The view from Kinokniya in KL
The bookshop like this is a huge resource for someone working in publishing. I’ve been coming here for the past 22 years. I’ve watched the comic section grow from three shelves to seven. That’s not counting the Manga or the comics for kids which seem to be doubling every year.
The children section of the bookshop is almost like it’s own bookshop. Noticing indie comic artist find success in the children’s section was what piqued my interest in the market.
The way the comics from famous Instagram era were treated more like kitsch than Literature steered me away from the path of an instagram cartoonist #relatable.
The piles of Eric Carle, Oliver Jeffers, Jon Klassen and the breadth books illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake, served as the cornerstone of my style as I aimed to position myself right within them.
This was actually the direct advice of a publishing director. To see the things out there that resonate with you , and place yourself within that.
I take ‘out there’ to mean a world class bookshop like Kinokunya. Because not all bookshops are made equal.
I realized in my last visits how this specific bookshop has shaped me as a creator. I very much look forward to taking up more and more shelf space in the place over the years and decades.
A fantasy since I was a kid, that’s rapidly becoming a reality.
⭐️ Consider where you want to be placed in the bookshop, and work towards that.
I’d like a spot between, How to Train your Dragon and the Magic faraway tree in the chapter book shelves.
A series of non-fiction picturebooks between ‘the book of bees’ and Owen Davey’s animal books.
A place on the picturebook feature table alongside Oliver Jeffers, Jon Klassen and Christian Robinson.
And upstairs in the art department a spot next to Austin Kleon’s Steal like an artist trilogy.
The first step of an apprenticeship is to observe. My years visiting the bookshop has served as a 22 year apprenticeship in the publishing industry.