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Area of interest bookstores in Malaysia are holding their very own, whilst COVID-19 hurts companies

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KUALA LUMPUR: Whereas COVID-19 has harm the viability of many companies, unbiased bookstores in Malaysia are holding on to their clients, because of loyal bibliophiles preferring old-fashioned print on paper. 

Amid the pandemic and its motion restrictions, common clients are buying extra publications, generally through on-line platforms. 

In June, following motion restrictions all through Malaysia, well-known bookstore chain MPH Group Sdn Bhd closed lots of its retailers. Its CEO Donald Kee stated then in a press release that the corporate would shift from a brick and mortar enterprise mannequin to a digitalised ecosystem. 

Regardless of the difficult enterprise setting, smaller bookstores seem to have discovered their area of interest promoting particular collections. 

READ: BooksActually bids farewell to Tiong Bahru and transforms into online store

Gerak Budaya bookstore supervisor Wong Ho Wai instructed CNA that his institution in Petaling Jaya, Selangor has through the years received over a gaggle of readers preferring a tough copy e book quite than an e-book or a Kindle. 

“I’ve been a bookstore supervisor right here since 2017. From my time right here, I realise that most individuals nonetheless want studying bodily books. 

“In fact that is most likely additionally because of the common age of our buyer base which is round 40 and above. Our youthful clients are normally journalists and people who come in search of for tutorial supplies,” he stated. 

Moontree Home is a bookstore promoting Chinese language titles. (Picture: Moontree Home Fb)

Equally, Moontree Home in Kuala Lumpur which sells solely Chinese language e book titles instructed CNA that it doesn’t foresee clients shifting to e-books any time quickly. 

Retailer proprietor Regulation Yee Wan stated that in relation to Chinese language books, the next of readers can final for many years. 

“Chinese language (books) readership may be very small, particularly in Malaysia and these small group of individuals determine bookstores and proceed shopping for the books they want from there. 

“I opened my bookstore in 2010 and now 10 years later, I nonetheless have the identical 20 odd clients come to me once they want their provide of books. In fact, the readers are growing older and the titles they select will differ however they’ll proceed coming,” she stated. 

Along with the regulars, Regulation stated there are “come and go” clients who are typically youthful. 

“They arrive right here to get their tutorial provides. That market is one other one that will nonetheless want printed books for at the least one other 10 years,” she stated. 


Whereas the Motion Management Order (MCO) had affected the viability of many companies, bookstores with a distinct segment following noticed elevated gross sales as an alternative. 

“By MCO, we’re doing on-line strategies of promoting and our web site has been doing loads higher than earlier than,” stated Wong of Gerak Budaya. 

He defined that individuals had been nonetheless apprehensive about popping out to buy. So that they purchased books on-line and had them delivered as an alternative. Print continues to be the popular medium. 

“About two years in the past we tried to promote e-books… Actually, it didn’t do effectively in any respect. For us and our readers, it’s the normal print on paper for certain,” he stated. 

READ: Bookstores face rising rents, but some find ways to keep going

Intelligentsia E book Station proprietor Cheah Moon Chung stated that many who frequented his 27-year outdated bookstore had requested for him to promote his books through a web-based platform. 

“However we haven’t achieved this on-line gross sales earlier than. So we use our current web site for our readers to get quotes for his or her books then name us and place orders. 

“Then we put together the books for them in order that they will simply come and choose up with out having to spend time within the bookstore,” he stated. 

He stated this technique of gross sales did extraordinarily effectively through the MCO as a result of lots of his regulars had been school- going youngsters in search of Chinese language e book titles. 

“This idea made it simpler for the dad and mom as they felt it was safer for his or her youngsters to buy this fashion,” he defined. 

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Intelligentsia E book Station is a Chinese language bookstore positioned within the coronary heart of KL. (Picture: Intelligentsia E book Station)


For some conventional bookshops, the elevated demand throughout MCO pushed them to extend their choices. 

Kedai Buku Jilid Melayu (Malay title bookstore), a standard bookstore within the outskirts of Rawang instructed CNA that regardless of having offered solely Malay titles for over 25 years, the bookstore began promoting English titles in current months. 

Supervisor Azlinda Ahmad Fauzi stated the bookstore’s proprietor was initially apprehensive when the MCO was imposed in March. 

“We have now a following you see. However after MCO (was introduced), we would have liked to do one thing to make sure we may deliver in additional income as a result of the purchases from our regulars are fairly seasonal. 

“The majority of our gross sales are normally through the launch of recent titles by our common publishers and in addition after all earlier than colleges open. So we needed to discover one thing that works to make sure we’re capable of maintain at different occasions,” she stated. 

After in search of the views of the regulars, the bookshop determined to fill up on some English titles as effectively. 

“We don’t do English novels although. Solely tutorial titles and self-help books and that sort of class on the whole. 

“To our nice shock, these titles did very well too. In addition to our Malay titles would throughout peak season,” she stated. 

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Gerak Budaya positioned in Petaling Jaya sells socio-politics and tutorial titles amongst others. (Picture: Gerak Budaya Fb)

Equally, Sivaguru E book Depot in Brickfields, which specialises in titles by particular Indian authors, shared that they’ve picked up extra titles in the previous few months. 

P Shiva, a retailer supervisor, instructed CNA that the shop used to inventory primarily non secular titles. 

“Fortunately now we have an ideal following of readers and so they all continued shopping for our titles regardless of MCO. Actually, extra of our books had been offered throughout MCO. I suppose as a result of folks had time to learn. 

“A lot of our readers did point out that they’d admire if we had this and that title, so what we did was fill up on these. Luckily, all of them offered in addition to our common titles, so we’re planning to maintain these titles right here on,” he stated.

Learn this story in Bahasa Melayu right here.​​​​​​​

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