Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Availability of the book Tropical Horticulture and Gardening

The hardcover edition of Tropical Horticulture and Gardening, published by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia and listed at RM260, is no longer available. I understand that the stocks were stored in a room that was too hot and humid for book storage. The pages got stuck together, making the books unusable.

I was provided with a number of hardcover copies of the book instead of royalties. Of these, 30 copies are still available. In response to requests, I have arranged to place autographed copies at the Hort Park Nursery in 1 Utama (next to Mamak Corner) to sell at RM 100 each. Hort Park Nursery does not have a place to display books so one may have to ask the shopkeeper, Nizam, where he keeps them.

The manuscript was originally offered to Times Publications to publish but it was politely rejected. I also made approaches to Oxford University Press and Timber Press but they declined.

I then worked with a designer to obtain the tightest possible integration of pictures with text. My aim was to provide maximum useful information in the minimum number of pages, while making every page a visual treat. Normally a designer works to a fixed template and leaves the text alone. By working side by side, the designer and I were able to arrive at a nice design solution for every page, sometimes by adjusting the pictures and sometimes by adjusting the text, making full use of the flexibility and power of modern publishing software to resize and move things around instantly. When everything was ready, I had a complete full colour sample hand-printed and bound, which I took to the Academy of Sciences Malaysia.

The Academy had received a grant from Government for publishing scholarly books. It published the book, but it had no marketing experience. The books stayed in its store room during the two years when it had the marketing rights. When that period was over, I searched for a new publisher. A friend took it to the boss of MPH and that is how the book finally made it to the MPH bookshops as an inexpensive soft-cover edition. All set up costs had already been absorbed by me and the Academy.

Thank you, John and Jacq www.jaycjayc.com and Autumnbelle http://www.mynicegarden.com/ for reviews of the book in your gardening blogs.


Autumn Belle said...

This book is my 'bible' for plant identification. A great plant finder with a wealth of accurate information. I love the full colour illustrations and carefully taken photographs. The index of scientific names and common names at the back of the book helps to speed up the searches.

My blog post is here: http://www.mynicegarden.com/2011/04/earth-day-reading-project-blog-meme.html

With the availability of the soft copy, more people will benefit. Kudos to you for the hard work, preseverence and determination in getting the book in circulation for the Malaysian public.

Bom said...

Professor, is there a way for foreigners to purchase the hard bound copy?

Dr Francis Ng said...

Hard bound books can be ordered from Borneo Books, www.borneobooks.com

They have the facilities for handling overseas mail orders.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ng, the academy's improper storage of your original hardbound edition of this book is inexcusable! Thank you for providing an alternative resource in the soft cover option.

While researching a plant (Ixora) which I would like to grow in my garden in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, I learned of your book and blog via the jaycjayc website. I plan to recommend the book for acquisition by my employer's library.

I have a few questions:

1)What is the condition of the remaining hardbound books(like new? odor? moisture or mildew damage?)

2)What is the ISBN # for the soft edition (not shown on the mphonline summary)?

3)I am eager to see your book and would like to know what plants are listed and if any might be grown in Saudi Arabia? (maximum heat tolerance, irrigation salt tolerance?)

Thanks very much.

Dr Francis Ng said...

There are two versions of the hard cover edition. One is the Academy version, which is totally ruined by moisture. The other version is a limited edition provided to me as my fee (instead of paying me a royalty). Borneobooks has obtained some copies from me and can entertain mail-orders. I do not handle mail orders myself.

The soft cover edition is obtainable from MPH online and its ISBN is 978-967-5222-44-3.

I am afraid I have no experience with growing conditions in Saudi Arabia and cannot predict how our plants will grow there.

Yow Chuan said...

Dr Ng,

Is the hardcover still available? I would like to obtain one copy for my personal collection :-)

Dr Francis Ng said...

Hi Yow Chuan,I checked at Hort Park Nursery in 1 Utama yesterday (15 June 2011) and they have a copy available.

Yow Chuan said...

Thanks for the prompt reply, Dr. Ng. Will check it out when I drop by 1U!

Leostar98 said...

Dr Ng , i hv planted one avocado tree from seed ( about 1 and 1/2 years ),will this tree produce any fruit in future ? pls advise ..

Dr Francis Ng said...

Vincent, avocado trees are very variable in behaviour. If nothing is known about the origin of a plant, it is not possible to predict its behaviour.

Anonymous said...

hi dr. francis,
i know it will be too late, do you think that nursery still have your hardcover book for sale?

Dr Francis Ng said...

The nursery that used to sell the hardcover edition has closed. The only outlet for the hardcover editon is the bookshop of the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) in Kepong, which has a small supply. The MPH outlets sell the softcover edition but often the book is not on display because after selling the last one they take weeks or months to restock.