News in the Star today of a proposal to revise the National Book Policy which will be submitted to the cabinet in a couple of week's time. The proposal calls for cheaper books, tax incentives for local publishers, 1,200 libraries in small towns, "reading corners" (now what exactly does this mean?) and bookshops at strategic locations to promote a reading culture in Malaysia, and particularly it seems in rural areas. The Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak meanwhile urged bookstores to set up "reading kiosks", or mini-libraries.
Any initiative to get the public reading is to be welcomed. But whether such measures suceed depends entirely upon implementation - and that means that the folks on the ground need to be convinced.
Reading spreads virally through advocacy. You catch the reading disease from another booklover.
Don't you find it strange though, that the bookstores are being asked to take on such a central role in providing areas for "free reading"? They do after all have the economic bottom line to think about.
As an alternative, I wonder if companies might be asked to sponsor mini-libraries, and be given tax-exemptions on the donation. Just think of the advertising opportunities!
How about the the McDonald's Kampong Sungei Buaya Chicken Burger Library or the Nokia Tanjong Hantu Reading Kiosk?
Hey, I'm serious!
Worth reading: Ted's take on the National Book Policy