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Friday March 19, 2010

New chapter for bookstore

metro@thestar.com.my

Delight for book lovers as outlet moves to larger premises.

IT IS, by now, the destination of choice for local fans of the written word.

Since opening its doors at the end of 2006, Bookxcess has made a big difference for countless readers, offering books at prices that live up to its tagline, “Read more for less.”

Fiction paperbacks start as low as RM9.90 while some children’s titles start at even lower prices.

Bookxcess even organised the Big Bad Book Sale last year, which drew hordes of shoppers, all determined to get their hands on RM8 fiction and even lower-priced children books.

Its latest chapter is to move into larger premises, which opens its doors today.

“You can say that this move is premature,” said Andrew Yap, who runs Bookxcess with his wife, Jacqueline.

“Our actual plan was to stay where we were for a little longer and save up more money, but it was too good an opportunity to give up.”

The new site is two doors away from Bookxcess’ previous spot, which it has occupied for nearly two-and-a-half years in Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya.

And, since it was the site of the mall’s cineplex, the new shop is four times larger than what Bookxcess had.

“More space means that we have better negotiating strength with suppliers as we can now order more books,” Yap noted.

“This means that we can reduce prices on more books and bring in even better titles, which is what our customers would appreciate most.”

While he is unable to give details on the reductions yet, prices on hardback books will fall and there will be more “Star Buys,” which are RM9.90 each.

“For the opening, we’ve got the latest edition of all of Dan Brown’s titles, except for The Lost Symbol, and Danielle Steel’s Answered Prayers and The Kiss for RM9.90 each,” he added.

Other bargains include Florence Tan’s Secrets of Nyonya Cooking and Celine Marbeck’s Quick and Easy Cooking at RM5 each, Gordon Ramsay’s Playing with Fire (RM19.90), Sophie Kinsella’s Twenties Girl (RM19.90), Stephenie Meyer’s New Moon (RM17.90) and The Host (RM29.90), Christopher Paolini’s Eragon’s Guide to Alagaesia (RM24.90) and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk (RM24.90).

There’s also Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal (RM19.90), Jodi Picoult’s Picture Perfect (RM17.90), Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns (RM17.90), Cecelia Ahern’s Thanks for the Memories (RM19.90), Richard Branson’s Business Stripped Bare (RM24.90), Paulo Coelho’s The Winner Stands Alone (RM19.90) and Robert Sabuda’s The Chronicles of Narnia Pop-Up Book (RM29.90).

While securing bargains for customers is paramount, the Yaps are equally mindful of the extras that make a trip to Bookxcess a delight.

For one, the clean, colourful, well-lit and well-organised interior has been retained for the new shop.

“Customer comfort is very important to us,” Jacqueline said.

“We want them to come to Bookxcess and enjoy themselves, which is why we make sure our shop is comfortable and nice. I mean, just because our books are cheap doesn’t mean the shop needs to look cheap.”

Visitors can also expect good customer service when they drop by.

“We’ll still be offering free wrapping service, which includes free wrapping paper, and there will now be heads for each section of the shop — fiction, non-fiction, children and young adults — who can recommend titles and help you find a good read,” Yap said.

“All in, we want to be a place for the whole family, a more complete experience for everyone,” Jacqueline said, adding that the new store also has a magazine section.

“We’ll also be organising storytelling sessions for children,” she said.

“It’s a fun activity and also our little way of encouraging parents to read to their children.”

While they are excited about the new store’s prospects, the Yaps are also aware of the financial implications of the move.

“It’s a big leap for us — all our overheads have gone up as well but we’re determined not to increase prices,” Andrew said.

“So far, we’ve been successful in our own small way. We’ve met people who’ve said that, thanks to us, they are reading more or have picked up reading,” Jacqueline added.

“This customer feedback is very important for us. It makes what we try and do worthwhile,” she said.

And, while the Yaps are ready for the fun and headaches of the new shop, they are also hopeful that this is just another step forward for Bookxcess.

“Give us time and we’ll move into our dream space — a 200,000 sq ft warehouse of books. It’ll be the biggest bookstore in the world and it’s our ultimate dream,” Yap said.

Sounds like a dream that other book lovers will happily share in.

Bookxcess is located at L3-60, Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. For more details, call 03-7956 0455 or log on to www.bookxcess.com.

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