Friday, November 20, 2009

Amazon Top 100 Lists!

Good news! We've been featured in Amazon top 100 Lists for 2 topics.

batik inspirations amazon
First up, we are listed in the top 100 books under Designers (ranked at no. 72 globally).

batik inspirations amazon designer list
And even better, under Dye, we are ranked no 32!

batik inspirations amazon dye list
Truly a proud day for us, a publisher from Malaysia - on a topic that is niche as it can get: Batik... Malaysia :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

MPH Mid Valley - Raya

batik inspirations mid valleyDuring the fasting month, MPH Mid Valley participated in the pre Raya celebrations.

batik inspirations rayaInterestingly, they had our book displayed there as well - right in the middle of the other Malaysian based books.

This sure is a pleasant surprise especially after we've just replenished the books to the store. A big thank you for the people who helped in this :)

Frankfurt Bookfair 2009

batik inspirations 1 malaysiaWent to Frankfurt recently for the biggest book fair in the world. We actually went under the Malaysia trade mission.

batik inspirations frankfurt book fairThough it's been coming to 4 years that the book has been published now, but this is the first time we are in such an international fair. In fact, apart from the Singapore Book Fair, this is the first book fair the book is participating in.

batik inspirations frankfurtWe put the book on display together with the other Malaysian books.

batik matrade frankfurtHowever, I wasn't really manning the book... instead, I went to the other hall to try to talk to a few USA & UK distributors. Frankly, it's not easy (the questions of 1 title, niche topic, South East Asian topic, etc)... but still I managed to get some leads. Now to see if we can work something out with them.

batik inspirations malaysiaThough my focus this year has not really been on this book at all, but I still believe strongly that there will come a day when this book will get its proper global recognition... and participation in the Frankfurt book fair is just one of the steps :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


nyonya, tiles, house entrance
With all the hype of the hit series, The Little Nyonya and all things Peranakan/ Nyonya/ Baba Nyonya now, it gets me thinking that the people who are interested in this Nyonya culture will be quite interested in this book too.

I'm actually saying this because when we participated with the Peranakan Association of Singapore during the Peranakan fair, there were so many people who were interested in our book photos.

And interestingly, the one segment they like most is none other than the segment where we had the location shoot in the authentic Nyonya/ Peranakan house in Malacca.

nyonya, antique staircaseThough the batiks were an attraction, however, it was the location shoot that got their attention most.

People were interested in seeing the Nyonya antiques in the house from the old staircase to the big Nyonya beds and even the intricate Nyonya tiles (more photos in the book).

And many actually use the magnifying glass we provide to see these pieces better!

nyonya, staircase, houseIn fact, that Nyonya house was not the only hit in the book, as even the other house shoot, which has a mix of designs (Malay/ Chinese & Nyonya) was a big hit as well, especially this majestic stairway with its many intricate tiles and colours.

All these really makes us proud as through this book, we managed to actually bring out the Nyonya culture, despite batik as the main focus :)

*The only thing which we didn't bring out is maybe the Nyonya cuisine, though we actually have one picture where there was Nyonya cendol being served in a Nyonya-ware! :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Reorders From Jakarta

So batik Malaysia and batik Indonesia is different. My experience and talking to others give the impression that batik Indonesia is generally more knowned throughout.

This batik book features Batik Malaysia... and that is in a way quite a 'handicap'.

But handicap aside, we strived and managed to bring this batik Malaysia title to Jakarta, Indonesia - which obviously of all places, might give us a hard time.

That was already one thumbs up.

But what makes it sweet is that we are now having reorders from Jakarta again... honestly, this is quite something to celebrate - for them to accept our works on Batik Malaysia!

*This reinforces my belief - do a good book and it can cross borders!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

For The Art Lovers

"Do you have a white pen?" she asks.

From this lady's question, I knew she appreciated art. She was browsing the book and I could see her eyes glowing as she looked at every picture. And now she wanted me to autograph it for her - with a white pen, as she knows it goes well with the black background pages.

This is the kind of response I get from the art lovers. Like her, they understand the works that went behind it and could fully appreciate the book. She could even tell me the photography process that went behind.

And when passed the magnifying glass, she beamed even more - appreciating the batiks then.

Pricing to these art lovers is not an issue. Most of the times, they readily accept the price, some even saying its relatively cheaper than expected.

I visited this lady the following day, and again, she browsed the book - before and after purhase. I could tell she like it a lot. It made my day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

More Re-Orders

I mentioned before about this purchaser in one of the upmarket KL bookstore who didn't believe in the batik book when it first came out.

However, we managed to get it into the bookstore finally. And the good news - we have since gotten a second set of reorders (after the first reorders).

This is good news for us. I'm glad that this book still sells, and that we are right - that there is a market for this 'niche' title... of Batik Malaysia!

So there goes the continuation of promoting Malaysia!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Prominent Display at Changi's Terminal 3

Glad to share that the Batik Inspirations book is prominently displayed at the newly opened wing of Changi's Terminal 3.

I can still remember the first time we had our first distributor, the bookstores at Changi Airport refused to carry our title. I was quite stunned & rather disappointed then.

However, ever since we've had our new distributor, they've been doing a good job & have managed to put the Batik Inspirations book inside the bookstores of one of Asia's busiest airports.

