FRESH off being investigated for purportedly selling books with ‘obscene’ content, a netizen has queried the ‘international’ aspect of the Selangor International Book Fair.
Thaqib Shaker who is also the Titiwangsa Bersatu Youth member claimed that the event was a failure as it had failed to even attract local non-Malay bookworms.
He compared it to bookstores such as Kinokuniya which attracted local patrons from all backgrounds as well as expatriates and tourists.
Lamenting the lack of variety, he urged the organisers to include more publications in other languages as well as inviting authors who write in other languages aside from Malay to make the fair truly “international”.
Otherwise, Thaqib in a recent Facebook post opined that the organisers might as well just rebrand the event as a ‘Malay Book Fair”.
His post elicited many responses, generating over 2,500 likes and plenty of comments. Some netizens commented that these book fairs are obsolete in the age of the internet:
There were those who attended the Selangor International Book Fair and found the selection to be wanting with most books being in the Malay language:
Some disagreed with the generalisations expressed by the netizens, stating they were among the exhibitors at the fair who brought in varied content:
Some also said the location of the Selangor International Book Fair in the Malay suburb of Shah Alam meant it was always going to attract readers from a certain demographic, hence the overwhelming presence of religious books alongside popular Malay romance novels.
Far from making racist comment, Thaqib does appear to have a point – the event needs an overhaul if it is to attract a wider audience and to compete with other similar events or even just well-stocked bookstores.
As many pointed out, fans of physical books are dwindling. To make it more appealing and rewarding, better marketing strategies are needed to lure in bookworms as well as inculcate the love of the written word among youngsters regardless of ethnic background. – Dec 11, 2023