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Dhaka’s bookstores now offer different ambiance


Some new bookstores, opened over the last one year in the city, offer booklovers not only an array of local and international books but also a cozy environment with the arrangement of light refreshments, reports UNB.

Some bookstores with cafe such as Dipanpur, Bengal Boi and Batighar, and cafe with library like Nerdy Bean, the first-ever cafe in the city with library, were introduced to the urban bookworms in 2017.

With the changing trend in book-reading culture, the booklovers now tend to look for places where they can go through the books for a while before buying any and also where they can go together with friends for hangout as well as to discuss and talk about the books.

Appreciating the initiatives of such bookstores, Sanjoy Basak Partha, a student of Dhaka University, said there should be more such bookshops in the city. “To make people interested in reading books, such bookstores can definitely play a very important role,” he said.

Having a reader-friendly environment is as much important for a bookworm as choosing the right book, he said while buying books from Batighar Dhaka. “Such stores with serene environment are definitely a good initiative to encourage people to read more,” he said.

Bhatighar Dhaka, designed in the Mughal architectural style especially like Lalbagh Fort, offers the book lovers over 1 lakh books and a corner where they can enjoy reading with a sip of coffee.

Tarek Abdur Rab, manager of Batighar Dhaka, told UNB that the main attraction here is the bookstore. “People come here to buy books. We offer them a corner where they can sit and get some small refreshments when they feel like having some.”

“People can spend a good amount of time here and read books if they want. We want people to come here, move freely and go through the books while roaming around so that they don’t get exhausted or bored,” he added.

The availability and a good collection of books create more scope of creating quality readers, Tarek said, adding that when people will find their desired books available in a store, they will visit it more.

Dipanpur, which also started its journey last year with an aim to fulfill slain Faisal Arefin Dipan’s dream to spread knowledge, offers a corner named ‘Dipanjali’ where people can read books over a cup of coffee or snacks.

“We want people to get a place where they can talk about books, discuss about books. We want to create a happy environment for the readers where they can sit comfortably and read books,” said Salma Siddique, one of the directors of Dipanpur.

Dipanpur also has a child corner where parents can keep their kids busy with toys, colour boxes and books spending time with their friend circle, she added.

Also having a corner to hold aesthetic programmes, Dipanpur is all about offering a platform where people can share views on various issues.

Bengal Boi, another newly-launched bookstore in the city, also offers a wide range of books and a cozy environment where people can enjoy books and snacks, even breakfast.

People are now seeking novelty in the reading culture and the lost reading habit in the city is coming back gradually, claimed Bengal Boi Operations Manager Golam Sarwar Farouque.

This place is not only for serious readers, but also general readers who come here and more often they seem to buy one or two books willingly, he added.

Welcoming the initiatives of such bookstores, Tanzila Chowdhury Antara, a student of Dhaka University, said she personally likes such stores as they are different from the cliche bookstores.

“Here you can come anytime, sit as long as you want and read the book you like and then can buy if you like,” she said, adding that this is the environment that attracts the urban bookworms the most.

Md Anwar Hossain, owner of Boi Bichitra, the pioneer in chain bookstores in Bangladesh, claimed people these days tend to visit cafe bookstores more than the regular ones due to the changing taste of readers.

While the city saw these new cafe in-bookstores, there is a cafe which has for the first time in the country included library facility for its customers and that is Nerdy Bean in Dhanmondi.

Designed in a theme of vintage look, the coffee shop aims to offer its customers a feel like sitting in their living room where they can read books from their initial collection of 1,200 books, said it store manager Sheikh Sazid.

Arani, a student of North South University who visited the place with her friends, said, “You can come alone or with a group of friends here. In both cases, you’ll have a good time with a good cup of coffee and some really good books.”

While the bookstores and coffee shops are attracting book lovers and contributing to creating a reading habit among people as well, Pathak Samabesh, one of the premier bookstores of Bangladesh with both national and international books, has introduced a new service for their customers with a survey. Through this service, collecting customers’ email addresses and preferable genres, they will inform the readers about new books so that people can easily find their preferable books from the store.

Offering space for the members to sit and read, Pathak Samabesh is also working to involve people in reading books through its service, said Roksana Akhter, admin of the bookstore.

“It’s a good thing that children now can spend time with books in stores like PBS or British Council as it indicates to creating future readers as well,” said Safir Abdullah, a student of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet).

The concept freshly introduced in the city can play a great role in boosting the reading culture while increasing readers, say urban booklovers.

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