Monday, 13 April 2015

Fixi Buka Kedai, Yo

So, Fixi has a store. Hooray!

And it has an Apple store vibe to it.

Kedai Fixi at Jaya Shopping Centre, which is not Jaya One or Jaya 33

But, considering how big this indie book publisher has become, setting up a bricks-and-mortar presence sounds logical. Even Lejen Press, another indie publisher, has a store in Subang Jaya.

Which, according to Fixi's Amir Muhammad, kind of helped him get a lot for the shop in the fourth floor of Jaya Shopping Centre, near the landmark Digital Mall. "Jaya Shopping Centre originally offered a shoplot to Lejen Press, but Lejen said their shop in Subang Jaya was sufficient for the time being, so Fixi came in," said Amir.

He stressed at least once that Jaya Shopping Centre was not Jaya One or Jaya 33.

Some of the wares on sale at Kedai Fixi

Besides publications by Fixi, the store also retails stuff from Lejen Press, Dubook Press, Maple Comics and Moka Mocha Ink. The store was officially launched on Saturday, 11 April, though the atmosphere was anything but "official".

In an impromptu speech, Amir thanked the representatives of Jaya Shopping Centre and writers and staff of Fixi, including writers who "defected" to other publishing houses (it's okay, they can write for anybody).

Fixi author Nadia Khan (centre) with a couple of attendees of the event.
The guy on the right is Richard Wong, but other than organising events
for British Council KL, I'm not sure what else he does

Some of the writers who were there included newlyweds Nadia Khan (Kelabu, Gantung, Cerpen Nadia Khan) and Mamü Vies (Dog Pound), Anuar Shah (Pinjam, Pentas), Mim Jamil (Lari), Ridhwan Saidi (Cekik+Amerika, Brazil) and Muhammad Fatrim (Asrama, Patung).

Thanks also went to media people who supported Fixi and spread the word about it and its books, especially BFM Radio's bookmaven Umapagan Ampikaipakan and journalist and author Bissme S. I think Linda Tan Lingard from the Yusof Gajah Lingard Literary Agency was also there.

Fixi boss Amir Muhammad (picture on the right, third from foreground) is
flanked by by several authors: Mim Jamil (foreground), Anuar Shah and
Ridhwan Saidi (background) as he delivers his speech and thanks those
who made the day, the shop and Fixi possible.

ASTRO Awani covered the event (Kedai Fixi - "premis bergaya hipster"?) and spoke to Amir (of course). The segment has been YouTubed and posted on Fixi's Facebook page.

I found this bit interesting: "Actually, what surprised me is the response from not only readers but writers as well," said Amir in the video. We receive 20 to 30 manuscripts every month, mostly from new writers who never thought of writing a novel until they read novels from Fixi or similar publishers. So these books speak to them, telling them that they also have stories to share."

Part of the crowd that came for the launch. The gentleman on the
extreme right is the representative from Jaya Shopping Centre.

There's also a story about how one of the Fixi store's staff got a job there. I believe the word Amir used was "blackmail". The female staff, who's waiting for her SPM results, was working at a restaurant in the premises - until she saw the Fixi hoarding in front of the shoplot while it was under renovation.

"She quit her job on the same day," Amir marvelled, "and told me, 'I just resigned from my job; please give me a job.'" Of such stuff are indie publishing legends made of.

Several Fixi authors also signed copies of their latest books for buyers. To commemorate the launch of the Fixi store, those who bought books from it can take their receipts and claim a free "freezie" from the nearby Fresh Code juice and smoothie bar.

Though I got a signed copy of Brazil, I passed. Not my thing. And I had a mango juice from the juice bar.

Congrats, Fixi, for the launch of your first store. May it lead to even better things.

16/04/2015   The Star covered the launch and has a story on the new outlet.


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