The founders of BookXcess, Tintabudi and Gerakbudaya on their niche approach to the bookselling business

This World Book Day (March 5), we honour Kuala Lumpur’s appointment as the Unesco World Book Capital for 2020 by speaking to key figures in the relevant retail scene.

Clockwise: Jacqueline Ng, Andrew Yap, Nazir Harith Fadzilah and Chong Ton Sin.

The founders of independent bookstores Tintabudi and Gerakbudaya, as well as the couple behind discounted book companies BookXcess and BBW Books share their unique stories.


Andrew Yap + Jacqueline Ng
BookXcess and BBW Books

Within a decade, the owners of an obscure little bookstore selling magazines and remaindered books in Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, have sparked a revolution in book publishing at a time when the sun has supposedly gone down on print patronage.

As it turns out, readers still want to flip those crisp, bound pages but most impressively, BookXcess and Big Bad Wolf (BBW) Books founders Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng have made books appealing to non-readers, encouraging literacy globally and sustainably monetising the business of books in gargantuan fashion.

Thanks to a potent trifecta of purpose, ingenious branding and foresight, their remaindered book entities have expanded into a 680-employee, high-value enterprise with a two-pronged approach — the heavily discounted annual book fair Big Bad Wolf (BBW) and concept bookstores under the BookXcess brand in Malaysia. The mega book sale, which started in Malaysia in 2009 and went international in 2016, will tour 41 cities this year and is on track to reach a targeted 60 cities by 2021 and 100 by 2025.

The nine BookXcess stores in Malaysia are creatively conceptualised so that patrons can spend long hours perusing the offerings in comfort.  In addition to the original store in Amcorp Mall, there are outlets at The Starling in PJ, Fahrenheit88 in Kuala Lumpur, SS15 Courtyard in Subang Jaya, Tamarind Square in Cyberjaya and Sunsuria Forum in Setia Alam, Selangor, as well as Gurney Paragon in Penang and the bank vault-turned bookstore at Kong Heng Square in Ipoh, Perak.

At 38,000 sq ft, the Tamarind Square outlet is the biggest and first 24-hour bookstore in the country. A new store featuring an infinity shelf concept at Tropicana Gardens Mall in Kota Damansara, PJ,  is in the works. ­Book­Xcess’ ninth bookstore — 32,000 sq ft with 7.5m-tall shelves — opened last Wednesday in Sunway Big Box at Sunway Iskandar, Johor Baru.



For the full story, pick up a copy of The Edge Malaysia (Mar 2, 2020) at your nearest news stand. Save by subscribing to us for your print and/or digital copy.


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