Decline in sales and high Taliban taxes send booksellers onto the streets

Decline in sales and Taliban taxes send Herat booksellers onto the streets

Booksellers in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat have been forced to sell onto the streets due to declining demand, high taxes imposed by the Taliban, and unaffordable rents. 

Bookstores in the city are on the brink of closure as the ongoing challenges have made it nearly impossible to continue with their businesses, the booksellers say. 

Ibrahim has resorted to selling books on roadsides and the streets at low prices. “People no longer buy books from our stores. Not many are interested. For us, the rents are high, taxes are heavy. We can’t on.”

Ahmad, another bookseller, told KabulNow that he sells up to 30 books on the streets per day. “It is better here than the shop.”

Nasir Ahmad Saeedi, a university student, says he buys books on the roadsides. “Low prices here may encourage people to start reading again.”

The Taliban’s ban on women and girls’ education, the booksellers say, have caused huge damage to their market. The group also regularly inspects bookstores to ensure no “prohibited books” are sold.