When a storm arrives, would you rather complain about the wind or would you adjust the sail? The need to adapt is inevitable in sustaining a business. Even giant brands like Kodak and Blockbuster lost big time as a result of failing to adapt.
COVID-19 pandemic came like a storm that obliterates businesses in such drastic manners. This wind of change does not drift away from publishing companies at all. For many Malaysian publishers, book fairs are an avenue to spike their sales. So, how do they adapt their revenue model to the COVID-19 aftermath?
Since 2013, Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair (KLIBF) has become a pilgrimage for Malaysians to hunt books. KLIBF is an annual major event in the global publishing calendar.
KLIBF recorded more than 2 million visitors from the year 2013 until pre-pandemic. It is traditionally held at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur (PWTC) around the time of May of every year. The bibliophile community gathered there for book launches, seminars, and many other activities.
Like most industries, digital space is the only place that you can move into during this pandemic. Hence, IMAN Media Group (IMAN) shifts the spirit of book fairs onto digital platforms. IMAN is a company that focuses on serving various genres of Islamic books to its audience.
“In IMAN, we are not letting go of something certain for uncertainties. To toss something in our grasp for something beyond our control. Yes, we have to be ready. But, not by putting our fortune in the hands of others. We will do our best to execute Pesta Buku IMAN (IMAN Book Fair), for our readers.” the CEO of Iman Publication, Fatin Syamimy, made a remark on how her company would adapt to the absence of KLIBF last year.
Thus, in 2020, IMAN morphed their Instagram profile grid into a book fair venue. There were activities like book launching, and live discussions like any other physical book fair would have. IMAN employees executed the event from their homes as Malaysia was in the mode of total lockdown.
This year, IMAN came better prepared and kicked it up a notch by launching an official site (pestabukuiman.com) to host the event. In remembrance of the people who brace the pandemic, Pesta Buku IMAN wears the theme “Rise Bravely”.
As time passes, more publishers and authors have started their own digital book fair. Perhaps, this trend could cultivate people to grow to love digital book fairs more than physical ones? After all, a dream is only too far-fetched until it becomes real.