AmirMuhammad230314Established in 2011 by writer and independent filmmaker Amir Muhammad, Buku Fixi has become a rare success story in the publishing industry. Its Malay-language urban contemporary novels are a fixture on local bestseller lists. Written in the pulp fiction, noir, horror, crime and thriller genres, many of the novels are brimming with slang and bahasa celupar, making Buku Fixi a distinctive brand of books.

Since its inception, Buku Fixi has branched out into other aspects of publishing, with several other labels under the Fixi umbrella. These include Fixi Retro (which publishes out-of-print Malay books), Fixi Verso (translations of bestsellers), Fixi Novo (English language books) and Fixi Mono (non-fiction).

Amir tells me that he was inspired to create Buku Fixi after attending a local book awards ceremony. According to him, nine out of ten of the Malay fiction nominees had either the words ‘rindu’, ‘kasih’ or ‘cinta’ in their titles.

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Amir Muhammad, owner ofBuku Fixi explains the impact of government subsidized vouchers on the Malaysian book industry and the dominance of Malay-language romance novels.

AmirMuhammad230314For the third year in a row, the Malaysian book industry received a boost in the form of book vouchers given out to university students. The 1Malaysia Book Vouchers are worth RM250 (about $76) which can typically pay for 10 local paperbacks. As they were given out to 1.3 million students and may be used even for non-educational books, the boost to bookshops is noticeable. The voucher is just one of a slew of feel-good subsidy measures from a government which had lost its traditional 2/3 majority in parliament in the last two general elections. 

The idea is to put more books into more people’s hands. Could Malay translations of English bestsellers help to do that?: The Star Online

AmirMuhammad230314Two local publishing companies are shaking things up with interesting forays into translation. Shakespeare and Stephen King in Malay, anyone?

Hafiz Hamzah, founder and editor of Pustaka Obscura, put out Obscura late last year featuring translated snippets of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, T.S Eliot’s The Wasteland, and Homer’s Iliad, among others.