Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Silverfish: Book Bug Bargains are back

We have acquired about a thousand books in 300 titles which we are selling at 20% to 75% off the publishers RRP. Many you will not find in other bookshops in Klang Valley. You know what warehouse and bargain-book sales are like: garbage dumps. One has to practically pick through trash to find some gems. But not at Silverfish Books because all titles are individually chosen. Click on the image to see the poster. You can also follow the link at the bottom of this post to view a list.

When Silverfish Books opened in Desa Sri Hartamas in 1999, life was simple: we were a bookshop with a selection of titles at friendly prices for the discerning reader that were not available in any other bookshop in KL at the time. (Only Skoob in Brickfields offered a similar range.) We were an independent bookshop, period. Then, things started getting complicated.

MPH Mid-valley opened a humungous store about nine months after we started business. With their deep pockets, they were able to order every title on every publisher’s list, whether they understood what they were buying or not. Other similar megastores mushroomed in every corner of KL and PJ, and every new mall in Klang Valley wanted one of their own. We had more mega bookstores here than in Singapore.

Our sales were seriously affected, but we survived the onslaught, though barely. We had a loyal group of customers who kept us afloat. We also decided to specialise in Malaysian titles. Publishing was a happy distraction, and another source of steady income.

But, the industry is changing again, as it was bound to. One can defy gravity only for so long. It started in UK with Borders going bust. (Borders sold their Australia/Singapore operations before that.) Waterstones is not very healthy either. In the US, Borders is heading towards its final chapters, and the closure of 676 bookstores owned by the chain looks imminent, and last time we heard Barnes and Noble is up for sale, too.

Can the Malaysian book industry remain unaffected by this turmoil? There already appears to be a trend towards smaller bookstores. How many of the ‘big boys’ will survive?

Now, we can go back to what we used to do: sell good books at good prices to readers who like good books.

List price


It says on the homepage of Figment.com that: Figment is a community where you can share your writing, connect with other readers, and discover new stories and authors. Whatever you're into, from sonnets to mysteries, from sci-fi stories to cell phone novels, you can find it all here.

Jacob Lewis, who helped create the the website with Dana Goodyear of The New Yorker, sees it as a ‘sort of literary Facebook for the teenage set’. ‘We’ll be the social network for young-adult fiction,’ ” he says. “But, it became clear early on that people didn’t want a new Facebook.”

The New York Times report says that, the young people on the site weren’t much interested in “friending” one another. What they did want, he said, “was but to read, write and discover new content."

Interesting. You didn’t know that about teenagers, did you?

Figment.com is an experiment in online literature, a free platform for young people to read and write fiction, on their computers or their cellphones. Users are invited to write novels, short stories and poems, collaborate with other writers and give and receive feedback on works posted on the site.

Read more

New York Times

Fidgetal (or the revenge of the luddites).

Fidgetal - modern technology whose primary purpose is to give people something to do with their fingers.

A BBC magazine report says: “Technology, and the hype that surrounds it, is changing the way we speak. But we don't have to turn into drones, all spouting the latest i-word. Chris Bowlby says it's time for the techno-bullied to fight back with their own subversive speak.”

So, we witness the birth of anti-technological words: Here is a sample:

Wikisqueak - sound emitted by diplomat who realises she's sent confidential telegram without proper encryption

Dreadsheet - spreadsheet containing very bad financial news

Mobile drone - lover of interminable tedious and public phone conversations

Powerpointless - universal feeling in room at end of hi-tech executive presentation of negligible value

Read all about it