiction to Urdu translations of Franz Kafka, Anton Chekhov and Albert Camus among others.

Speaking about the availability of books, one of the visitors said while old books had their own essence it was not easy to find new ones except in bookstores which sold them at exorbitant rates.

It was also pointed out that the major reason why readers faced this problem was the dearth of local publishing houses. Earlier, many locally published books could be bought at low prices. Turning to one of the oldest questions about the dying reading habit in adults, many opined that it varied from one group to another.

“Many times our elders feel that they’ve read enough because they can only read in one language and because of the less content published in that language, it’s difficult for them to read other books,” one of the visitors said.

The launch was followed by an open mic by the Nakaam Ashiq Society, wherein people of different backgrounds performed, sang ghazals and read out their own poetry.

Alvi also mentioned that the monthly book bazaar would become a regular feature to open doors to book lovers and outdoor space might also be used for that purpose.

Celebrating the launch, a mushaira was also held the next day to revive the centuries-old custom of oratory poetry.

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