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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

Megabooks – a new ‘virtual’ bookstore

Richard Murray (centre) Chairman of RAM Holdings flanked by guests of honour Surat Osathanugrah, president of the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand (left) and Ponsatorn Ketsamlee (right) from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Richard Murray presents a gift to Surat Osathanaugrah in appreciation
of his profound support of Megabooks.

Richard Murray announces the launch of Megabooks.

Dr Iain (left) presents a copy of his book to Richard Murray.

A few of the 55 celebrated photographers who contributed to the making of ‘Nine Days in the Kingdom’ were in attendance and made a presentation of their best selling coffee table book.

Last week I went to visit a new bookstore which has just opened in Thailand. This was Megabooks, a store where reading material does not need to cost megabucks. For the avid readers, this held much interest, and I took the time off to make the Bangkok pilgrimage to find out what this was all about.
Most people with an interest in books understand the concept behind the US virtual bookshop, Amazon dot com. Search for the book, find it and order on line, and in a few days (or weeks some times) your selection arrives. This has been a boon for those looking for rare titles, or for those with no good bookstore in their locality, or those confined to the house. That concept has now been introduced into Thailand.
The driving force behind Megabooks is Richard A Murray, a Canadian with an interest in books, magazines and retailing for many years. In the late 1980’s he relocated to Thailand and formed a distribution company called Distri-Thai. This was very successful and he launched a retail outlet for his books and magazines and newspapers, called Bookazine. Bookazine stores are well represented in Thailand with more than a dozen outlets, and cover Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Hua Hin (the fastest growing retirement town in Thailand, said Richard). This business was sold in 2001 and recently, Asia Books took over the management of Bookazine as well as its own outlets.
However, Richard Murray, through his holding company RAM Holdings was not through with book, magazine and newspaper retailing. At the end of 2007 he launched Megabooks as a virtual store, plus two real stores, one in Hua Hin and the other in Bangkok. However, for the readers of this newspaper, the virtual store is of more interest.
For the same reasons that people went to Amazon dot com, they can now go to a local outlet, and Richard Murray stated that their goal at Megabooks was an overnight delivery. That alone might have been enough to secure the future of the virtual store, but Richard Murray had another ace up his virtual sleeve, and that was substantial savings.
In his address to the media at the launch in Bangkok, he said that with the strengthening of the Thai baht, prices should have come down, but they have not. Megabooks took note of this and prices its books much lower with the currency gains. This has allowed substantial savings to be passed on to the customers.
Richard Murray also said that they will keep considerable ranges and quantities in stock, so if you find it on their virtual bookshelves, it is physically in stock, ready for delivery.
You can peruse the ‘bookshelves’ of Megabooks by going to www.megabooks and you will find that there are indeed many bargains to be found, such as an ‘extra book’ offer on Stephen Leather’s new book ‘Dead Men’, all the way through to B. 195 bargains on a whole range of paperbacks.
E-payment is through the Siam Commercial Bank and Megabooks accepts Visa, Mastercard and JCB using the secure portal through SCB.
To find out more about Megabooks, visit