Publishers: No hike in book prices

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KUALA LUMPUR: The reported impending increase in the cost of paper is unlikely to affect the price of books printed locally.

According to local book publisher Legacy Publishing, any increase in the cost of paper would not affect most publishing houses as many of them had sufficient stocks of paper for their needs.

“Usually we will provide the printing agencies with papers as we have our own stocks,” the company’s managing director, Zuryati Isa, told FMT today at the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair at PWTC.

Karangkraf sales and marketing general manager Shahfaizal Khairuddin said they currently had no plan to increase the price of their books.

“We will maintain the prices as there is no reason to increase them,” he said.

Klang MP Charles Santiago had earlier urged the government to consider subsidising book purchases if the cost of paper went up.

He was commenting on a report in Nanyang Siang Pau which quoted a stationery wholesaler and supply company as saying that the price of A4 size paper was expected to go up. The company attributed this to the depreciating ringgit and increases in the cost of raw materials and transportation.

Speaking to FMT, Santiago said the prices of all sizes of paper would likely go up with the price of A4.

This would in turn cause the prices of books to rise, he added.

“Published materials, including both fiction and non-fiction books, are important in the life of a nation. If we aspire to be a nation of excellence, then this requires educational materials to be affordable.”

Zuryati said the increase in the number of authors in Malaysia was a bigger issue compared with the impending rise in paper cost.

“Authors and self-publishing authors are popping up like wild mushrooms. It leads to the issue of redundancy as similar topics could be written by many authors,” she said.

PTS Media Group marketing manager Mohammad Izzat Amir said the current market for locally authored books was challenging due to the sentiment that favoured foreign authors.

“People are keen to buy foreign products because they think these are better in terms of quality. The same goes for books. The sentiment is that those published internationally are better,” he said.

Izzat added that the higher cost of living, which reduced people’s purchasing power, and the increase in self-publishing authors were affecting book sales.