In our rapidly deteriorating economy, Malaysians are choosing to purchase books instead of fast fashion? Hats off to us!
According to Polish e-commerce platform, Picodi, it has been reported that Malaysia is ranked sixth globally for being the world’s top purchasers of books. That’s an incredible feat considering how small we are compared to our competitors which are Turkey, Russia and Spain (ranked first, second and third respectively). However, let’s not get too excited just yet because despite the fact that Malaysia has been purchasing books, it does not attest to our reading habits. Those statistics are for another day…
The Picodi analytics were derived from surveys that targeted 7,800 people from 41 countries including Malaysia in March of this year. Genre-wise, Malaysians are lovers of thriller novels, perhaps because of the perpetual hunt for our former prime minister that has made us accustomed to a fastened heartbeat rate… but I digress.
The other four most loved genres are crime fiction (see, I told you), romance (possibly cultivated by our love of Malaysian dramas that have romance as a prerequisite), sci-fi (weh Dato Michelle Yeoh is on Star Trek, you know?) and fantasy (Acap disorok dalam alam bunian?).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, classical literature and poetry are not Malaysians’ cup of tea which is a shame but I’m sure the rise of softboys and e-boys will ameliorate this issue.
Additionally, the majority of Malaysians, 56% to be numerical, purchase books a few times in a year. 19% purchase one book per month and 22% find books to be blasé, not wanting to spend a dime on them. Interestingly enough, an astounding 78% of Malaysians are content with the books available in mainstream bookstores (I have a bone to pick with this statement) whilst 22% feel that local publishing houses should publish more titles (which is more like it).
All in all, sales such as the annual and adored, Big Bad Wolf, are fantastic initiatives to encourage Malaysians to buy books without having to break the bank. Admittedly, books sold in stores such as Kinokuniya, located in KLCC, can cost up to RM200 so it’s great to find alternatives which provide just as much selection.
A personal bookstore favourite of mine is Bookalicious at Summit, Subang Jaya. When you enter through the doors, a joyful succession of bells as well as a friendly book lover-bookstore owner named Leon will greet you. You can ask him about any book you have in mind and he’ll excitedly tell you how it has impacted him. Also, please tell him I said hi!
I hope our culture of buying books (and reading them) will be passed on to future generations. After all, books are gateways to other worlds and the one we’re living in right now is getting more unbearable by the minute. Sometimes it’s just nice to open a book and shut the world out…