PAKISTAN: Schools supply pirated books at high prices

Pirated textbooks, bearing labels of well known foreign publishers, are being provided to students on the price of a genuine book

Dawn
Sunday, December 7, 2003

PESHAWAR, Dec 6: Pirated textbooks, bearing labels of well known foreign publishers, are being provided to students on the price of a genuine book.

Parents of a schoolboy studying at a school in Hazarkhwani area said that they had bought a pirated book at a price matching that of a genuine one.

Pirated books are usually sold in canteens of small private schools in the wake of the huge demand for textbooks printed by foreign publishers as they are included in most of the private schools' syllabi.

The quality of paper and printing distinguishes a genuine textbook from a pirated one: The paper used in pirated books is of very poor quality and colour pictures are faded.

"Genuine books have a special publishers' logo and the company's fixed price is also printed on the back cover of the book," a bookseller in Saddar area said.

Foreign publishers, whose books are included in the syllabi of private schools, include Oxford University Press, FEP International Publishers, Gaba primary English series (Nursery- VIII), Ken Education Company and Win International.

Despite promulgation of copyright laws, the government does not seem to be bothered about implementing these laws to curb the incidence of pirated books in the market, said one of the dealers of foreign company.

"Almost 80 per cent schools recommend books published by the Oxford University Press that is why most of its books are copied by printers involved in piracy", another bookseller said.

An official of the Peshawar Textbook Board said: "The print industry in the NWFP is not reliable. Labels of foreign publishing companies are misused for peddling pirated material. That is why we (textbook board officials) want magisterial powers to curb the incidence of textbooks' piracy. These powers will enable us to initiate legal action against such unscrupulous printers."

A bookseller, while stressing the need to bring uniformity in the syllabi of the public and private school, said: "There are only 20 registered printers in the NWFP and seven others were blacklisted by the PTB. But even so, it is difficult to check the incidence of textbook piracy."