Small and medium-sized publishers should improve themselves ahead of the kick-off of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2016, says the new president of the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (Pubat).
A reader browses at a bookstand thatwas set up along a section of the skytrain’s skywalk in honour of Bangkok being named the 2013 World Book Capital. THITI WANNAMONTHA
Charun Hormthienthong, the managing director of Saeng Dao Publishing, on Friday was elected Pubat's new president, succeeding Worapan Lokitsataporn, the managing director of Sataporn Publishing.
After the election, Mr Charun vowed to focus more on small and medium-sized publishers, which have had less access to Pubat's financial resources and activities such as book fairs in recent years.
"If small and medium-sized publishers are allowed to attend more book fairs, they'll get more breathing room. They'll sell more books and catch up with bookstore expansion and the proliferation of digital media," he said.
To survive under the AEC, these small and medium-sized publishers will have to emulate the big publishers.
Pubat will encourage rural Thais to read more while at the same time providing new expertise to publishers in the areas of digital media and international book rights.
Mr Charun believes this will boost the value of Thailand's book industry to 20 billion baht, an acceptable level by international standards.
Last year, small and medium-sized publishers opposed a warehouse fee of 1% of their books' value charged by the major chains Se-Ed Book Center and Amarin Book Center.
Apart from the warehouse fee, book publishers must also pay a distribution fee of 40% of their books' prices.
They called on the previous Pubat president to solve this problem until eventually Pubat organised a special team to study the issue, but there has as yet been no conclusion.
Mr Charun said he will continue the main policies instituted by Mr Worapan such as organising book fairs upcountry and supporting Bangkok's status as the 2013 World Book Capital.
A 2011 Pubat report listed 398 publishers in Thailand.
Of these, nine were leading publishers with minimum annual revenue of 315 million baht, 29 large publishers generating annual revenue of 115-315 million, 41 medium-sized publishers at 35-115 million and 319 small publishers taking in less than 35 million.
The value of Thailand's book industry increased by 5% last year.
About the author
- Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn
Position: Business Reporter