SCMP Book Publishing Ltd suspended operations from 1-Feb-2008 onwards.
I do not know what do you feel when you know the news. But I can certainly tell you, it shocks all authors, readers, people who working in the cultural circles, and whoever has memories in Hong Kong.
Management announced the news on Tuesday (22-Jan), then tell all staff to leave on Friday (25-Jan); Thursday (24-Jan), they tell editors to call their writers and tell them about the news, still no details about how they are going to settle the copyright issue with book already publihsed and book which have been finished editing but have not been printed. Managment said "if distributor want them, we'll just print 500 pieces". One day before the announcement, all editors were still doing their job, there were still books being edited and sent for printing. Authors were still working hard on their work.
Why so sudden?
The company is healthy, operating normally and making profit. SCMP made this decision simply because they are tired of this Chinese toy, and this subsidery is not making as big profit as their mother company. This is a business decision, I am not going to comment. But the way they handle this suspension is COMPLETELY IRRESPONSIBLE. It's just like HIT & RUN!
Management said "All books unsold on the market will be retrieved and destroyed after March 2008. All rights of published books will be reserved to SCMP. We will not discuss about releasing the copyright, and no plan to re-sell them to another company. However, surely, SCMP will not re-print it again."
That would be a disaster and tragedy to all authors, readers, and the Hong Kong culture! Can you imagine: all books on the bookstore's shelves which has a SCMP Book Publishing logo will never appear on the market. All books published by SCMP in these 27 years will disappear forever.
What a horrible scene!
What a irresponsible, selfish and rediculous decision! It is not only irresponsible to the authors. It is also selfish to readers, and also rediculous to the society! To all authors like me, books are our children. We sign the contract to your company because we trust you. We trust your brand, we trust you as you are one of the biggest firm working for Hong Kong culture. We trust you will provide the best quality books to readers. If we knew you are just keep your eyes on the god damn profits, if we knew you are so irresponsible to us, I can sure none of us will trust you!
Handling your copyright with a publisher is like puting your money in HSBC. You never expect HSBC to close down overnight and run away with your money!
We all authors were betrayed.
SCMP is a newspaper publisher. They are known to be an enterprise engaged in the work with wording, culture, professional knowledge, etc. Maybe you are one of the reader of South China Morning Post, because you think that is a kind of professional printing in Hong Kong. But let me tell you, they are never respecting on above things they work with. If you think this newspaper is a kind of professional reading, if you expecting you can get something from them, I can tell you that this SCMP, an unconscionable publisher, what they worked is devastating the professional, and depressing who expecting them, including the society, and you.
What is wording? What is culture? What is social responsibility? None of their business. The only thing they concern is profit. I understand "the business is business". That is right as a company who looking for high profit. Nevertheless, is there something else of the profit? Is there something the leader of the company needs to concern? Is there nothing in their mind excluding money? What about conscience? Respect? Social culture? Responsibility to the public? And all of our citizen's memories? They are precious!
It should be a big news for Hong Kong. But there is no news in the English media, of course, they run the biggest English newspaper in Hong Kong. Obviously, someone is trying contral the news and don't want their reporters to write about this. At lease I don't think they let you know the details what they've done to their writers, which will destroy their goodwill. That's their professional way, isn't it?
We Authors and many readers are angry and indignant on what SCMP had done. Maybe you don't read Chinese books, or you are reading SCMP newspaper. But still, I hope to let all of you out there, especially English readers know what is happening here in the culture scene in Hong Kong. And you are the one to decide if you still trust the newspaper you read everyday!