Sunday, June 06, 2010

Mining for Books

I'm a bit late posting this, but there is a book fair, Read Malaysia '10,on at the moment at Mines Resort which you might like to go look at. About 200 exhibitors, local and foreign are expected to participate, and 400, 000 visitors are expected.

If you do go, please let us know what you find.


Frank, Wong said...

Went there yesterday and as expected, the standard has dropped (again!) this year. Half of the stalls are leased to computer hardware (i.e. electronic dictionary)sellers or language learning software peddlers. MPH is taking part and wasting space there by giving a less than impressive discount (mostly 20%) off their old stock. Sometimes it makes you wonder: Why the fuss to cart these books to the place in the first place, when you never don't have a real plan to market them? Spine broken and tattered-covered books with only 20% (some are 50%) off? Give me a break. You gotta really be there to see my point.
And now, what about the Chinese booksellers there? Well, nowadays the book fair is dominated by 3 major sellers: Namely Cite (a subsidiary from the biggest Taiwan publishing house), QingWen, and YouYi. As usual, Cite has attracted the biggest crowd as the collections are mostly new titles published in Taiwan this year. Taiwan books are renowned for their quality and design. Even though the books have got virtually no real discount for readers (the price is marked up 30% and 30% DISCOUNT is given to MEMBERS, so you do the math hahaha), they still manage to get some hard-core readers to stock up their titles there (mostly translated Japanese Mystery novels). Their "5 for RM49.90" and "2 for RM29.90" titles also draw in a massive crowd.
What about the other two? Well, one is major in an eclectic selection of books from Taiwan and Hong Kongo publishing houses but the collection is disorganized and the pricing is nothing different from Cite. If anything it feels 'CHEAP', not in the book-pricing way of course.
What about YuYi? Well, they are major in Chinese titles from China. Malaysian are misled by such a seller in many ways. First thing first, readers of Taiwan publications have a distaste of books from China as they feel these are of inferior quality. This is a faulty perception as China publications have achieved a such a leap in depth of their scopes and quality in recent years that Taiwan publishing houses are giving REAL attention to it. Yet, what have we got from the book fair in the Mines are very very very old stock that are dumped by China reader market and bought it by the cart load. And just when you think it couldn't get worse, the books are priced at a ridiculous level of mark up (RMB 1 -> RM 1, that's dollar to dollar conversion, and 30% will be given to members hahaha).
All these Chinese booksellers are reluctant to price their merchandise in any other different way. Some saying that they need to for every book sold, they need to spare the cost for another 20 not-so-pupular titles. Justifiable or not? You decide. That's why I bought very little from Mines Book fair nowadays. Couldn't imagine the standard two years down the road...

XMOCHA said...

I saw someone on my twitter(who is usually sweet and patient) complain about the "horrendous" parking at Mines.

Iskandar Syah Ismail aka DR Bubbles said...

went there this evening.

I am not sure whether they can reach 40,000 visitors or not this year.

I went up the stage to recite poem with the Read Malaysia guest artiste for the evening, Aizat. At least I felt that I did justice to the poem, Tanah Jantung by Dr.Lim Swee Tin by having a duet-poem-recitation with Aizat to entertain the audience.

Anyhow, bought books from Dr.Lim Swee Tin's booth.Good books indeed.
Highlight of the evening was listening to funny anecdotes by Dr. Lim regarding a young man buying his book to woo a girl.Funny and really sweet indeed.