My Worry About the Printing Press After Visiting The KL 'International' Book Fair

Since I am still on leave, I might as well follow Jimbo's idea of visiting the The KL International Book Fair held at the PWTC. My wife wanted to find some books for the kids while I want to browse some photography books, or maybe some medical statistics text.

We went there after the Friday Prayers. Parked the Kelisa across the road at The Mall. The place was packed even for a Friday afternoon, and I imagine it's going to be madness tomorrow being the weekend. At the Dewan Bahasa stall, one of my former patient shouted my name. She happens to work for Dewan Bahasa and was there to supervise one of the exhibit booth. She actually talked me into doing an interview about careers in Medicine. I did not say no. I left her my contacts.

I split with my wife because she wanted to look at the children section. I went upstairs. Browse around for a good 30 minutes but just can't find anything I wanted. So I just looked at the Haematology texts the rest of the visit.

As you can see, I was bored. And I don't usually feel that way around books. Trust me! It got me thinking. Digital media is a threat to publishers. I heard and rad about in many a forum. There are many newspapers and magazines in the US that has now gone fully online. PC Magazine is now online only. The local dailies usually survive solely on their classifieds. That's where they get their revenue, not so much from sales. And that is also the main reason why people buy newspapers. That revenue has now been cut by Craig's List. I never bother to read newpaper now. I just boot up my computer and click on the RSS feeds. Walla! Perspectives? There are plenty on the net!

Do I need to buy magazines? The answer is yes if it is a photography magazine. I like to see the pictures printed on paper rather on my Mac screen. Latest camera reviews? There is always podcasts. It is free, and they tend to be up-to-date, and I don't have to get to a shop to buy it, or worry if it is out of stock. I can even watch reviews on the net courtesy of YouTube. And I get them when I want and how I want it.

Medical Journals? I subscribe them online! I have already read most of today's article in Blood, all courtesy of RSS feeds and online access. It's a boon for a lecturer like me since there is always 'cut and paste' for charts and graphs for presentation. If you get the journals on paper, you need to scan them for your powerpoint slides.

There was a stall selling dictionary and thesaurus. A salesman tried to convince me to part from my cash. After I politely decline I asked him the last time he used a dictionary. He said last week when he was redoing his CV. Did he use Microsoft Word? He said yes. Then I said he was wasting his time because all he needed was to highlight the word, look at the menu and press Thesaurus. Luckily he was smart enough to keep quiet. With built-in thesaurus, you save time and effort, plus it does not interrupt your train of thought. 

All in all, I was disappointed since I did not get what I came here for. The books on show were either too 'Malaysian' - not enough international flavour - or too technical. I firmly believe the term 'International' in the title is a misnomer. For it to be international, I expect famous authors to come in for book signing. There should be events with celebrities, activities for the kids. Unfortunately there were none today, but maybe because it is yet the weekend. There was not much in the way of discounts either. I can find the books on display should I visit Kinokuniya or Borders. So it's nothing special unfortunately!

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