Commercial book publishing in Thailand
2010-11-09T14:25:13Z (GMT) by
The present study involves the gathering of data and information on book publishing in Thailand and an attempt to systematically develop a data base on the book publishing industry. The research gives emphasis to the private sector which has recently been encouraged by the government to play a leading role in national development. Critical analysis of the findings serves as a basis for recommendations to promote and develop commercial book publishing. Almost all commercial book publishers in Thailand are based in the capital city of Bangkok. Regardless of the seemingly continuing emergence and disappearance of publishing houses, the number of publishers have been steadily increasing through the years. The newly established enterprises tend to be non-family business and could successfully compete in the market, gradually catching up with the older establishments. Most publishers are faced with problems relating to manuscripts, either quantitatively or qualitatively or both. The current general business practice is informal having no written agreement between publisher and author. It is an exception rather than a rule that books are edited by professional editors. Distribution remains a major issue in the development of the publishing industry. Consequently, publishers tend to carry out their own distribution as soon as it becomes economically feasible. It is noted that Thai women are active in book publishing with the average rate of female employment among the majority of publishers under study being slightly more than half of the total employment. Statistics on book production during the past two decades show an overall increase of more than 600 percent. Commercial publishers play an important role in the book publishing industry with commercial book production accounting for half or more of the total number of titles published, gradually increasing from slightly over 50 percent in 1981 to over 70 percent in 1986. The annual trade value is over 3,000 million bahts (US$ 124 million), with no less than 20,000 titles in circulation. The survey indicates average spending on books is less than 1 percent of earning. There appears to be a significant correlation between the GNP per capita and book production. The study reveals that in 1986 there was one book for every 2 to 3 people compared to one book for every 4 to 5 in 1977. The publishing industry has been serving mainly the local market and, as such, is significantly affected by government policy and planning. The National Library of Thailand and the Book Development Centre are the two major national organizations promoting book development in addition to the relevant professional associations. In anticipation of increasing potential market for commercial book, certain major recommendations are proposed to further develop the book publishing industry. These include: 1) Strengthening of the national machinery and professional organizations. 2) Systematic collection and publication of national statistics on book production. 3) Promotion of professional editorial in book publishing.