READERCON FILIPINO FRIDAY: WEEK 3

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.

6 thoughts on “READERCON FILIPINO FRIDAY: WEEK 3

  1. Lynai, I love how your post is mostly positive! I’ve gone through several of the Filipino Friday posts and most people complain about the availability of books here in the Philippines. I guess that’s usually the case when you already have a preferred genre and you’re looking for specific books.

    I also agree with what you said about book sales people but I guess bookstores can’t afford to hire book lovers all the time.

    1. Hi Chachic. I am so positive when it comes to books because I am not a very picky reader. I do not confine myself to a specific genre or author, although I do have my favorites. 🙂 I have even discovered wonderful books that do not have any review in Goodreads! But, I also had my share of disappointing reads, haha. My point is, if I want to read, I do not stress myself if the book I want is not available. There are still other wonderful books to read if only one has the patience to look for them. 🙂

  2. Wow! I feel for you, about NBS being the only “regular” book store in your area. Back in 2000-something, the only “regular” book store in our area was Expressions. And they only sold mostly Danielle Steel. Good thing I was not yet a picky reader then. 😀

    1. At least we have 2 NBS here, haha! And the staff are friendly enough to reserve books for their customers. There are indeed advantages when one isn’t picky with what he reads. 🙂

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