Wednesday, 15 August 2007

The paper

Just got back from the printer. This is the same printer that Silverfish uses.

There is a dire lack of paper in the country! By this I mean that almost all books are printed on the same stark white, 100-gsm paper. Even Singapore has a wider range. I wanted something different, since this will after all be the first edition of the first book by my first company.

So I am going with recycled, 140-gsm, off-white paper, the technical name of which happens to be cyclus offset. The paper is thicker and less blinding than is the national norm.

The use of recycled paper isn't just to please Al Gore but is ontologically apt, since Malaysian Politicians Say the Darndest Things relies on recycled quotes to get its groove.

Of course, the downside is that it will cost me RM6.70 per book (which is 120 pages long), almost twice what a typical Malaysian paperback will cost. But I also want this book to be affordable, so the first edition is priced at a mere RM20.

If I were to distribute it in bookshops, I will make no profit at all, since distributors plus shops take 60% (!) You can do the math yourself. In fact, there will be not enough money to even print the second edition (if there is a demand lah).

So I have decided to go ahead and print 1,000 copies, but to sell them directly on the launch day. It will not be in bookshops.

You have to come and get it yourself, or we will bring it to you, on the launch day. Let it be a bit special. At least for the first edition.

There is, erm, another reason for this. I had a phone conversation with a potential distributor two weeks ago. This is one of the largest book distributors in the country. The person expressed extreme reservation about the content (based purely on the title). Her exact words were, "But scared if controversial ah, we will get into trouble ... we will need about a month to go through the book before deciding whether to carry it."

One month?? I assured her that the book can be read in one day and that there is nothing libellous in it. But still she said, "You never know what...one month to be safe, all our managers will take a look at it."

So that is that. I certainly do not want the first edition to just sit there in boxes while a distributor dithers over whether to sell it. I'd rather do it myself, dithering be damned.

Details of the launch will be announced next week, once I confirm the venue. For the next few days, I will be in the Philippines!

12 comments:

Artistic Expression said...

Because i dont know what to write in my blog, huhu... but will make it more edgier than the current one...muah
gudluck on your book

Ted Mahsun said...

I applaud your stance to use recycled paper, good sir! Me and my penguin hordes salute you!

xmocha said...

I'd like to pre-order 10 copies pls! Bolek tak?

Amir said...

bole! thanks for being our first customer :-)

(and congrats on the baby!)

anDRew said...

any chance you'll ship the book to Australia? It's economically than me terbang balik to get it.
congrat...

CaKCiBo® said...

ehem.

i'm that 'i'm nobody' on monday, help inst.

can't wait for the book to come out.

Anonymous said...

I thought the standard distribution cut is 35 percent. sometimes it goes up to 40 - you ahve to negotiate but don't go higher than thatlah! Controversial titles will make the book a sellout - Universiti Kedua was sold out purely on the *controversy* that it will soon be banned ;-) but it never was...
Good Luck with your first edition! Valisa

Amir said...

The distributor takes 35% but the book-shops then take 25% ;-)

Ah-ha 'Cakcibo'! ! You're not a nobody!

Andrew, get someone to get it for you on that day, can? I am sure we can work something out...

mangolisa said...

amir,
the bookshops will take the 25 percent from the distributor's cut ;-) if u supply directly to the bookshops, u only pay 25! Lisa

Amir said...

I've asked four local distributors, they all want 50-60% for both themselves and the shops. If you have the contact for this nice distributor who wants only 35% for both parties, do email it to me pronto :-)

bibliobibuli said...

agree with you about the blinding white paper of most locally printed books. i wouldn't want that either.

you can also sell copies at "readings" after the launch

are you putting it into silverfish?

actually we need a writers cooperative like the indie scene thing jasmine was running

insan_tak_kamil said...

here, in indonesia, the national distributor asked for 50%, inclusive of the cut for the bookstores. from personal experience, for small print run selling direct makes more sense. i am sure ur 1000 copies will sell like hot goreng pisang...