Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Corporate Censorship?

Oh dear. Poor Amir doesn't have much luck with getting his creative projects out.

Now he's hit a couple of major snags with the publication of New Malaysian Essays 1:
At 3pm Tuesday, I reached a verbal agreement with a large distributor in PJ to handle New Malaysian Essays 1. We agreed on the quantity, retail price, some modest promo stuff.

At 9am Wednesday, I got a call from the printer. This printer is also part of the same corporate family as the distributor. I was told that the corporation is "unable to associate itself with the book". It refuses to print or distribute it.
Why the corporate self-censorship, I wonder? Is it the fear of that political sensitivities being stepped on around the time of an election? Is it the somewhat naughty words in Amir's alternative dictionary?

I'm doing a final proofread of the collection.* (Didn't manage to get out of it even by not turning up for Amir's proofreading "party"!) As far as I've read, it's really good stuff, well-written and well-argued. One of the most exciting collections of local non-fiction I've come across recently.

If Big Distributors Sdn. Bhd. don't sell the book, it begs the question, who exactly is being protected? I don't think the answer is the Malaysian public, because anyone who can read the book in English and follow the line of argumentation is undoubtedly mature enough to make up their own mind about issues!

If alternative means of selling the book are needed, I have every faith that they will be found.

It's times like this you bless independent bookshops like Silverfish.

And, Amir, if you are doing your pasar kutu stint again, I would like to help.

Although, of course, we can all pre-order the book here.

Postscript (25/1/07):

Good news for Amir. Information from sources reveals that the company is happy to both sell and distribute the book. It is only the printer who has pulled out, and yes, it was the dictionary that gave offence.

*Still, I'm having a lot of fun wielding a red pen above the work of the bloke who always picks me up about the teensiest grammar or spelling slip on this blog when it is too early in the morning to care.


Anonymous said...

And sometimes when a book is deemed 'hot', 'sensitive' or potential ban-list material (what else), sales will rocket as proven by May 13th.

Keep pushing, Amir.

boris said...

the dictionary that gave offense.
Offense? Tsk Tsk Sharon! Proofreader? Sorry to be pedantic - it's the beer.

boris said...

BTW, FYI I got here via Helen Ang and Malaysiakini. I also enjoy Dean Johns.

bibliobibuli said...

you're right, boris, it is an oucher, isn't it! i wouldn't trust me as a proofreader!