Poor-talented students’ faith in Sajid’s old books
Published: 08:39 PM, 8 August 2022
Sajid Islam’s bookstore; Photo: Daily Bangladesh
Sajid Islam has been selling old books by sitting on the pavement for almost 19 years in Sylhet. He is better known as “Islam Bhai” to book lovers and students of schools, colleges and universities. Sajid Islam is the trust of many poor and talented students as a seller of old books at low prices.
There are also a large number of students who have purchased books from him, from college level to post-graduate degrees. Not only that, but he also buys old books from students. As a result, Sajid has developed a friendly relationship with the students.
Sajid Islam has been selling books since 2003 on the footpath at Chowhatta Point in Sylhet city. Every morning, he sits on a shelf of hundreds of old books. He has been selling books from morning till evening. Apart from academic books for school, college, university and medical students, Sajid has a huge collection of books by famous authors including local and foreign magazines, novels, research papers, journals, and reference books.
The number of new books in his collection is not less. Poor and talented students of various institutions including Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), Sylhet Agricultural University, MC College, Sylhet Government College, and Government Women’s College buy old books from him at a low cost. Especially, many students of SUST come to Sajid to buy books. Due to that, he developed a friendship with SUST students.
Besides, students of various institutes including MC College, Sylhet Govt Women’s College, Madan Mohan College and other institutions buy old books at low cost here. Many have gone from college level to graduate degrees by buying Sajid’s old books.
When asked how this business started, bookseller Sajid Islam said that once upon a time, traders from Dhaka and Chattogram used to come to Sylhet to buy old books at wholesale prices. “I used to supply them old books. After that, I thought of going into this business myself.”
“In 2002, I went to Nilkhet in Dhaka with an acquaintance and got a good understanding of the business. Then came to Sylhet in 2003 and started the business. Since the beginning, I have been selling books on the sidewalk at Chowhatta Point.”
“In the beginning, I used to collect books from Dhaka. Now one does not have to buy books from outside Sylhet. I buy old ones from school-college and university teachers and students. Besides, old books can also be collected from thrift dealers. Then sell them to poor and talented students at a small profit. Apart from this, I sell stories, novels and books of famous local and foreign authors to many book lovers. Besides, job aspirants also buy various types of job preparation books at low prices. Academic books are sold at an average price of Tk 100 to Tk 250. Other books are priced based on author and quality,” Sajid said.
He added that most of the buyers are graduates and postgraduates. Academic books sell more in the first six months of the year. The remaining time is relatively less. But stories, novels and books by famous authors are sold throughout the year. Many students have been acquainted through book sales. They are in a much better position now. Some are abroad but still keep in touch with me. This is my biggest achievement.
Hasan Shahriar, a student of MC College, came to Sajid on Sunday afternoon to buy IELTS books. He bought five books for Tk 200 at the bargaining stage. Hasan Shahriar said buying these books from the library would cost at least Tk 1000. But I was able to buy it from here for only Tk 200.
Abdul Muhit, a student of SUST, who came to buy books at the same time, said that many academic books are available here at a low price. Besides, story books are also available at low prices. Sajid Bhai was introduced through the elder brothers of the campus. I often buy books from him.