Pirated version of books in Pakistan

Now publishers and renowned bookshops are also complaining of piracy.

Moreover look at the comparison done on the demand of reading books in India and Pakistan.

Moreover he's also trying to introduce a new concept in Pakistan, "Buy online, Pay offline"

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After seven years of sluggish customer response to the online purchase option, Liberty Books has now introduced the ‘cash on delivery’ offer, wherein customers pay in cash after receiving their merchandise at their doorsteps.

“Pakistanis hesitate to use credit cards online. That’s perhaps because of cyber crimes,” said Sameer Hussain, Director of Strategy and Business Development at Liberty Books.

The ‘buy online, pay offline’ offer promises to deliver books for a minimum order of Rs500 anywhere in Pakistan between 48 and 72 hours at no extra charge.

Liberty Books introduced the online purchase option in 2004. Its response has been dismal, as less than 5% of the total revenues come from online sales. With the country-wide launch of the first-of-its-kind offer, Liberty Books expects its online sales to go up by at least 10%.

The share of online purchases in total sales of books at Paramount Publishing Enterprise is 5% as well. With 11 retail outlets across Pakistan, its online operation has also received a lacklustre response over the past many years.

“Few readers buy books online. One, the number of credit card users is still relatively small in Pakistan, and two, somehow people have a perception that there’s little regulatory oversight vis-a-vis the online use of credit cards,” said Raza Wasim, Media Manager at Paramount Publishing Enterprise.

Paramount also offers the cash-on-delivery option to its customers, albeit at a very basic level. Wasim says the company delivers orders only in those areas of Karachi that are close to its two retail outlets in the city. Therefore, this facility is not available in Landhi and Bin Qasim towns, he said.

Small market size

Hussain says the answer to the question as to what makes a book ‘bestseller’ varies from country to country. “Even if a book sells over 200 copies in the entire country, we call it a bestseller. That’s because the Pakistani market is very, very small. In India, however, about 200,000 to 300,000 sold copies make a book bestseller.”

Citing the example of an Indian book titled “Nadir Mashroobat,” Wasim said Paramount could sell only 1,000 copies in six months in Pakistan. “Before we imported it, over 350,000 copies had already been sold in India. That’s the kind of difference between Indian and Pakistani markets.”

The significant difference in the market size cannot be attributed to the population factor only. Liberty Books and Paramount – each of them claims to have 30% share in the retail business in Pakistan – say that 90% of the books they sell are imported. India, on the other hand, has a thriving publishing industry with easy availability of locally produced cheap paper.

Moreover, India has far more local writers willing to work with publishing and retail companies than Pakistan. “We asked aspiring writers through newspaper ads a few years ago to write books for us. In response, we received just three emails. Imagine the response a major Indian publisher would get, if it asked people to write for it through a newspaper ad,” Wasim said.


According to Liberty Books’ estimate, pirated books take away roughly 50% of the total retail business in Pakistan. Hussain says it is futile to expect the government to crack down on piracy in books. “What can we expect from the government if it can’t even control the illegal trade in music and movie businesses, whose volumes are a lot bigger and more visible?” he said.

The pirated version of Radiant Way, a popular series of books for kids by Paramount, was available in market at half of its original price within days of its publication, Wasim said, adding that Urdu Bazaar and Khori Garden were flooded with pirated versions of engineering and medical books originally published or imported by Paramount.

“You can’t carry on unless you’re a passionate reader yourself. You’ve got to have a real passion for books. Profit margins alone can’t ensure your survival in this business,” Hussain said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2012.


BOOKS are loads expensive in Pakistan as compared to India . Moreover , buying books online really increases the cost , especially from liberty books .

On the other hand , OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS offers free shipping all over Pakistan and the minimum range of ordering is 250 Rs.

^_^ ^_^ :lol::lol::DB):D

I think people should do away with printed books. Now that ebook are improving day by day. Printing books requires a lot of time and wastes a lot of trees.

Does it matters if a book is pirated or not? the content matters and i believe if the writer really tends to inform people willingly then there is no need to publish books in such high prices. afterall the end for every book in pakistan is on Pakoray wala's "rehri".

Well, I mostly agree with what Tribune article said about Pakistan and book reading. Very few, lower than salt grains in dough (maybe more lower), are the book readers in Pakistan. And that sadden me. Unfortunately, I know very few people who actually read books, and out of them only less than half-dozen people I know with whom I can discuss and debate on things/theories/ideas mentioned in a book that I read. This sadden me more as their numbers is going down with their death.

Pakistanis are Mujra and talk-show people. That's blunt but that's true. People I know, either they fell into category who enjoy "talk-shows" on TV, whether it's political, current affair, women talk-show, or cooking. What is left fell into another category who are "mujra" people, who love to see "stage-shows" or things close to it and always eager to talk or imitate actors in them. Where are the book readers? Dead or dying breed.

Moreover, majority of books are very expensive and they come in hardcover, printed on excellent paper with superb cover and design. All which is good only for bookshelf, not for reading. I want a cheap paper-back book printed on third-class newspaper paper. All I want is the content of book, not a book to show "hey, look how beautiful is my bookshelf". I have asked about it and almost all publisher said same thing "people want books to display in their bookshelf".

Moreover, it's our education system which is pathetic. It forces students to do "Raata". It discourage students who actually study books. What's more pain in the neck is that our education system is one of the most strict systems in the world (India, Pakistan and Japan). Compared to Western education system, we are living under Stalin. That's why we have such failed education system in Pakistan. That's why we bring up robots, not humans, who read books and write books to share ideas.

E-books are great. I recommend everyone to shift to e-books. I myself read e-books. I am able to find many books in e-book format which I can't find in Pakistani market either because nobody read them or they are censored thanks to nanny government of Pakistan.

For God's sake, start reading books and ask questions later whether you read pirated or not. We have an extreme deficiency in Pakistan, It's more severe than famine in Africa. Moreover, you might know that most of large publishing houses printed "special" books (paperback and on newspaper paper) especially to be sold in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh etc. (with words printed on them "not to be sold in USA and Europe"). :D I still have those books, but now a day, it's hard to find such books.