Malaysia is targeting book contracts worth RM8mil through its participation at the Frankfurt Book Festival 2017, which ended on Oct 15 at the Frankfurt Messe (Frankfurt Trade Centre) in Germany.
Malaysian delegation chief and National Book Council of Malaysia permanent secretariat director Abd Wahab Ibrahim said the council is optimistic about achieving the figure, based on contracts worth RM7.5mil achieved at the same event last year.
“But the target depends on industry players working even harder,” he told reporters on Oct 11 at the festival’s Malaysia Pavilion.
Abd Wahab said the pavilion’s “Faces of Malaysia” theme is aimed at highlighting and promoting the country’s diversity in terms of architecture, cities, culture, ethnicity, food, geography, and more. Also featured at the pavilion is the culture of the Mah Meri orang asli tribe from Carey Island, Banting, Selangor.
He said the theme is not only aimed at highlighting Malaysia’s uniqueness but also the national aspiration of turning books into a knowledge tourism product.
On Malaysia becoming a world book capital by 2020, Abd Wahab said he is optimistic about achieving that aspiration, adding that he wants industry players to double their efforts towards that end.
One industry player working on this is the PTS Media Group. Its managing director, Arief Hakim Sani Rahmat, who was also at the fair, spoke on Oct 11 about the company’s “book trucks”. They were introduced earlier this year and are gaining a foothold among local reading fans, especially students.
“They (book truck operators) play an important role in making access to books easy.
Arief feels that the book trucks are helping to bridge the reading gap between those in urban and rural areas, he said on Wednesday, adding that there are 30 book trucks in operation now, delivering books directly to consumers in Peninsular Malaysia.
With the encouraging response from the public, he is optimistic about expanding the service to Sabah and Sarawak in the near future, targeting an increase of between 100 and 200 trucks.
Depending on the vehicle size, it costs between RM80,000 and RM250,000 to suitably modify a truck for the programme, said Arief, adding, “We welcome any public or private agency that can help entrepreneurs who are interested in operating this service.” – Bernama
Main image above: A visitor browsing a display at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2017.