Malaysia’s Publishing Industry: Through Notorious Evolution

Written by Nur Dalila binti Rusilan

Lately, the publishing industry has started to gain back its popularity through the advancement of digital technology, all thanks to social media platforms! It is guaranteed that many of the industry players use these tools to market their books. In Malaysia, the awareness and enthusiasm of producing books are exhaustively in tight competition with other markets. One of the notable events that showcases the Malaysian books internationally is the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Frankfurter Buchmesse or Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the largest book exhibitions. This event is held annually and the media industry from different countries around the world will be invited to negotiate a business deal or to look for inspirations. Materials ranging from novels, children books to film and games will demonstrate their most advantageous features during the event. As said by Claudia Kaiser, the FBF Business Development Vice-President, “Malaysian book titles will be a key attraction at this year’s event”.

During the 2017 FBF forum, Director of National Book Council Malaysia, Abdul Wahab Ibrahim, who is also the Head of Malaysian Delegation to FBF said that it was a business opportunity in match-making with international publishers including Turkey, Vietnam and Taiwan. Surprisingly, the Malaysian delegation achieved their goal by sealing more than 8 million sales contract deals. What’s more exciting is that four Malaysian books have made it to the final list. It was definitely the highlight of the event and the proudest moment for Malaysia.

Author: Zamri Mohamad.
Publisher: Legacy Publishing.
Image source: Google
Author: Herman Abdullah.
Publisher: ITBM
Image source: Google
Author: Mat Luthfi. Publisher: PTS
Image source: Google
Author: Wael A Yousef Mousa.
Publisher: Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)
Image Source: Google

Besides that, the event became more momentous when its 2017 theme was Faces of Malaysia. It showcased the Culture of Mah Meri, where a group of Orang Asli tribe was exclusively flown from Carey Island, Banting to Frankfurt, which eventually became an attraction for international exhibitors. With over than 31 Malaysian publishers, they have listed a few book titles that have the potential to win this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, which will be held for five days from 10th-14th of October 2018. What makes Malaysia more thrilled with this year’s participation is that they were invited by the representatives of London Book Fair, Seoul International Book Fair and Turkey Book Fair to participate in their country’s book festival this year.

“The future of Malaysia’s book industry looked promising”, said by Arief Hakim Sani Rahmat, Vice-President of Malaysia Publishers Association during the forum prelude in FBF 2017. It is said over 70% of Malaysians are categorized in “working age” and deemed as educated mainly because they read book for self-development and to educate their child. However, local publishing brands should strengthen more on the quality of the books to encourage more Malaysians to buy and grow interest in reading it. As a matter of fact, the industry should be given more financial inducement in the upcoming budget because the number of young Malaysian authors, writers and illustrators are growing and has caused an increase in sales value record in the industry.

In case if you are wondering, while we are enjoying this little treat, other local publishing companies are dying to survive and make up their best outcome for the consumers. This year, the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair will come out with all sorts of activity and optimistically welcome more visitors to look around for fresh new publications. The event will be launched in two weeks time, starting from 27th (Friday) until 6th May (Sunday) 2018. So, what are you waiting for, book-lovers? Let’s support and celebrate our local brands!

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