Satkhira Book House is a well-known book shop in Satkhira district town. Before all educational institutions were closed because of the pandemic, the shop used to sell books worth more than Tk1 lakh per day. Now the sale has dropped down to Tk5,000-Tk7,000.
Pranesh Mondol, manager of the shop, said, "Our business is in a very poor condition now. The sales have decreased to Tk5,000-Tk7,000 per day whereas it was more than Tk1 lakh before coronavirus pandemic.
"As all the schools and colleges are closed now, only guidebooks on job recruitment tests, current affairs and Adarsha Lipi for children are being sold. We are now struggling to manage monthly expenses. It requires around Tk80,000 every month for salaries of four employees, shop rent, electricity bill and others."
Another big book store in the town is Boi Mela. Jahangir Hossain, proprietor of the shop, pointed out that the book traders are the worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
"I have faced a loss of more than Tk10 lakh over the last five months. Currently, the sale is very poor," he said.
Mamun Hossain, owner of Popy Library, said students usually purchased creative books alongside other books. "As all the schools, colleges and coaching centres are closed now, students do not buy books," he said.
"As there is no pressure of study and examinations, the guardians have also lost their interest in buying books," he added.
"The book traders of the district have incurred more than Tk10 crore losses in the business over the last five months," said Kaiyum Sarker, general secretary of Bangladesh Book publishers and sellers Association's Satkhira unit.
"Many book traders have debts. Besides, many of them are unable to give salaries to their employees. In a nut shell, book traders are in dire straits," he added.
Book businesses in all the 280 book shops in Satkhira are going through the same problems.
Coronavirus was first detected in Bangladesh on March 8. All the educational institutes were closed from March 17 as per the government's decision. Since then, all activities of the educational organisations have remained suspended.
The Business Standard talked to several students in the district in this regard.
Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinee Boishakhi Akter, a resident of the town's Sultanpur area, said, "I have not been able to concentrate on study properly during the period of coronavirus pandemic. We are passing days in uncertainty regarding the HSC examinations. This is why I have not purchased some books, which I need to buy."
Mehedi Hasan, who was buying a guidebook on job recruitment tests from Popular Library of the town, told The Business Standard, "I am a student of honours first year at chemistry department in Satkhira Government College. I need not to study any academic book now as the college is closed. So I have bought this guidebook on job recruitment tests. I have been passing days in frustration."
Abdullah al Mamun, the district education officer, said, "We have not got any instruction over reopening of the schools and colleges. Currently, online classes are going on. But online classes require only electronic device, notebook and pen."