The thriving culture of piracy in our country owes to our lack of regard for copy-rights. Some of the chains at very critical junctures are attached to the foreign publishers themselves. In Pakistan, contrary to the other countries the branches of foreign publishing houses are near to non-existence. In the absence of domestic publishing houses, the price we pay (if we choose to) is parallel in monitory terms to international level; which in turn gives birth to book piracy. If the alternative is out there for people then a few raids on bookstores cannot stop them. Low prices just serve as a tempting incentive to buy something; things that otherwise we would not have bothered considering. A lot of books in my collection are those which I would not have bought in ordinary circumstances, maybe because they didnt initially seem interesting or simply that I did not know the writer. But due to their humble 'pirated prices I had no hesitation in buying them out. Unethical and illegal as it may seem, we should not forget the fact that book piracy to some extent compensates for the virtual non-existence of libraries in our country. Not only it helps developing reading culture in students but also makes us a part of the global readers community. Paying for expensive books on technology, medicine and business in addition to the degree dues is practically impossible for many students. The import of books should be made easier and the rates should be controlled, especially for students and book lovers. Plus, we should also urge for the establishment of sub-offices of international publishing houses in our country. Famous publishers like Penguin, Granta and others have offices in India because of which the reading culture has developed and has led to the growth of local writers as well. Reprinting the foreign originals here legally with the collaboration of foreign press companies will bring down the book cost. Not only will this help the readers here but will also prove beneficial for foreign publishers/writers by curbing book piracy. HABIBA YOUNIS, Rawalpindi, February 3.