Blog Archive

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A Wordy Newsletter

The Penang Bookshelf
A Wordy Newsletter
(Sorry. Not a worthy one) 

From The Penang Bookshelf
Dear Friend

Drones Over Penang?  
No, this isn't a reference to the collection of eminent literary characters who have just added (?) a bit of academic and literary class to the island as they graced The George Town Literary Festival this last weekend. It's just I have an uncanny feeling these newsletters, when they do manage to appear, are being monitored.
In the last newsletter I made an unguarded reference to my juvenile efforts at upsetting US imperialism in the late 60s. Then within days of the newsletter being published The Penang Bookshelf was targeted with a book order from a well known branch of the US Government. Just trying to accurately pinpoint me before they strike, perhaps. What did they order? Urbanization in Southeast Asia: Issues and Impacts. Best to avoid open spaces for now.

Glitterati or Literati?

I don't care much. The only thing I remember in the whirl was that it was the first time I had ever returned from a sales event with empty boxes. Not one, but nearly three of them. One of them was full of Tan Twan Eng's two novels. There are only two copies, both signed, of The Garden of Evening Mists left before I re-stock. Thanks very much to The Penang Bookshelf's customers, new and old.

I do think the organisers need a decent bit of praise for managing to convince whoever needed convincing to run the festival again this year after its inauguration last year. Also a big thanks to the China House team whose support was impeccable. I won't distract you by gabbling on about who attended. More importantly, for those of you who couldn't attend, The Penang Bookshelf has been deluged with a whole load of books on wordy subjects that it doesn't normally carry. The full list is in the November Arrivals post on The Penang Bookshelf Blog. There's some non-Malaysian/Asian literary stuff as well, mainly from the Yale University Press. If any of it's of interest, snap it up quickly because if the non-Asian titles aren't sold by the end fo the year, they'll be trotting their way back to the distributors.

Bo Tak Tui Lai (The Baldies are Back) 

My paranoic tendencies have been given full vent this month. First the US Government and now, for the second month running I been bludgeoned into teaming up with a hunky bald author who's going to put me to shame. This piece of man flesh is Tim Hannigan who is descending on Penang to promote his latest book Raffles and The British Invasion of Java. Now Raffles did have more hair than Tim and I ever had. Or has he carefully arranged his hair so as to hide a his own desert on his dome? I must ask Tim when I, you and others less folically challenged meet up with him at 9.30am on Monday 12th December at 7 Terraces, Lorong Stewart, Penang. The Penang Bookshelf will be on hand to sell the book for RM35 instead of the retail price of RM39,90. Just think, if you buy the book together with another full priced book from Monsoon Books , you can get it for just RM30. An email to should secure you a place. If you don't live in Penang and still want to take advantage of the offer, I'll grudgingly hold it open until I go until I go to bed on 12th December. If you do live in Penang, want the book at this ridiculous price and won't come to the talk, I'll need a doctor's certificate.

The Penang Bookshelf will also be selling Tim Hannigan's book at Spiral Synergy's Super Stylish Shopping event at the Rasa Sayang Hotel, Batu Ferringhi on Saturday 1st December.

Spare A Thought For The Aussies

On 30th May 2010 when The Penang Bookshelf put out its stall for business for the first time at Little Penang Street Market, its first customer was an Australian. She went on to
When Asia Was The World.
become our first internet customer as well. Since then The Penang Bookshelf has built up a clientele of whom about 20% live in Australia. After flinging  the last newsletter at you I went on a brief flit to Sydney, my first visit to the country. What staggered me most was how cut off from Asia the country appeared to be. Scouting for books on Asia in second-hand bookshops proved to be fairly fruitless. This may explain The Penang Bookshelf's large Australian client base. The miserable unfortunates are starved of books about Asia! In sympathy with their plight from now onwards orders over 2kg will be post free surface mail to the whole of East Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania. That includes the deprived in Australia as well.

Welcome to the ChaosAlthough I have now abandoned lounging about in cosy shops on the high street, I do still welcome brave visitors to my chaotic hideout in Batu Ferringhi (address below). I don't carry personal injury insurance so if you trip up over a book or are hit by one as I drive home the finer points of my pricing policy, it's your look out. However some do survive to tell the tale.  I survive as long as I remember these principles.

Thanks for reading this far,
William Knox
The Penang Bookshelf     

News Snippets 

Welcome Aboard, Mitt! 

While the world heaved a collective sigh of relief over Romney's defeat in the recent US elections the Penang Bookshelf moved swiftly to add him to the payroll . He's teaching us how to 'recalibrate our emergent marketing platform to support a wider spread of asset classes.' Zzzzz...  What was that you were  saying, Mitt? Sorry my mind was wandering 47% of the time.  

After The Penang Bookshelf's link up with Gerakbudaya which is producing sales for us both already, he's dragging us screaming into further  
Mitt's Favourite Reading at the moment
Communalism and the Political Process 
 linkups or is it leverages? Help me, Mitt! The upshot seems to be that The Penang Bookshelf's in talks with both an antiquarian bookseller in KL and  a leading UK postal historian of World War II in Asia to feature their stock.. The latter is based in a Hertfordshire village which is still suffering from the after effects of me trying to practice law there in the  1980s. Isn't that enough to be going on with, Mitt? No, apparently not. A Singapore academic and an English widow of a former  Malaysia resident are offering The Penang Bookshelf their libraries as well.

