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Booksellers list GST woes

Guwahati: Assam publishers participating in the 19th North East Book Fair said the production cost of books had increased by 10 per cent after imposition of the goods and service tax.

It is the first book fair after the Centre imposed the GST. The prices of new editions of many old and popular books have risen compared to earlier editions, they said.

In 2016, demonetisation, which was announced on November 8, had badly affected sale of books at the fair.

Many publishers said they hoped to make up for the huge loss this year.

"After imposition of GST, the production cost of a book has increased from 10 to 20 per cent. Ultimately, we have to pay more to the printing press," Gokul Kalita of BR Publication, a Guwahati-based publication house, said.

"The government did not impose any GST on books. The publication business is now hampered by the new tax. The production cost is higher. This has affected the whole business," Kalita said.

Kamal Kumar Medhi of Akhar Prakashan, a city-based publication house, said, "We have to pay 18 per cent GST for multi-colour printing and five per cent for general printing. Production cost of a book has increased around 12 per cent. Every publisher has to increase the price. Overall, the whole business of publication in a small state like Assam was affected."

The general secretary of All Assam Publishers and Booksellers Association, Dhiraj Goswami, said, "Around 80 per cent of books are now priced over Rs 100. Only some books of earlier editions are priced below Rs 100."

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