We hope and trust that you are staying safe and keeping well.
The restriction movement order (RMO) imposed by the government has meant that non-essential businesses like ours had to be shut down, and Lit Books has complied with this directive, closing our shop on 18th March 2020. Thankfully, e-commerce can continue as per usual–and indeed we have been fulfilling requests from customers who wrote in to us and we are so grateful for that–but the lack of a proper online shop limited the service we could provide to you.
During this past week, Elaine and I have been frantically putting together the infrastructure and hours of data entry to create a workable online shop. You can find the link on the top right corner of our website and it should take you to a basic storefront: You can add products to your cart, you can edit your cart, and you can checkout your orders. But unfortunately, we cannot take online payment (as we do not have an account with the appropriate payment authority yet) and we still rely on bank transfers for payment.
So here’s how it works:
Add your selection(s) to the cart.
View your cart to finalise your choices.
Click the checkout button.
There is a flat RM8 fee for shipping within West Malaysia and RM12 for East Malaysia. Shipping is free for purchases above RM200 for West Malaysia and RM250 for East Malaysia.
At this point, you will receive instruction to bank in payment to our bank account and to send us a screenshot of the bank transfer record.
While this happens, the item will be placed on ‘hold’ which means no one else can buy the item.
The item will be on ‘hold’ for roughly an hour during which time you should be able to transfer the funds and send us the screenshot.
We will complete the transaction and ship the item(s) out to you on our next shipping run.
Some questions you might have:
Do we have to pay using a bank transfer? Yes, unless you don’t mind doing an eWallet transfer to my personal account. I can presently accept Touch N Go, Grab and BigPay. Message us on Facebook or Instagram if you’d like to arrange to do one of these alternative modes of payment. However, do checkout your item first so it will be held for you.
How will you be shipping the books and how long will it take? We ship by PosLaju by default. During this past week, customers have reported receiving packages as early as the very next day and three days at the latest (within the Klang Valley). We can also arrange for shipping via Grab Delivery or via another e-hailing service. Again, get in touch with us to arrange for alternative shipping methods but please note that the shipment fees will change accordingly.
I live nearby. Can I pick up the books from your shop? No, because we want you to stay at home. We’d hate for anyone to expose themselves to infection during this time and we would rather rely on the professional delivery people–whom we can’t thank enough–to handle this task.
This FAQ didn’t answer all my questions. How can I get in touch with you? The best way to reach us at this time is to message us via Facebook or Instagram. Understandably, nobody is at the store at the present time to pick up the phone. Our Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/mylitbooks and our IG handle is @mylitbooks.
One final note: A big THANK YOU to all our customers who have purchased books from us this past week. These are uncertain times for all business owners and prospects are opaque for a small book retailer such as us. Thank you also in advance to all those of you who are thinking of supporting us during this difficult time. Every little bit helps and is so much appreciated.
A quick verse to end this rambling post (one of my favourites):
“Hope” is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard – And sore must be the storm – That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land – And on the strangest Sea – Yet – never – in Extremity, It asked a crumb – of me.
It’s been just over six months since Elaine and I started Lit Books, and we remain amazed by how time seemed to have just flown by! It’s been a steep learning curve and I think we are now beginning to almost, sort-of get the hang of it, but only really sort-of. One of the things that we’ve really come to enjoy is ordering and receiving new books — it still feels like Christmas whenever we get a new box of books — and we are pleased to report that our stock of books has continued to grow steadily.
Our customers have been asking us to come up with a list of our bestsellers, so we have obliged and published our list of bestsellers here. While it certainly provides some insight into our customers’ reading habits, the list has to be taken with a pinch of salt as it is never our policy to purchase more than a few copies of each title. This mean that sales of a title that takes a while to restock may be lower than a title that we purchased in bulk to, for example, facilitate an in-store event.
Another interesting development is how we have really started intensifying the number of literary events at our store. Since the store’s opening, we’ve hosted several authors, live recordings with BFM’s Bookmark programme, book launches, etc. We are also going to be doing a Murakami-inspired jazz performance to show that literature isn’t confined to just the written word.
Another quick word of thanks to all, and keep following us here or on social media to keep up with developments!
Elaine and I would like to congratulate all Malaysians in making the brave decision to vote for change in the recently concluded GE14. As with our fellow citizens, we, too, were glued to our television screens in anxious trepidation — I at the bookshop with some of our regular customers and she in her hometown of Kota Kinabalu — as the polling numbers came in. There was both joy and anxiety as it became clear that we were bearing witness to the start of a new chapter in our country’s story.
GE14 notched many firsts for our relatively young country: the first time we’ve changed the government; the first time bastion states have fallen into the hands of the opposition; the first time that the deputy prime minister (elect) will be a woman; etc. It is no surprise then that a spirit of renewal and optimism has effused the national dialogue and consciousness. But what may be the most important lesson of the election is the proof positive of the possibility of change — a possibility not in terms of a lofty philosophical concept but in terms of the sheer ability of the Malaysian political and governance framework to admit of change. This was a change which former cynics said was impossible.
I used to number myself among those cynics and though I did not see the #undirosak movement as useful, neither did I think that my vote was going to make much of a difference. To be proven wrong was a welcome surprise, and prompted immediate feelings of regret for not having kept the faith.
As impossible as it was, it has happened and we must not squander the opportunity to make the most of this new beginning. Lest we forget, we the Rakyat are complicit in allowing the previous administration to become the oppressive cangue around our necks. The possibility that the new administration may devolve into a similar construct is very real: power corrupts, after all, and the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. It is done.
We are thrilled by the news that the George Town Literary Festival has won the London Book Fair’s Literary Festival Award 2018! This is such a positive affirmation of the literary scene in Malaysia, and a tribute to the hard work of the festival’s many tireless organisers. Our heartiest congratulations!
“This is a win for culture, for literature, for free speech and expression. This is a win for discourse, diversity and conversation. This is a win for Penang, for George Town, for all who love literary festivals and for all who love our festival. This is a win for Malaysia, for what we are, and what we can be. This is a win for all, for all of us who love the word and what it represents to us, to SE Asia, to the world. This is a huge honour for the work we have done, and the work that we will continue to do. Thank you ALL so very, very much,”
Bernice Chauly, Festival Director of the George Town Literary Festival.
The first issue of our newsletter is now available for download as a pdf file. If you are subscribed to our newsletter and didn’t receive it in your email, please do check your spam folder. Alternatively, you can download it here.
A quick post to give everyone a first glimpse of our store. We’ve finalised the design and we’re excited about what our wonderful designers, Wunderwall, has come up for us.
At this point, Elaine and I are trying our best to hurry the process along because we can’t wait to start filling the shelves with books and merchandise. We can assure you that no one is as eager as we are to get things done so that we can throw open our doors. We hope you’re looking forward to it too.
In the meantime, do subscribe to our newsletter from the link on the sidebar. We haven’t been sending many updates yet but that will change soon. Cheers!
Here are some of the 3D renders of our proposed store:
Opening Hours Monday & Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday to Sunday: 1pm to 7pm
Getting Here via Public Transportation The easiest way to get here via public transportation is to hop on to the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT line and get off at the Surian MRT Station. Exit via Gate A and get on board the feeder bus (T807) at the station. The busses depart regularly and you should get off at the second stop ‘Tropicana Avenue’.