National

Bookstore association says
60% members went bankrupt
in 2008

A national association of book store owners has claimed that it lost 60 percent of its members to bankruptcy last year, following a massive shift in the distribution system of school books.

The Indonesian Bookstore Union announced Saturday that a total of 3,000 bookstores had closed down by the end of last year. The union, Chairman Firdaus Oemar said, currently has a total of 2,000 bookstores registered as members.

Oemar said that stores were destined for bankruptcy after schools implemented a system of producing and selling books directly to students, a trend which began not long after the fall of the New Order era at the end of 1990s.

“To revive the bookstores, and publishing for that matter, book distribution must go back to bookstores. Not like now, when schools can be book distributors,” Oemar said as quoted by kompas.com.

The initiative to go back to the old distribution scheme, Oemar said, was entirely dependent on the government’s political will.

The impact of the current scheme is detrimental to education itself, particularly in small villages where access to books has been curbed after the closing of smaller, local bookstores, he said.

“Its not only that small bookstores will profit, big players will also be able to expand their business to small villages,” he said. (and)

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