The humble Kopi Buk, a small business located far from the hustle and bustle of Kota Baru in Kelantan, might seem to be just another ordinary shop. But upon entering the premises, visitors will be surprised by the amount of secondhand books on offer.
According to shop owner, Amir Hamzah Abdul Shukor, he started selling items such as secondhand books, magazines and antiques in 2015, after accepting the voluntary separation scheme (VSS) offered by a private company in Kota Baru.
"I used to buy various antique goods, books and magazines for my personal collection but after the VSS, my wife and I decided to sell them as a source of income, and we were surprised that there is a market for these items.
"I continued running the business by participating in flea markets around Kota Baru and in several other states until no more markets were allowed following the Movement Control Order restrictions (during the pandemic). At that time, books were the easiest to sell and mail across the nation, so I began by selling secondhand books (online) in 2020," said Amir Hamzah, in an interview at Kopi Buk, located along Jalan Sultan Omar, Kampung Senang in Kota Baru.
After deciding to focus on selling secondhand books, the storage area at his mother-in-law's house was then converted into a book shop called Kopi Buk.
As for the shop's inventory, Amir Hamzah currently owns tens of thousands of books, magazines, comics and various other printed materials such as newspapers, pamphlets and newsletters.
At Kopi Buk there are various types of book genres covering fiction and non-fiction genres such as science fiction, literature, history and fantasy novels.
"These materials are obtained from various sources, either bought from individuals or bought in bulk from companies, schools and libraries,” he said adding that some of the books were given to him as donation.
Kopi Buk's customers, reveals Amir Hamzah, are people from all walks of life and they either buy online from all over the country or come directly to the premises.
"Some customers buy the books for their sentimental value, they tell me they could not get hold of them or just could not afford to buy them in their younger days.
"Among the reading materials that are in high demand are novels, comics and entertainment magazines such as URTV, Mangga and Hai," he said adding that he also has customers from Thailand.
"The price of secondhand books is based on the current market price,” he said adding that books that have been published for a long time and are difficult to obtain can fetch a high price.
"The cheapest book that I sold was 80 sen, while the most expensive was the History Of The Malay Kingdom Of Patani written in 1959, which was sold for RM800 at an event in Kuala Lumpur," he said. - Bernama