Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Does Size Really Matter?

MPH celebrates the 10th anniversary of the opening of the first book megastore in the country - the branch in Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur, and in Starmag Rouwen Lim finds out all about it.

Says MPH's chief operating officer Donald Key :
Back in 2000, the concept of a mega bookstore was something new. We were not sure how Malaysians would take to this idea but we took a risk and went ahead with it. Right from the beginning, we had contests and events such as storytelling sessions, fashion shows, talks, craft, cooking and hair styling demonstrations. ... This lifestyle concept was an instant hit with the customers. They had not seen anything like it before in bookstores here, and it transformed the entire industry.Today, of course, we are no longer the only player in the industry. But the industry has changed for the better and we are proud to have contributed towards that.
It's interesting how quickly we have got used to the concept of the huge bookshop. I must confess that I seldom visit this branch of MPH because the size of Mega Mall (Mega Hell!) freaks me out, but much prefer the 1 Utama branch.  My favourite huge bookshop, of course, is Kinokuniya, and it's high time I paid it a visit and did some serious damage to my credit card  ...

But I must confess that hugeness for me isn't a selling point - my perfect bookshop would be small and intimate and squidgy and have just the books that I wanted to read. So let me ask you what you think - is bigger necessarily better?

By the way, MPH are celebrating with some tasty offers.


Floral said...

I find that the bigger it is the better the chance of finding what I want...

Also, I like my personal space and don't enjoy cramped areas.

Bigger also means more likelihood of having a cosy little seating area where you can sit and preview a big pile of books! A cute gurgling fountain would also be a bonus.

Bigger stores are more impersonal and allows one to spend the whole day browsing without looking like an odd character!

That's just me, though. :)

Frank, Wong said...

For me, size is not the ONLY criteria. Completeness and variety are essential too. A satisfying bookshop must show Respect towards readers in a sense that they do not treat their patrons as idiots or people with only cursory interest in books. I like Kino because they do treasure their image and show their sincere sign in pushing reading habits through different promotions and campaigns every month. You can see that they DO have a plan in this. Unlike MPH which has never a direction in their marketing(at least I don't see it).

Anonymous said...

Size isn't important. Big, small, medium. If it has the books I want or stocks some esoteric titles that I never knew existed but would love to read, then I'll shop from that place.

But I'm still a fan of the online bookshop because I can do it at all hours and I can do it in my undies if I want. Can't do that at MPH!

srirahayumohdyusop said...

Dear Sharon,

I love a big bookstore in a small complex. Kinokuniya is good because I never got lost in Suria KLCC to reach the top floor. I've gotten lost in Mid Valley a few times and decided not to go there again. I loved Pay Less when it was in Ampang Point. I love BookXcess in the neat Amcorp Mall. I love the Popular stores because of the cheap stationery.

Grandpa said...

Dear Sharon, when you are not reading or reviewing books, and have some free time I would like to invite you and your readers for some free entertainment at my blog


which I started last month.

But it's not advert-free: as a retiree, any income, however small means plenty. Hope to see you there. Many thanks

Grandpa said...

Dear Sharon, after I started to follow you, I came accross your post: "Your Story, On Receipt". I tried my luck with one submission - it was published!

Thanks to you - am I now officially a writer?

p.s Don't forget to visit my blog. Thanks

Aishah said...

My all time favourite bookstore is a small dusty second hand bookstore called "The Land of Green Ginger", which I discovered while visiting a friend in 1996. I don't know if it's still there but I loved going there every day to look at the books and also to visit the many cats that lived around the shop, sleeping sometimes among the bookshelves. No contest necessary, just lovely furry fat cats lying around. Very cosy.

Sunflower said...

I like big bookstores because they have more variety and choice, and places to sit while browsing (if not, I tend to sit on the floor!).

Any Idiot Can said...

The problem with buying books in Malaysia is that, usually, they're more expensive than in Thailand, where I live. Which is weird, as many other things in KL are actually cheaper.

Not that that stops me from buying books in KL :)

Bab said...

I've gotten lost in Mid Valley a few times and decided not to go there again. I loved Pay Less when it was in Ampang Point. I love BookXcess in the neat Amcorp Mall
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