How does The Penang Bookshelf afford Mitt's fees? Good question. We contract him out to pedal his 20 minute intensive course, popular with politicians the world over - "Romnesia, Truly Easier."  

A Bit of Feedback Please

The award winning postal historian, David Tett, whose research library The Penang Bookshelf will be helping to shift, has one of the better collections of books on World War II in Asia. It's so extensive that we can't put it all up immeadiately. We'll be starting with a selection of  about 50 books. If you're interested in this period of history, do let me know if there are any particular books or areas of interest that you would like The Penang Bookshelf to feature. Of course if you're feeling sorry for David and want to save him having to pay commission to The Penag Bookshelf, you can always buy the books off him first.

The Penang Sketchbook Has Given Birth!

Editions Didier Millet (EDM),  yet caved into my moans about their failure to reprint The Penang Sketchbook, which has been incessantly, but deservedly, overplugged in newsletters of the past. (Now it's just overpriced at The Penang Bookshelf.) However EDM have thought up of  a new way of milking cash from the title. They've just published a pocket sized Penang Notebook with lots of space in which to note your next purchases from The Penang Bookshelf. There are quite a few pages of pics from the original book as well.  It's selling at some horrendous price like RM37 in bookshops, but at RM35 at The Penang Bookshelf or RM30, if you buy it with another full priced book.  As if that's not enough, they've produced a Malaysia Notebook as well. Same offer applies. 

Wuh Lien-Teh Collection Expanded 

In the last newsletter you had to put up with news of a couple of more than usually venerable tomes which were ready for plucking from The Penang Bookshelf. The Jawi Arabic dictionary is just about to leap into the hands of a happy new owner, I hope!  

Meanwhile scrabbling about in a few boxes has unearthed more books by or about the late great doctor.  In fact, this seems to be the most viewed post on The Penang Bookshelf Blog at the moment.  

Lazy Authors 

The Penang Bookshelf has all sorts of scum and other riff-raff amongst it's customers. They include authors, publishers and, most importantly, readers. A couple of authors have turned to The Penang Bookshelf recently for help in research for books that are in the making. One of them, a novelist, needs to recreate Tanjung Tokong in the late 70s and early 80s. The other, wants photos of North Borneo/Sabah before World War II for his forthcoming comprehensive book on photography of the period . The trouble is most of the photos aren't terribly lively. Maybe it was a dour time. If you can help him liven up his collection, he'd be very grateful. As usual there's more about it on The Penang Bookshelf Blog 

Germans Want More Malay Literature  

A good customer of The Penang Bookshelf has recently  landed up in Germany and has wasted
Lousy pic, but that's all yer getting.
no time in telling his new hosts how much they're missing by not having more Malay literature to read in German. He's even discovered that some benevolent soul has engineered it so that the German Government have a pot of euros - grab now before they disappear - to fund translations from Malay into German. So if you know of a publisher who publishes Malay books that could spice up the German literary scene, do let me know.

Another of Mitt's Gaffes?

Mitt does drone on about platforms. (Maybe KTM Berhad, Malaysian Railways, is Bain Capital's next target) So The Penang Bookshelf has succumbed to listing a growing part of its stock on Abebooks. Of course their heavy fees and commission ensure that the books featured are cheaper elsewhere. Let's see if it's worth it, but The Penang Bookshelf has already sold a book there - at a loss. Mitt, some re-calibration, please!
Odd LinksOne for dog lovers and another for the rest of this newsletter's readership. Something for everyone. I do hope you feel the same about The Penang Bookshelf's inventory. If any'thing's missing, do let me know. 

About The Penang Bookshelf
The Penang Bookshelf specialises in providing book lovers with a broad range of new and second-hand books, both fiction and non-fiction, primarily about Malaysia, but also about other parts of Asia as well. 

Independent Online Booksellers Association, Professional Member.

Also at: ,Ebay and at IOBAbooks
Category Pages - Asian Fiction,      Asian History,     Asian ReligionsBorneo  Chinese Ceramics   Malaysian Architecture  Malaysian Agriculture   Malaysian Arts and Culture  Malaysia: CartoonsMalaysian Chinese Community  Malaysian Cooking and Food Malaysia: Colonial Biography,     Malaysia: Modern Biography,   Malaysia - Fiction  Malaysia: Journalism,    Malaysia: Language & Linguistics,     Malaysia: Literature, Malaysia: Malay Community   Malaysia & Singapore: 19th Century History,   Malaysia: Post-Independence HistoryMalaysia: Miscellaneous, Malaysian Nature and Wildlife    Orang Asli (Indigenous People)    Malaysian Poetry  Malaysian Politics  Malaysia: Religion   Malaysia & Singapore: World War II  Perak    Singapore: Anthropology & Sociology     Singapore Fiction


Telephone: +60-12-972-6485 
Business Address:  Aquarius, 4-8-8 Jalan Low Yat, Batu Ferringhi, 11100, Penang. (The Penang Bookshelf's entire inventory is available for browsing. Please call to fix an appointment.)  
Mailing Address: 36, Cheeseman Road, 11600 Penang, Malaysia

Registered Business No: PG0282219-D

This email was sent to by |  
The Penang Bookshelf | 36 Cheeseman Road | Penang | 11600 | Malaysia


Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.