And now, months later, we see the books being prominently displayed at Changi's newest wing! This is another dream come true :)

harris, terminal 3, changi, singapore

The stack of the Batik Inspirations book displayed at the entrance of the bookstore

harris, terminal 3, changi, singapore
The book being displayed at the pillar of the bookstore

What makes me happy is not only that finally we have this book in the airport's bookstore, but more so that the books are recognised as a regional art book and not just a Malaysian book. To be placed right at the front despite being 2 over years old speaks volume. And more so in this new bookstore here.

Truly a reason to celebrate! :)

This just continues our efforts to promote this book internationally. More on our 2nd phase of promotions soon :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Beautiful Journey: Part 6 - Events & Marketing

Having received the books in my hands the first time, I glanced through the pages - it was really a dream book come true! And I couldn't believe it was in my hands.

At first, I was a lil worried as the pages seem dark (we use black as the background). But as I look at it from a brighter place, the pictures came alive. eM.K was around at that time, and we were rather proud.

Actually, getting the book out was just part of the process - I dare say not even half the process. We had to find ways to market it.

So began my rounds of meeting the bookstores & book distributors both in Singapore & Malaysia. And like I mentioned, some were sceptical as they've never really seen such a different book :) Bad part is many look down on local publishers - and the terms are not very favourable.

Many agreed on consignment, ie the books will be left at their shelves and payment done when there's sales. Boy, each time I clinched a 'deal', I really felt happy - it was the only way for the books to be out & seen by the public!

We also went to a few bookstores in Asia - and that deal was a bit better. Kinda proud we have our books in places like Bangkok, Jakarta, Seoul, Taipei & also Hong Kong. :)

Beyond Bookstores
Apart from just bookstores, we also participated & even organised our own events for more exposure, and hoping for more sales.

badawi at batik, klib

The series of events include meeting Prime Minister YAB Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at the Kuala Lumpur International Batik Convention & Exhibition. That was really an awe inspiring moment - to meet the no. 1 man in Malaysia! And at that time, I was really new to the business, so it meant so much more to me.

I will treasure & remember his words - which were full of encouragement & support, together with his very firm handshake. I remember stuttering as I asked him to sign 2 copies of the book for me. Willingly, he obliged :)

Meeting Amber Chia
Before that fruitful & eventful event, we also participated in the KL Asia Fashion Week. And surprisingly, Amber was accompanying Datuk Dr Victor, former Secretary General for Ministry of Tourism Malaysia.

datuk dr victor wee & amber chia

Datuk Dr Victor was encouraging as well and he liked the photographs in the book - another feather on the cap :) And I did have a short exchange with Amber, though the whole situation got me quite nervous! At that time, I think Amber was just coming up to be a well-known star.

Back To Peranakan Roots
Another event which we participated was the week long Peranakan festival - where we had a booth and also did a fashion show. That was actually to launch the book.

We had worked with the Peranakan Association of Singapore. For this, I actually choreographed the whole fashion show. It was scary actually and it being my first time, I think it was ok, though I think could have been improved.

I used the traditional peranakan & even some modern Malay songs (just instruments)... we also had some dramatic songs - very opera like, suggested by eM.K. That was quite a hit. The models paraded in lifestyle method - yes, they were modeling as if they were shopping, going out, etc. It really was something!

More Events
There were so many other events that we participated, again working with the Peranakan Association, there was the press conference cum fashion show in MPH, Midvalley, KL and even some batik talks in Singapore!

These were all done in a period of over a year. And it was really fun & exciting though very very tiring - from carrying the books to organising, and lots of time searching for information. Looking back, we sure came a long way and this is an experience we treasure and truly something we will always remember :)

See our pics: Our gallery of events.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Beautiful Journey: Part 5 - Printing

I'm adding two additional segments to give an understanding on what went behind in the final stages in the book.

First, the books were sent to the printers - which were uploaded using FTP by the graphic designer.

The printers did an empty mock up to show us the book size, quality of paper and for us to approve it. This book was blank and was in full white.

Once they were ready, they actually called me to stay for 2 full nights (ie 3days, 2 nights) in their factory for press check. This was quite an experience.

They had a room for me with a sofa (no bed) but comfortable enough with working table. There's internet too. They mentioned that I will be in the factory for this whole 3 days - having to inspect on quality control for the book.

That means every 2-3 hours, I was walking back & forth to the printing room to check 8 pages each time (they printed in 8). This seem relatively simple, but for a lack of sleep and to do it even in the wee hours when the eyes are groggy, that was a bit of challenge. Also, the pages are not in order meaning I could be seeing 8 different pages from anywhere in the book.

Our pictures in the book are mainly full spreads ie 1 picture in 2 pages and this is where it becomes difficult.

One example is when I have to supervise one side of it (ie one page), while the other page has already been printed. That's not all - in fact, it could be 2 pages here (from 2 different full spreads) while the other 2 are in another 2 different stacks.

To make it even, and the pages to blend together, I may need the worker to increase or reduce a certain colour. But by doing so, though one spread will be fine, however, the spread will not blend well.

In fact, I took a while to resolve one of this. And luckily there weren't that many like that.

This whole experience of book printing is quite interesting for me. I never knew how printing a book would be and it was nice to see it 'come to live'! I can gladly say that I watched the printing process live!

After that, I went back, and in about 2 weeks later, the books arrived to my doorstep ready for delivery to the bookstores!