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Book market prospers with releases of new, older titles


A book fair held in Yangon in January, 2014 (Photo – EMG)

YANGON—With the end of censorship, the book market is now in better shape than ever, thanks to the publication of new and old books, according to writers and publishers.

The book market started declining in 2005 but began its revival after the 2010 election and has continued to improve since then. 

“Now the book market is in better condition. Readers are interested in books,” said writer Myay Hmone Lwin.

“However, the current condition in the market is only improving in some areas. Some books sell in large quantities while others rarely sell. This is because good books that have never been published before are now being published for the first time. These books are a bit pricey, so readers are less willing to buy other books.”

If the market still seems thin, added Myay Hmone Lwin, that is because many good books were released after the end of censorship.

“These books seem to fully take up the whole book market. But, this is also a chance to compete for readers’ choice,” he said.

Holding literary talks and book fairs is another reason for increasing reader interest, as people are eager to become more in touch with literature after so many years in the dark.

“The Myanmar Publishers and Distributors Association was able to hold literary talks and book fairs in 2012. A country’s standard depends on the public’s interest in literature,” said Thein Soe, joint secretary (1) of the MPDA.

“We are trying to revive the declining book market and the disappearance of book rental shops by holding these literary talks and book fairs. I have seen many readers participating in these events with a lot of interest.” 

Sales have been increasing at bookshops lately, especially in the areas of politics, biography, and historical genres, and novels are now included on the bestsellers list.

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