Source: Tehran Times
A number of Iranian publishers have expressed grave concern about the increasing initial reluctance to read books shown by ordinary people.
A bookstore in Tehran (photo by Farshid Alyan)
About 100 bookstores have closed over the past year due to lack of enthusiasm for reading books, Salis Publications Director Mohammad-Ali Jafarieh said a meeting on Sunday.
"The reality is that bookselling is not economically viable any longer," he added.
He said that the Tehran Municipality should intervene to resolve the problem.
Salis's shop is one of about 20 bookstores located between the wear shopping center and the jewelry shops on Karim Khan Street in downtown Tehran.
Jafarieh and a number of his colleagues have pleaded for help from the mayor of District 6, where the bookstores are located.
"Our only expectation is that the municipality would improve the environment on Karim Khan Street so that passers by could experience a special cultural atmosphere," Cheshmeh Publications Director Hassan Kiaian told District 6 Mayor Fakhreddin Soleimani, who attended the meeting.
Soleimani said that the municipality plans to set up plazas at the Haft-e Tir Square, which is located at a distance of 500 meters on the eastern end of Karim Khan Street.
However, he doubted that the plan would be implemented in the booksellers' area.
Due to people's reluctance to read books, the municipality does not feel certain that any improvement in the environment would help the bookshops resolve the problem.
Analysts believe that Iranian people's aversion to book reading points to factors far beyond a lack of an appropriate environment for booksellers.
They said that the high cost of living in Iran is the major reason for the unwillingness to purchase and read books in Iran.
The Iranian middle class, which includes a large part of the book readers' population, has to work day and night to make a living. As a result, they have neither money for books nor time for reading.
Iran National Library and Archives former director Ali-Akbar Ash'ari announced in 2008 that Iran's per capita book reading rate is two minutes every 24 hours.
Many Iranian officials censured Ash'ari for his remarks after which they began to cite higher numbers for Iran's per capita book reading rate.
Last week, the general secretary of the Organization of Public Libraries announced that every Iranian spends 79 minutes reading books and magazines every 24 hours.
No source was mentioned for the figure by Masur Vaezi, who is also the secretary of the Public Culture Council.
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