Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bookshop & Bakery - The Dream Lives On

January-March's pickings. Am thrilled to find another Ann Rule after almost a year's break. Dean Koontz and Stephen King are Pak Abu's staple while Jonathan Kellerman and John Grisham are shared favourites. I had read Pearl S. Buck's 'The Good Earth' many times over the years but had never properly owned a copy until last week...

Another week is wrapping up and there's a lot to thank God for. For one, I am still breathing and that is a good enough reason to celebrate, for no gift is worth more than the gift of life.

Life's back on an even keel now that we've got wheels again after being carless for three weeks. Bought a secondhand car, a real beaut and at a decent price too I must say; so now there's one thing less to worry about.

Ever since Pak Abu's job contract ended mid-January, he's been spending most of his time on the golf course; much to my liking of course because he was out of my hair. Then disaster struck with the loss of his set. The smile returned with the arrival of 'Ena' last week; thank God for that too.

The Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair 2010 concludes today, bringing a much-needed relief for Nawwar. She's been living and breathing books for the last eight days, coming home past midnight sometimes in order to ensure a smooth flow of supply from the bookshop in PJ to the booth in PWTC.

She wishes to thank her mother's blogger friends and readers who stopped by her booth to say hello and to browse. With the exception of Dr Iskandar (Dr Bubbles) who introduced himself, they turned up and addressed her by name but didn't want to be identified!

The pins and needles are still bothering me and I'm thinking of paying a long overdue visit to the doctor Monday. Let's see if he can lay this bit of a bother to rest so I can get on with the business of living.

I was pleasantly surprised to note that 14 books were purchsed since January. That's more than the usual quota of two books a month. No regrets though. As far as I'm concerned, it's money well spent. The only regret, if any, is that books are so darn expensive in Malaysia.

Inculcating the reading habit among the young will remain a pipe dream if the prices of books are beyond the ordinary rakyat. Even with discounts, the prices remain steep, with ordinary paperbacks costing upwards of RM35 apiece.

Is there anyone out there who can explain why books sold in Malaysia are so expensive? In Thailand, one can get the same title in paperback at half the price.

I am curious to know the intricacies of book-selling business in Malaysia because son Naj harbours this dream of owning a bookshop. Hopefully that will come true some day, as with Awwa's dream of opening up a bakery....


NanaDJ said...

Yes Puteri, books are so expensive these days, I only realise how much I spend on books and magazines (not counting the magazines I get from the newsagent in Lucky Garden Bangsar) when MPH and Times send me statements for Income Tax exemption. I used to buy novels from Payless in my attempt to 'economise' but alas they have closed down their outlets at 1Utama and Amcorp Mall. But I can't go through a day without reading (or solving Killer/Normal Sudoku) so what to do?
Glad Pak Abu is mobile again, we all should meet up soon, can't wait for Kak Teh to be home before we meet again, entah bila dia nak balik lagi.Salaam.

Zendra-Maria said...

Kama, I pray that all goes well for you tomorrow at the doc's :)

Take care.

PS - What about a pic of the new old car?

Kak Teh said...

puteri, bookshop/cafe has always been our dream and i know it will re,ain a dream. good luck to naj and awwa,

Pp said...

Puetri Kama :-)

books...books...yes, where would we be without them!
Stephen King, Grisham, Petterson and Coelho are my favourites! wishes for Monday at the doctor.


sabre23t said...

Nana and Kama,

Have you tried BookXcess in Amcorp Mall? I recently read about them in the papers. Ref .

I haven't been there since Payless closed down there. But will make a trip to Amcorp Mall to see BookXcess soon. ;-)

AuntieYan @ Makcik Blogger said...

Salam Kak Puteri,

Betul...most books are very expensive. No wonder, if I nak pinjam pun, orang very reluctant to lend...:-(

I used to go to MPH...tengok harga dia jadi 'gerun', I end up kat second book store saja lah...:-)

Cik Puan Kamil said...

Dear Aunty May, have you found out yet ? I want to know why too ! I really hate limiting myself to 2 a month..

And please check with the doctor ASAP..

Anonymous said...

Kak Puteri,

Salam. Izinkan saya memberi pendapat yang tidak seberapa ini.

Mengikut pemahaman saya, harga buku menjadi mahal kerana harga kertas tinggi dan lambakan buku dari luar negara.

Penerbit menerbitkan buku dan bayar komisen pengedar 30 hingga 45 peratus. Malah ada yang minta lebih tinggi daripada itu. Penerbit kena bayar royalti penulis, penyunting, pembaca pruf, pereka grafik, pegawai yang menguruskan hal percetakan, kertas grafik dsbnya (ini adalah petugas yang mengurus penerbitan sesuatu buku secara direct, belum termasuk kakitangan sampingan yang lain). Selepas tolak komisen, yang tinggal kepada penerbit hanya beberapa ringgit atau sen sahaja.

