Saturday, March 29, 2008

Yes, It's Different!

"Your book can't sell. It's so unlike the other batik books... the cover is different. The inside pages are different - it's modern, bright, and showcasing different kind of batik. The layout of the book is also different. This is just a very different batik book. I don't think it can sell," says the Purchaser in a high tone in a bookshop in Singapore.

eM.K. just nodded at each statement she said.

I was thinking to myself "Oh, that is it, she's not going to take it...".

She goes on to show us the other batik books around which focus in on traditional batik motifs and its meanings. None were on modern batik which focus is on modern artistic values. These were pages after pages of batik cloths. And none were on how batik can be used today.

After she has finished, eM.K. just said
"Great. That is just what I want to hear from you."

I was a lil puzzled, and I'm sure the Purchaser was more so.

eM.K. continues "All the things you have said makes this book special. It's not just another batik book, like the rest on your shelf."

"The batik is different - it's on modern, contemporary batik - from Malaysia. The cover and layout are all different. This is a different book, and you are right. And
that is why it is published in the first place...
we don't want just another book".

I had to agree with him. This book is really a unique book by itself. It was planned that way. Though it is hoped to reach the batik enthusiasts, but it is also aimed to reach the ordinary folks who don't want to know just about history and traditional works. We wanted a book with a wider appeal - the reason is because we wanted
'to show how beautiful batik can be'.

And that is something I must say that we can be proud to have done, though in a small way. In the events and even through the book itself, we have had many compliments like
"Wow, I didn't know batik can be like this!".

These comments were mainly from people not in the industry, who have never knew about batik much, what's more be associated with it. Their idea of batik was gold, brown, and dark - not trendy and maybe a lil dull. As for the Malaysians who may know about brighter colours, they think of batik as just bright ugly designs!

But now, these people from Malaysia, Singapore and all the way to Hong Kong, Japan and USA have a new mindset about batik. They know that batik is cool and chic. Modern batik in fashion can make them look young and good. What a difference a book can do. These people can actually flip through the pages of a batik book!

So back to the story, the books were eventually taken on a 'see how' basis. And what a surprise, as we heard there was a buyer who actually bought all the
Batik Inspirations books available - wonder who that was. And after we replenished, it still sold and now they are going to send us the cheque again.

So, the Purchaser is right. This is a different book - it is a book with a difference.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Surprise Orders & Re-orders

Last week, Batik Inspirations had quite a fair bit of pleasant surprises.

From Cannot Sell To Sold-Out!
First, after some checks at bookstores in Malaysia, there is one bookstore that have fully sold out the book. This is a nice surprise as at first the purchaser in charge didn't want to carry the books in the first place, saying that this book is 'too different', and may not sell.

Well in a way, she was right that it was different, but how wrong was she that no one wants didn't want to buy it. It's because it is different that people buy - it's a coffee-table book like no other. In fact, many people who like books, especially coffee-table books have commended on Batik Inspirations.

There were quite a fair bit of negotiation in between, but to cut the story short, she finally ordered and now they are all already sold! And for the bookstore to re-order, it only shows that they know the book will sell.

Orders Pouring In
Another good news happened last week - where there was a reasonable sized order via the email left on the website. This came as quite a pleasant surprise.

It's good news to know that there are still orders for Batik Inspirations despite the first edition being launched in Nov 2005.

And for the website to pay benefits - that is good news too. In fact, the website is one of the facilitator for us to receive orders from all over the world - one of them is quite a renowned publisher from Europe :)

A Really Special Gift
One of our corporate buyers mentioned that the book has been given as a gift from the country to someone very internationally famous. Now, that is another thumbs up for us - for our works being able to be given away to such renowned people, and to be seen by them.

The pleasant week of surprises does ring a bell - that if we produce good works (eg. publish a good unique book), it will be able to go far, and this is just an example. It aspire us to continue publishing good books that can benefit the readers and even the country :)