PESHAWAR: Seratullah-Khan-41 and his two sons Sajid Ali Shah and Nooran Ali Shah were busy in collecting books from shelves for loading in a pickup parked outside his shop in Peshawar Saddar Bazaar. They had decided to wind up their life old books business and start a burger and other fast-food in this shop instead. “We want to quit the book selling business in the shop for good and have decided to open a shop of fast-food here as this whole street of books shops is converting into a fast-food street.” He claimed that because the books readerships had relatively been reduced and the people of the city did not wish to spend money on the books, Khan explained, while emptying the cabinets from the old books and loading it for some unknown destination in the Suzuki. Old Books Street in Peshawar Saddar was famous for low price and general books. The people from all over the province used to visit the street for purchasing books of different categories and interest. The street once comprised 30 booksshops but now only a few shops left with meagre books in their shops as most of the shops owners have switched over to the fast food business. The shops owners consider the business of fast food in the Sadaar a well profiting sort of business and thought it more earned more mone than that of the book selling. “Every kind of Pushto, Urdu, English, Persian, novels, fictions, and theology, medicine, and political science books were available in these shops but currently only these shopkeepers are selling stationary and mobile cards. The customers are fewer and the books are more,” Khan shared. Khan said that due the lack of readership of books gradually the business of books has ended and now the sellers are compelled to start another business for their livelihood. Due to lack of readership of books not only is the Old Books Street converting into a food street but the huge shops of books have also converted to other businesses. In February 2011, the most famous Saeed Books Bank Peshawar branch, was closed down and converted into a cloth shop. However now the second mega books shops Shaheen Books Shop Peshawar has also stopped business in the city. The owners have started the food business after closing the previous one as they see no benefits in continuin it furthermore. Shaheen Books Shop was establish in 1990 at Jamrud Road in University Town Peshawar. The shop had 20,000 books of every language, novels, fictions, history, theology, medicine, herbal and politics. According to the shop owner, not only people from Peshawar but from other districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) visited the shop and purchased books of their own interest. With the closer of this large bookstore not only have the owner and eight members’ staff suffered but have also affected the high number of book keen readers. Amir Aziz, nephew, of this book shop owner Mustafa Kamal, who would run the shop from 16 years said that due lack of readers and customers of the books they had decided to close down this shop as they cannot fulfil the expenditures and other requirements of this shop. Aziz added that initially their per-day sale was around Rs100000 to Rs200000 while now they hardly sell a book or two in a day. “Militancy has destroyed their business because educated and intellectual people had left the country or shifted to other provinces,” he shared. He also said that non-governmental offices shifted to other areas and government could not publish books and provide them to schools — which greatly affected their business. Associate professor at University of Peshawar, Prof Dr Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi, has posted a picture of the closer notification of his shop on the social media page at which the people have posted their reaction which is as follows: Muhammad Usman: We are going in the negative direction; very soon our next generation will face the issues. Malik Adnan: The PhDs are growing in numbers but the book stores are closing one after the other. It’s a matter of great surprise. How universities are producing such a huge number of PhDs despite the fact that book reading is declining. Akhtar Ali Shah: There were times when we had a Municipal Library, National Centre Library, British Council Library and the American Center. Community Centre with a Public Library was part of the Master Plan of Hayatabad. It has been turned into a commercial enterprise as a marriage hall. Asfandyar Munawar: I came back to Peshawar after a long time and was shocked to find all book shops, old book shops closed.