Friday, July 28, 2006

The things that make me happy: checking stock

Honestly, the things that make me happy nowadays have changed considerably from a few months back.

I was in MPH 1 Utama last week. And what do I do whenever I'm in 1 Utama these days? That's right - I check stock on their computer. I counted 19 books sold between a period of 10 days, which put a permanent smile on my face.

So much so that when I went for dinner in Shogun and went back for a 2nd round to check stock in MPH (pathetic, I know), I counted yet another book sold during the time I was at dinner. And was over the moon.

(I know, I know. I should get a life.)

When I was browsing through magazines, my ex-boss came up to me and whispered, "I have read 10 chapters of your book. Ssssh. The wife is around. It's fantastic writing and I've told everyone at the office to get it. I really liked the twists. In Coup of the Century, you wrote about (someone we both know), didn't you?" (His wife won't let him buy Dark City for fear of contaminating their two teenage girls at home. So he's reduced to reading it from the racks at MPH 1 Utama.)

I was at KLIA airport the other day too, and was dismayed to see my book not being displayed anywhere in the annex terminal bookstore there. I phoned my distributor immediately, and later found it was (oh) sold out.

Went to Kino yesterday and was gratified to see it still on the Bestseller rack (though as I mentioned, it doesn't mean anything. It's just for books they want to push.)

Of course, I don't get all success stories with all stores. There's one near my home which HASN'T MANAGED TO SELL even a single one of the 5 copies they took. And several more scattered all over the place which are really slow. (Apparently, most people buy their books from a few concentrated stores only, or at least, I'm going by that theory.)

But the ones that move do really make me happy.

(Yes, yes, I know I'm very pathetic and I will get a life now.)


Ted Mahsun said...

Hehe... I bet if your book was on Amazon, you'd be checking the rankings every single chance you get!

Xeus said...

Ted, you bet :) But anyhow, I have since discovered English fiction doesn't sell that well in Malaysia in general, except for Harry Potter and Dan Brown. So I'm actually doing well by English fiction standards.

I'm also told Malay fiction moves really fast.

Ted Mahsun said...

Yes, the Malay fiction world does move fast... thanks to a large female readership base. Unfortunately this results in that market being flooded with books about love...

I can see your book is doing really well by local English fiction standards! I find Dark City in the weirdest places now... I wouldn't've expected finding Dark City in bookstore that sells mostly education materials and magazines, but I did!

Yvonne Lee said...

Don't feel pathetic laa....I think many authors also feel 'kan cheong' on whether the new book is selling or not.
You're normal.
But trust me, after a while, you won't be bothered to check anymore. Like when my website just came out, I kept checking the site, I got on with my life already!

But frankly, where your books are placed is important too.

Lydia Teh said...

Well done, Xeus! Aahhh, the excitement a new book generates. But Yvonne's right, you'll get on with your life. Hey, I was at Times Subang earlier. Your book got 10 copies, mine only 2, all on the Asian Interest shelf. Up till now, still gives me a kick to see my book on the shelves. Once my young kids saw my book at the bookstore, they were so excited, they shouted, "Mummy, that's you! that's you!" :)

Xeus said...

Dear Ted,

I believe Malay fiction sells better - by the hundred thousands - because there is not so much competition for them as for foreign books.

I'll blog about this another time because my book is being translated to Malay even as we speak. I had an eye on the Malay market even before the book was published.

Ah, may I ask - which educational bookstore was that? (So I can also have a peek and get a rush...I know, very pathetic...)

Xeus said...

Yvonne, I know what you mean. When I started writing professionally for newspapers 12 years ago, I kept every article religiously and was so excited everytime I got published.

2 years down the line, I barely even look :)

Nowadays, I haven't kept a single article I've written! Now if anyone asks to see my body of work, I'll say, "Uh, all donno mana pergi already."

Lydia, 2 books on the shelf is actually better than 10 - it means it's selling better! Anbd anyway, don't forget your book has been out for 1 year already.

Was at Midvalley today, and was disappointed that because of poor placement, book hasn't been selling that well. (Only 5 copies for the last 3 weeks since they took it off the Hot and New racks and put it in the Asian interest section.) Will ask the powers that be very nicely to place it better, like in 1 Utama and Kino.

Syafique said...


I love this entry. if i have a book out, i would do the same thing. heck, i am doing it for my blog - checking my sitemeter constantly and checking the referrals. yep, i am pathetic.

Ted Mahsun said...

Er, I think it was that bookstore in Giant Kelana Jaya, next to Burger King. This was one month ago.

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