Sounds inconceivable! But the fact remains that adult literature, including books in Bengali, continues to be a hit at Kolkata Book Fair. The emergence of increased internet accessibility to pornographic videos does not seem to have made any impact on the sale of such literature in paperback.
“We have patent customers. They come every year,” said Panchanan Banerjee of Mousumi Publications. Asked how the availability of online book shopping and e-books affected their sale, he pointed out that although the books published by them are sold online there are many buyers who purchase such literature from their stalls. “These books are quite popular. Their sales figures are quite impressive,” Banerjee said.
“Actually, the newer publications are available only at the stalls and every year we come out with a new set of publications. Price fluctuations are obviously there but that is negligible,” he said.
Vyatsayan’s Kamasutra-Chousotti Kala, Ganga, Bhanumati O Bhanimatir Nabaranga by Samaresh Basu; Noshto Tarar Alo by Prithiraj Sen; Ghora Narir Sura by Debabrata Basu are some of the hot-selling books this year as pointed out by Banerjee.
Shrestha Das, a school-going girl from North Kolkata, was found going through Shilpa Kanitkar’s Sex Worker - Ek Jouno Kormir Aattokotha.
“I don’t have regular access to videos as I don’t have mobile and net connection at home. So I decided to come here with my friends,” she said.
Sumit Sarkar, a resident of Sonarpur while leaving with Noshto Tarar Alo said, “Not every book is available online. Plus I love collecting adult literature. I always get something new at the fair.” Sajol Das, a resident of Raja Ram Mohan Roy Road, who visited with his wife, said video is temporary. “The interest is finished as soon at its ends. A book, on the other hand, is like an asset. Certain stories and incidents stay in our mind for long,” he said.
Ribhu Dutta, an aged man from Belur, said videos are for amateurs, while books are for creative heads.
“It leaves much to the imagination. I love reading them,” while flipping through the pages of Ganga by Samaresh Basu.
By the recorded footfall and the ongoing sales it seems like the sale of this publications will not come down soon.