ReaderCon Filipino Friday Week 3: Being a reader in the Philippines

August 26, 2011 - - 8 Comments


This week’s Filipino Friday post is about the pros and cons of being a reader in the Philippines.

When it comes to book buying I’m a bargain hunter, and I like that I can get cheap books here. This of course depends on reading taste, and the books I read are the ones that tend to show up in Book Sale eventually. I’ve gone into really nice bookstores in other countries and chose not to buy a thing, because upon conversion I knew I’d get a better deal back home. (The exception is my copy of …Kavalier and Clay from the Strand, more of a souvenir.)
I like that Filipino readers talk to each other about books. My 2011 reading list has titles I discovered because of the local book bloggers I follow.
I don’t like that some ebooks are more expensive or not available to me at all because I’m in the Philippines. I know there’s distribution drama behind it, but come on.
I wish that we had a really nice and accessible library, but I have to admit — I had access to a fairly good one in college, and all I did there was use the Internet kiosks. I work in a place with a really good one now, and I’m there only to buy stuff from the coffee shop. I’m a reader but I’m the type who would rather own than borrow, and if a book is too expensive then I wait for a sale or tell myself I can live without it. I visited the New York Public Library and spent some happy hours in the ones in Singapore and Hong Kong, but I don’t think I’ll be spending much time browsing there on a regular basis if I lived in those places.
But maybe if the books were sent to my house? Like a Netflix for books? Years ago my husband and I started a service kind of like this — we sold a book cheap, sent it to the buyer, and after a certain amount of time they could send it back and get another one. (Or not send it back at all and it’s like they just bought a book.) We stopped doing it because it was time-consuming, and courier services didn’t offer cheap pickup and delivery then as they do now.
Is there something like that here now? Because I’d definitely try it.
Anyway, the Filipino Reader Conference is happening on September 14. Babysitter’s been booked, so I think I can go. See you all there!



  • Monique

    August 26, 2011 at 10:16 pm, Reply

    <i>I&#39;m a reader but I&#39;m the type who would rather own than borrow. </i><br /><br />Ditto. :)<br /><br />By the way, which college did you attend? πŸ™‚

  • dementedchris

    August 26, 2011 at 11:10 pm, Reply

    That&#39;s such an interesting lending service you had there, Mina! There was once a bookstore/cafe in BF Paranaque that lent out their books for a small fee (yup, just like renting a video, complete with a set membership/registration fee). This makes me wish that we had more community libraries here.

  • blurredlights

    August 26, 2011 at 11:35 pm, Reply

    dementedchris, there was one in the New Manila area too. It was inside the Glory&#39;s grocery near Broadway Centrum, and they lent out books. My older sister was a loyal customer there. πŸ™‚

  • Mina

    August 27, 2011 at 12:10 am, Reply

    @Monique <br />Ateneo for undergrad, UP (LB and Manila, OU kasi) for grad school. <br /><br />@dementedchris and blurredlights <br />2011 version of that service should have online borrowing and payment, and choice of home delivery or pickup points. *nod*

  • Chachic

    August 27, 2011 at 1:22 am, Reply

    Yep, mostly used the Ateneo library either to study by myself or for internet sessions. I think I tried looking for fiction books there one time but wasn&#39;t that successful. I only found a handful of romance novels. Maybe I should have tried harder and asked for a librarian&#39;s help. Oh well.<br /><br />Netflix for books! I&#39;d love to have something like that here.

  • Jinky

    August 27, 2011 at 8:01 am, Reply

    You were on to something there with the &quot;Nitflex&quot; for books idea … I could see how that would require a lot of groundwork finance, perseverance, staffing, etc.

  • aloi

    August 27, 2011 at 10:46 am, Reply

    did you ever try bookmooch? <br /><br />i must agree — local book lovers are a really friendly bunch πŸ™‚

  • Mina

    August 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm, Reply

    @Chachic <br />I think the one time I looked up something for leisure reading, it was Shakespeare. I wonder what gems were in there that I missed. :)<br /><br />@Jinky<br />It *was* difficult to maintain, although I gladly would have done it if I didn&#39;t have to do anything else!<br /><br />@aloi<br />Haven&#39;t tried bookmooch yet but I probably will one of these days. πŸ™‚

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About Mina

Mina V. Esguerra writes and publishes romance novels. She founded #RomanceClass, a community of Filipino authors of romance in English.
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