Monday, April 16, 2007

HP7 - Coming Your Way Soon?

Was much tickled to see a sign up in MPH 1 Utama which said simply:

HP7

21/7/07

Ah, the Malaysian love of abbreviation!

But independent bookseller Raman won't be selling the latest Harry Potter he says, and who can blame him:
With the big stores all offering a 20% discount on the book we had to follow suit. The operating cost of an average bookstore is approximately 20%. And after we gave away another 20% in discount, we were actually selling the book at a substantial loss. Why do that? (In the US and UK the discount was 50%. Go figure. The book industry is bizarre. Bookstores, especially the mega ones, have been defying gravity for far too long. The music industry does not sell newly released, best-selling CDs at 50% discount, does it? No wonder Borders is losing money, and has to pull out of UK.)
Bookshops in the UK are in a lot of trouble these days with supermarkets buying in bulk and undercutting them. In Malaysia we may be the beneficiaries as yesterdays' pile-'em-high-and-sell -'em-cheap best-sellers are shipped here by the container load to create a crisis for the established bookshops here.

6 comments:

Sham said...

I love bookstores and would hate to see them all go out of business...big boookshops, quaint bookshops - I lap them all up.
HOWEVER, I cannot resist a booksale and the huge discounts online stores accord!!!
I wonder where this will lead to eventually. I suppose the bookstores would have to start diversifying what they do - which I believe some have already started - writing workshops, readings, story telling....

mel said...

A friend is thinking of opening a simple bookstore like Bookxcess, selling new books at low prices.

Would you happen to know how they got started? Did they just call up the overseas publishers/distributors & negotiate a deal to buy their excess stock at basement prices?

bibliobibuli said...

dunno mel - all i do know is that books are bought on consignment by the container loads from agents in the UK when they are no longer fresh enough to attracted the supermarket hoards

(pay less' books are second-hand books which would be pulped or become land-fill in the states)

is there honestly room on the market for another cheap book provider here considering there is only a certain size pool of bookaholics who feel overwhelmed at the moment? but it would be great to see cheap books going to other towns in malaysia because at the moment everything is concentrated in the klang valley

i too have mixed feelings. cheap books delight (and will help to grow a readership long-term) but we may be paying for them in the long-term if bookshops start closing because they can't compete

and when you buy books from big bookshop and bookxcess i don't think any money goes to the author, does it?

Ron said...

When Australian bookshops price HP7 at $49 and Kmart sell it for $29, it's a no-brainer where people are going to buy it.

I buy about 90% of my books from The Book Depository in the UK now: their prices and backlist are great and their free air express delivery to Australia is icing on the cake.

I feel sorry for the local bookshops but I can't to subsidise against competition like TBD.

Chet said...

A little OT here, but I hope you don't mind, Sharon.

AcmaMall is offering a 20% discount on all books at their site - www.acmamall.com. Plus, if your order totals RM200/- and above, shipping's free.

I used to order from Amazon what I can't find in the shops here. Now, I check Amazon for the info, and then go to AcmaMall to see if they have the item, and then order from AcmaMall.

I just ordered 4 books from them yesterday, including two Peanuts (big fan of Snoopy).

Anonymous said...

Chet: I refuse to order books from a store that can't spell "confectionery" :D

I mean, seriously :P