Finally. I get to post this on time. It’s the start of the long weekend for me today (National Heroes Day on Monday and the end of Ramadan on Tuesday) plus it’s rainy now due to typhoon Mina, so here I am at home writing this blog with my first cup of coffee for the day. Ahh, this is the life. 🙂
Here is the topic for this week:
How hard or easy is it to be a book lover in the Philippines? What are some of your frustrations as a Filipino reader (e.g., availability of books)? And what are the positive aspects of being a reader based in the Philippines?
How hard or easy is it to be a book lover in the Philippines?
As a book lover, I am very easy to please. I am not very picky with the books I read, and I am not very particular as to whether the books I read are award-winners or critically-acclaimed, and more often than not I am always swayed by book blurbs regardless of whether the author is known or not. Of course, if I were given choices, I would still choose to read books that are in my favorite genres (i.e. mystery, crime, thrillers) but, if there are no choices left anymore and I am on a reading mood, I won’t refuse any kind of reading material available, be it a cookbook, an old magazine, or a Tagalog pocketbook.
So, to answer the question, I find it very easy to be a book lover in the Philippines. There is my favorite bookstore, Booksale, that makes book-hunting more thrilling and book-buying more budget-friendly. And then, there is the National Bookstore, which is the only bookstore that sells brand new books in my place. If there is a book I want that is not available in my place, I can request some good friends to look for copies for me in other bookstores in Manila (like Fully Booked and Powerbooks) or even in the US and have them ship the books to me (thank God for friends). And lately, I discovered wonderful online bookstores in Multiply. Oh, and yes, I can still borrow from other friends. Most of my friends are generous enough to lend me their books (as long as I take care of them and yes, return them). I do not have an e-reader (yet) but I believe having a Kindle or a Nook can be a great advantage especially if you badly want to read a book that is not yet available in print. So you see, being a book lover in the Philippines is fairly easy. All one needs is just the money to spend for new books that seem to grow more in number every day and the time to read all those wonderful books.
What are some of your frustrations as a Filipino reader (e.g., availability of books)?
As what I have stated in the previous paragraphs, I do not have any problem with availability of books in the Philippines. My only complaint is that most sales assistants of bookstores do not know enough about their books. Or, the books are sometimes not in the right shelf. I ask for a particular book and most often, it would take too long for them to point me to the right shelf. Worst, I would get a blank look in reply. Book store companies should train their staff on efficient customer service.
And what are the positive aspects of being a reader based in the Philippines?
Being a reader based in the Philippines has led me to wonderful groups of equally or, I should say, more voracious book lovers like The Filipino Group in Goodreads and the really awesome book bloggers in Filipino Book Bloggers. I am sure there are other groups of Filipino readers and book lovers in the Internet (i.e. Flip Flipping Pages) but the TFG is the group that has nurtured and expanded my love for reading.
Before I end this post, I would like to invite every Filipino reader to attend the first ever Filipino Reader Conference on September 14, 2011 at SMX Mall of Asia. For more details, check out their website here.