A study of book marketing in publishing houses in Peninsular Malaysia : contexts, practices, problems
This study aims to examine and review efforts taken by Malaysian publishing houses towards the marketing of books in the country. In addition, a comprehensive appraisal of the historical background that shaped the later developments in the trade is also presented because the early years set the contexts of the development of the book trade in Malaysia. Next, the environmental appraisal of factors in the current situation and how these factors each pose threats or opportunities are studied in terms of their impact on the trade. To achieve the objective of studying the marketing strategies of Malaysian producers of cultural products, a comprehensive mail-questionnaire survey enforced by personal visitations was conducted as an instrument to gather the necessary data on 49 publishers and distributors of books in Malaysia. The respondents are regular fee-paying members of the Malaysian Book Publishers Association (MABOPA) and also the Malay Book Publishers Association (IKATAN). The findings indicate that production of educational books is the mainstay of Malaysian book publishing and these books are the main source of income for most houses. Government policies especially in the educational system have become the major instrument in encouraging the growth of indigenous book publishing during the post-Independencey ears. The government is thus found to be rather influential on trends developing in the trade. Its actions lay emphasis on locally written and published books and have minimised dependence on imported publications. The other results of this study also show that in terms of usage of marketing research, Malaysian houses generally have a high awareness of marketing and marketing communications. This awareness is generally applied advantageously by most houses. With regard to the study of marketing practices, the approach includes the analysis of the 4Ps of the marketing-mix. When these practices are examined, it is concluded that the houses regard sales promotion, advertising, personal selling and direct mail as important tools and they are utilised continuously. It is concluded that publishing houses, especially among the larger and wellorganised establishments, have a high level of awareness and knowledge of marketing communications and have applied this capability to their advantage. There is however scope for more market-oriented approach among the smaller indigenous houses.