Tidak seperti kebanyakan negara lain yang begitu menjaga penerbitan buku tempatan, kerajaan kita tidak pernah menyekat kebanjiran buku luar negara jadi penerbit tempatan terpaksa bersaing keras dengan buku dari negara asing.

Lagipun, kalau kita boleh beli barangan tidak atau kurang perlu berharga berpuluh ringgit takkan kita tidak bersedia membayar harga serupa untuk sebuah buku?

Rakyat kurang atau tidak minat membaca bukan kerana harga buku mahal tapi memang membaca bukan budaya kita. Masyarakat kita lebih bersedia untuk menonton televisyen berjam-jam daripada membaca. Masyarakat kita lebih gemar berhibur daripada membaca. Masyarakat kita lebih suka bersembang kosong daripada membaca. Noktah.

Kalau tidak masakan jualan akhbar kita jauh lebih rendah daripada jumlah penduduk dan jumlah penduduk yang boleh membaca? Sedangkan harga suratkhabar tidak sampai pun RM3. Ini bukan kerana kita tidak suka atau sudah meluat dengan cerita politik dalam akhbar arus perdana khususnya, tapi masyarakat kita memang lebih utamakan hiburan dan maklumat ringan daripada mengumpul ilmu yang boleh menjana pemikiran dan mengkayakan pengetahuan. Sebab itulah akhbar tabloid berbahasa melayu yang penuh dengan cerita-cerita sensasi, hal rumahtangga artis dan golongan vip, nasib malang manusia gelendangan paling laris di pasaran! Apabila kita membaca akhbar ini kita berasa amat tertekan.


Tommy Yewfigure said...

Hi Puteri,

I think that’s an achievable dream. You can incorporate the bookshop & the bakery cum cafĂ© (kopi-tiam style) in one outlet.

For the bookshop, u can also have a buy/sell corner where u buy in second hand book & re-sell them at a profit margin. It had been done before in Western countries but I do think there are some discerning book lovers market in PJ/KL that this concept will appeal too. Bolih kira macam single bar where people with same interest can mingle oso mah :))



P/S – I hope all will go well in your doctor’s visit, better safe than sorry kan? At least it’ll give u some peace of mind.

Anonymous said...

You can get paperbacks cheaply at the various warehouse sales such as the Big bookshop, Times and MPH. Its really worth it 'coz you can get as low as RM8 a book, though not by the famous authors. However at Times and MPH Warehouse sales some new books are sold at 30% discount.

Anonymous said...

Salaam Kak,

wow, I love Ann Rule so so much, that I ended up bought all second hand books on the shelves available in the local book store during my stay outside of Malaysia. I know it is sifat tamak, but cant stop :).

I agree that the books in Malaysia are darn too expensive, and dont know why it is that so. Sometimes I buy online via Amazon and have to mentally prepared to wait for at least a month.


Kama said...

Nana - I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm not adventurous or rajin enough in shopping around. I tend to go to places I'm familiar with, like MPH and such. I think it's time to jalan-jalan a bit more in shopping for books.

Zen - Ehe, nochet go. Been bz with other things. This week I go for sure.. ehe. Pix of new car? Nolah, malu. Nanti ppl say show off lak, not that kereta tu glamer.. just us both

Kak Teh - i hope they realise their dreams eventually...

Pp - Yes, books can make you forget about your worries and troubles for a while. medical checkup soon.. tunggu pak abu beleber .. LOL

Sabre - Am going to check out this place in Amcorp Mall. tq for the info. I like going to AM, ada satu shop on the ground floor, selling China-made tableware..nice and cheap!

Yan - I dah tak pinjamkan orang, Yan. Those books disappeaRED, never balik kat I.. hehehe..

Myra - me too, kalau boleh I wanna buy as many books as I can read in a month. I used to be able to finish two books a week, but since I started blogging, it's been tough to finish even one in a fortnight. So nows they are piling up.. Doctor's visit? Nanti tunggu pak abu letiaq..

Ayu - tw for your comment. betul tu kebanyakan orang kita suka tengok TV daripada baca buku. ni kena ada perubahan mentaliti baru boleh maju.

Tommy - precise what i hv in mind. that would be really cool, kan?

Anon - indeed. I did go such warehouse sales and the books were a bargain. The last time we went, my son and i ended up with a basketful of interesting reads.

Su - ah, another ann rule fan! best betul her writing kan? I can finish one 'ann rule' dalam satyu sitting..begitulah kusyuknya dengan her books.