I might not have the ability to time travel, but I can hear a conversation I have with my future grandson.
Grandson: Gong Gong, last time you all free go where one?
Me: I used to laze around in a bookstore called Borders. Then all bookstores close down, so I laze around in my house
Grandson: What’s a…bookstore?
Me: It’s…part of our history
As depressing as it sounds, we can’t deny that bookselling is now a sunset industry, with many bookstores buried together with their BFFs CD stores.
After the closure of Borders back in 2011, bookstores have been closing down with a domino effect, with most of them attributing the closures to high rental costs though we all know the real reason: we’re now reading e-books instead.
There are only two reasons why people would read a physical book: one is due to habit and second is to show others an image. I reckon most people belong to the latter.
And now, another bookstore has bitten the dust: introducing the impending closure of MPH Bookstores.
But hey, before that, you might not know this: MPH is a book distributor as well.
MPH, the Distributor and Bookstore from Malaysia
MPH is a Malaysia company that does more than just selling books in malls: first established in Malaysia (okay, there was no Malaysia yet: it was technically Malacca) in 1815, it moved to Singapore in 1890. The company initially published Christian literature, which explains its name of Methodist Publishing House.
Many, many years passed, and it went on to print, publish and distribute other books as well. In 1966, it was bought by an Indonesian company, and six years later, a Hong Kong company bought over MPH.
Then, in 1999, it was bought by the 44th richest man in Singapore (2016), Simon Cheong, but he then sold it to another wealthy businessman in Malaysia in 2002, and since then, it’s become a Malaysia company.
MPH Bookstore is merely one of MPH Group’s businesses, and it’s the one we’re very familiar with. In Singapore, there are now two outlets while Malaysia has a whopping twenty-nine outlets.
However, according to a source, MPH is more well-known in the bookselling industry as a book distributor.
In fact, Times Bookstores has a book distribution arm as well, while POPUAR…sells goody tidbits.
Closing Down Last Two Stores
MPH Bookstore’s remaining two outlets are at Raffles City and Parkway Parade, and in an unexpected move, both outlets are slated to close down within two months.
The last day of operations for Raffles City is on 28 July 2019, while the Parkway Parade outlet will close after 1 September 2019.
The reason? High rental costs.
According to the general manager of business development from MPH, she said, “We are currently undergoing some restructuring and streamlining our resources to make way for new business initiatives.”
The company is, however, looking for a new location for a new store.
“The primary focus will be centered on offering convenience and providing a better shopping experience to our customers. This new outlet will be a preview to some of the plans that we have in the pipeline.”
Current employees would be deployed to the new store, but they can’t disclose the location of the new store yet as they are still negotiating.
The company does acknowledge the sunset industry, with the general manager saying, “Despite the bleak outlook that the book industry may appear to be facing right now, we are confident that bookstores will continue to be relevant.”
At this moment, their Raffles City outlet, which will close later this month, is having a 50% for selected books.
There hasn’t been any news about any impending discounts in the Parkway Parade outlet yet.
Eh, transfer staff from old outlets to a new outlet, cannot transfer books from old outlets to a new outlet meh?
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