I stayed up after Isya' until now, just to study MPH, both the physical store and its online MPH Clicks. The store displays book covers and has all the terms laid down. Meanwhile, MPH Clicks is more interactive with its customers, and often they are registered MPH members. The level of interaction is casual. The MPH moderator is good and the language used is good too.
After 2.5 hours, I think I have learnt something from MPH. Something I could not have learned from elsewhere. Here's what I learned about MPH and its approach to its book sales and customer relations. The CRM (customer relations management) is good, for a Malaysian company. Thumbs up for MPH Malaysia.
MPH Clicks has these as its strong points:
- Facebook current account (ie active)
- high level of MPH-customer interactivity
- several approaches used:
- book fairs (pesta buku)
- meet and greet the authors for signing/autograph (author appearance; also saw Awang Goneng)
- features book launch
- interesting book titles
- books cover all age groups (Islamic books included and current)
- children are welcome
- books and activities for children (colouring, FIMO clay modeling & play, reading)
- storytelling for autistic children
- English vocabulatory and grammar books, English language activities highlighted
- featured images of book art, paper models, book racks (some for laughs)
- talks, seminars, courses are advertised
- string a story (everybody continues and contributes to a given story)
- read & reap contest
- book giveaway
- great giveaways (eg iPhone 4)
- many Malaysian titles
- many good foreign books
- authors are highlighted (birthdays, deaths, visiting authors, etc)
- authors are highlighted with their books or inventions (eg AA Milne for her Winnie the Pooh)
- real stories are brought to the fore (eg the female author who helped the poor in San Francisco)
- good deeds are highlighted and hammered into the minds of readers
- important dates are noted, made known to readers and celebrated (eg World Book Day)
- has a bunch of die-hard readers/fans; they respond actively and comment on everything, big and small
- quite relaxed ambiance, not upsetting the reading mood of its readers
- only 1 negative comment from someone who responded to Tun's book
- only a few irrelevant remarks in Malay
- its readers are generally civic-minded and polite
- not using abusive language; the ones who commented used good language
- very good book summaries (I love these; eg Kay Hooper's book)
- the fans also highlighted their favourite authors, and slowly I began to see who the good authors are
- many different offers, great discounts and unbelievable freebies
- gadgets are advertised (e-book reader, handwire cable manager and e-reader promo, Harry Potter book rings, pop phone bear)
- free gift wrap service (with MPH paper)
- free delivery on many occasions (eg Merdeka Day) and seasons (school holiday, school begins, etc)
I emailed MPH to ask whether it would sell my book. I gave some lead to my 2 books. I have to wait for it to reply.
I don't know where the MPH stores are exactly in Malaysia but the ones I saw while going through MPH Clicks are:
- MPH Megastore 1Utama
- MPH The Curve
- MPH Subang Parade
- MPH Mid Valley
- MPH Bukit Raja
- MPH Alamanda
- MPH @ KLIA
- MPH Johor Bahru
- MPH Gurney Drive, Penang
- MPH Mydin Mall, Malacca
I guess MPH is strategically located in Penang, Klang Valley, Malacca and Johor. Even USM sells its books via MPH (but I didn't see any USM titles on the monthly favourite list).
Anyway, I will need to wait for MPH's reply. Then I can inform readers where in Malaysia they can purchase my books on The Early Malay Doctors.
I have not had any detailed discussion with Singapore. I will inform in this blog if there is a bookstore that is willing to take up my books there.
I have not seen MPH in Kota Bharu. There is Popular Bookstore in KB Mall, Kota Bharu but I have not searched that.
Update 7 November 2012
MPH replied and asked that I get a distributor. It asked me to contact its sister company MPH Distributors Sdn Bhd at 03-7958 1688.
Update 9 November 2012
I forgot to contact MPH Distributors. I am not in the business line and I am unsure how to proceed or deal. I would appreciate if someone can help me here so my books can be available at MPH bookstores and online at MPH Clicks, apart from Xlibris.com, Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
Update #2, 9 November 2012
Because as an academic, I am not allowed to do business transaction, I wrote to the USM lawyer to ask. The lawyer advised: "Yes, it is ok for you to contact the distributor. No problem at all. The main thing you can't do is to establish a distributorship's business to distribute the book. That is not allowed."
So that's clear.