How hard or easy is it to be a book lover in the Philippines? What are some of your frustrations as a Filipino reader? And what are the positive aspects of being a reader in the Philippines?
So yesterday, I was at Fullybooked in Greenbelt, looking for a copy of Woman in Black by Susan Hill, this month's book for our book club, Flips Flipping Pages. The customer service guy said in an accent I can't quite place in a look that tells you it's bad news, "We only have 2 copies--one is at Eastwood and one is at Marquee.
I tried to be a diva and asked if they could send the Eastwood copy to Greenbelt. (They once did that for me at Powerbooks; they sent a copy of a book from Greenbelt to Glorietta, and I felt like a really special customer.) The nice guy made a call to Eastwood, after which, the same bad-news expression appeared on his face. Somebody has bought the copy; probably a book club mate of mine. He said he could not contact Marquee, and I figured Pampanga was way too far for me to drive for a book.
Fully Booked can order it for me and it will get to me in 8 weeks. Powerbooks can give it to me sooner--5 to 6 weeks.
Both are not workable options. Our book club will meet in 4 weeks.
So, that's what's frustrating about being a book lover in the Philippines. The books are published so far away. They take too long to get here. And the bookstores only carry very few (6 or so) pieces of every SKU for books. Unless the book is Twilight, Harry Potter, or some other huge hit.
About Philippine published books, my issues are:
- uninteresting book covers (I do judge the book by its cover, among other factors.)
- poor quality paper
- rarely go on discount; the whole bookstore could be giving away books at 50% off, while the local books, if they are on sale at all, would only go for as low as 5% discount.
The positive aspects of being a Filipino reader is that English books are readily available. I lived in Vietnam for a few months, and that's when I appreciated Philippine bookstores.
The other positive aspect to living in the Philippines: slow, heavy traffic, which gives you time to read while waiting for the red light. :)