Two positive things have come out of the various reiterations of the Movement Control Ordinance since March 2020: People have more time to read and buy more books from Malaysian authors online.
Online demand for local titles has exceeded that for international books, MPH Bookstores said in a press release. Norhafsah Hamid My God and that of Peter Lim Tze Cheng What I learned as an analyst (Second Edition) won the MPH Best of 2020 awards in their respective categories, “surpassing international titles by one mile”.
Is there a second wind for local talent? What is driving the demand?
Publishers publish more relevant, relevant and engaging books to local readers, according to the bookstore. Fiction and self-help books lead the sales figures. The latter have always been popular, but foreclosure and working from home have inspired people to hone their skills and deal with the changes resulting from the pandemic.
Language is another attraction. The works of local writers are published in English, so their readership is wider. Yangsze Choo’s, of Malaysian origin The ghost bride and Tan Twan Eng The evening mist garden (winner of the Man Asian Literary Award 2012) have been adapted for Netflix and the big screen respectively.
In turn, this attracts new audiences for the books, rekindling interest and debate in these works. Such discussions have a ripple effect: they direct readers to books by other Malaysian writers.
This article first appeared on May 17, 2021 in The Edge Malaysia.