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A book for a book: Bus stop turns book exchange counter

Monday, Jan 30, 2017,15:33 IST By anju A A A

Guwahati | What was once a bus stand has been transformed into a ‘book exchange counter’, with the aim to create awareness about the benefits of reading at the Brahmaputra Literary Festival here, that comes to a close on Monday.

The bus stop-turned-stall, that bears a banner reading ‘The world belongs to those who read books’, is not a conventional book shop but more of an exchange counter named, ‘My Bookstore… Bring a book, Take a book’.

“Since local buses remain the major mode of public transportation in the city, we thought this idea can have some impact on people and draw their attention towards reading books,” Anoop Khanna, the store owner said.

The stall is adorned with messages by bibliophiles expressing their love for reading.

One such message read, “I love books because they never ditch me. They are always there for me whenever I need them.”

In a reference to Valentine’s Day that is merely a fortnight away, another message read, “I never get bored of dating books. And what can be a better way to end January by going on a blind date with a book!”

An initiative by Priya Communications, the idea re-introduces the tradition of barter system where people can buy new books in exchange of the ones they have already read.

“It is such a wonderful initiative at low cost. The government must think about it. Why not have similar things in all districts?” Khanna said.

During the three-day-literary festival, the stall saw exchange of over 200 books in the first two days.

“Books deposited and borrowed include books written in English, Hindi as well as Assamese. A 70-year-old man visited the stall multiple times and exchanged nearly ten of his books,” a representative at the stall said.

The stall is also hosting plays and activities with the theme “a professional by the day and a book lover by the night”.

“We have invited a musician, a magician and a cobbler who love reading books. They will perform and show what they do during the day time to earn money and in the evening they will showcase their love for reading,” Khanna said.

The festival was inaugurated by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on January 28, making Assam the first state in North East India to host a literary festival.

Organised by the National Book Trust (NBT) and the Assam government, the festival witnessed 60 panel discussions, book releases, readings and cultural events, including film screenings based on books.