Govt caps prices of English books for libraries

According to a government order, the English books would be purchased at the rate of 70 paise per page.

In a move that could leave public libraries starved of quality English books, the government will now cap the prices for procurement of these books on the lines of the Kannada publications.

At a time when the state government is pushing English medium education in schools, experts feel that this move could result in a short supply of quality books in government libraries.

The government procures Kannada books for supplying them to the Department of Public Instruction and the Department of Public Libraries at the rate of 70 paise per page. In a government order, it has now been stated that English books as well would be procured at the same price.

This is as against the previous norm of purchasing English and other language books at a discount of 20%.

Sources in the Department of Public Libraries told DH that this decision was a result of lobbying by several Kannada publishers who want to create demand for their books. “They know that English publishers will not supply books at these rates. Such problems arise when writers turn publishers. Several officials in the department and the committee for book selection had opposed this move,” said the official.

According to norms, the government permits 80% of the budget for procurement of Kannada books and 20% for other language publications.

The official said it is unlikely that the international English publishers would agree to such pricing which would eventually lead to they stopping the supply of books.

‘Students at loss’

Prof Pandurang Konnur, president, Kannada Pustaka Ayke Samithi (Kannada Book Selection Committee) said that the student community at large would be at loss with such a move.

“It is not be possible to fix this rate for English books. The students will suffer if the books are not supplied to I agree that there are quality Kannada books in the market and we also have the best writers. However, it is equally important for students to have access to other language books,” he added.

Kannada publishers, however, are of the opinion that this would curb the “unnecessary” pricing. Sanjay Adiga, a Kannada publisher, said that several English publishers were previously quoting high prices for their books.

However, he agreed that on the other hand, the supply of good books might take a hit with such a move.

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