CO-FOUNDER and managing director of BookXcess, Andrew Yap, plans to turn the venture into a billion-dollar company while remaining grounded in the philosophy when he started — to cultivate reading culture among Malaysians.

He said BookXcess was committed to its goal of making books more accessible and affordable.

“What drives me every day is our mission to bring books to people, as books in developing countries are still considered luxury items.

“Making it affordable and accessible, that is what drives us to keep on pushing,” he told NST Business in an interview recently.

Yap said as the company had kept its focus more on its Big Bad Wolf book fair for many years, it was high time it began expanding BookXcess’s bookstore operations.

He said the plan to expand BookXcess, currently on a 12,000 sq ft lot in Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya, was timely, as the economy was improving and the ringgit was strengthening.

“We kept on chasing low-hanging fruit to survive in the business. The Big Bad Wolf book fair is a 365-day business condensed into 10 days. It is very intense.

“That has led us to neglect our bookstore, BookXcess. The foreign exchange factor drove us to organise Big Bad Wolf book fairs in other countries, where the local currencies are not as badly affected, such as Thailand and Indonesia.

“Now that we are lot more stable, we are going to concentrate on BookXcess. It is our baby and is the starting point for everything we are doing now.

“I think this is the time that we can give more attention to that,” he said.

Yap said BookXcess would open more bookstores, with at least two planned by September.

He said the company was also working on a megaproject called “The Best Bookstore in the World”, to be launched in Tamarind Square in Cyberjaya on September 16.

BookXcess and the mall’s developer, Tujuan Gemilang Sdn Bhd, plan to set aside 37,000 sq ft of space for the biggest bookstore in Malaysia.

“We are glad that a mall developer is really into this, to create a space and inspire the youth. I think this is really what Malaysia needs right now.

“When I first saw the project, it got me really excited, and we are able to come to a common ground with the developer, and are able to make commercial sense of the idea,” he said.

He said the bookstore was going to be an open space and open 24-hours a day, with BookXcess also organising exhibitions relating to the arts and creative elements.

Yap said visitors would be encouraged to organise small gatherings as it was an open space.

Yap said he hoped the space would inspire people to express their art and creative ideas.

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