Bookstore owners in the country say registering every book title with Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA) is illogical. BICMA Act mandates all the stakeholders to register internationally published books.
Even though the rule was in place since 2006, BICMA began enforcing it only recently.
Trinkets and Book World’s Owner, Nirpa Raj Rai said every book they import should have BICMA’s registration number on the first page. “How can we do that? I am neither a publisher nor can I ask publishers in India and abroad to print BICMA registration number on the books. They will not agree.”
He said sticking stickers and writing on it is also not a solution. “Then the books don’t look clean.”
Rules for Publication states all imported publication registered for sale and distribution within Bhutan shall carry “BICMA registration number” on the first page of the book.
“I had almost 100-200 titles that I bought from DSB because they are also a distributor. Now will they give me a separate registration or will they ask me to use the same registration?” said the owner of Tashi’s Childern Bookshop, Tashi Choden.
She said she is quite confused how BICMA is going to implement the rule. “Different publishers publishes same title book. How are they going to do all that? They have to be practical.”
They now also have to pay additional Nu 5 for every book title as registration fee to BICMA. The bookstore owners are already paying 25 percent tax on imported books.
“We have tens of thousands of books in our book stores and it counts to more than 100,000 titles. If we have to pay Nu 5 per book, then we land up paying more than Nu 500,000 for the books which we have bought already for the last 24 years paying the government taxes,” said DSB’s owner, Bedhu Prasad Bhattarai.
BICMA had brought down the registration fee from Nu 500 to Nu 5 in March, this year.
BIMCA, on the other hand, say the whole registration process is to filter the content of imported books.
The Chief Information and Media Officer of BICMA, Lakshuman Chhetri said it was mandatory for the book houses to deposit three copies. “It was big burden to them so we brought down to one publication. We will see if we think some titles have to be reviewed and kept with authority.”
He says if the bookstore owners do not adhere to the rules and regulation, BICMA may cancel their licenses.