Today, my trip to the bookstore – well, three different bookstores in one mall actually – was glaringly different. Since school’s started for most kids, I was dreading the long queues at the counter. But when I got to NBS, although there was a modest crowd inside there were no long lines. This surprised me a lot. Don’t tell me all Filipino parents and kids have changed overnight and no one’s guilty anymore of last-minute shopping for school supplies? Where else do you shop for school stuff if not at NBS?
AT tells me that most people are buying at DV or 168 now because it’s much cheaper there. I’m glad that people now have more affordable places to shop for school stuff but I can’t help but feel sad at how empty bookstores feel nowadays. I had lots of happy times shopping for school supplies and books in NBS when I was still a student. I have a feeling it won’t ever be like that again.
The two other bookstores I visited were almost empty. One had painfully bare shelves – it was a very sad sight.
But…there’s room for hope. For starters, the Wattpad writers have significantly rejuvenated the book industry here in PH. They got teenagers to buy books and I hope that trend continues. So that’s one thing.Also, from each bookstore I ended up buying books and I think the reasons why I ended up buying books - rather than ebooks - are reasons which other Filipino readers (not all) can relate to.
1. The books I'm looking for are not available as ebooks.
In particular, I was looking for Sha Nacino's Money & Me on Amazon and couldn't find it. But I really, really wanted to read it coz I like what I've read from her blog so yeah, it had to be the bookstore for me. My point here, though, is not to discourage readers from buying ebooks or authors from having their books available as ebooks. My point is that if a reader wants a book badly enough, she / he would buy it.
2. Today was all about buying books for work.
You see, for books I read for pleasure I buy them in ebook format because it’s a lot quicker that way. Also, when there’s this book I’ve been anticipating for months, it’s just impossible for me to have the patience to go to the bookstore and buy a copy. Why do that when with just a few clicks I get to read the book in seconds?
But when I’m reading for work or when I need a couple of non-fiction and reference books, I realize that I prefer their paperback / hardbound versions. It just feels more…serious to me. And I still find it more effective and simpler to highlight favourite lines and write notes on the margins, sort of like what we used to do back in school.
I think a lot of people feel this way, and I think – given the right marketing – promoting all sorts of non-fiction and reference books could be another way of getting people interested in books again. Or at least it's possible here in PH.
For instance, today I bought four books on financial investment and a thesaurus.
3.) I wanted to buy books as a way of supporting local authors.
All four books I bought on financial investment were written by local authors. I’ve read Rich Dad Poor Dad before and I really liked it. I was particularly overjoyed when I found several local authors who wrote books on personal finance and were avid fans of Robert Kiyosaki as well. This is important for me since it means we at least believe in the same principles. The fact that these authors are also Filipinos is just as essential. It means they know what we Filipinos normally struggle with when it comes to money matters and as such be able to provide the necessary remedies accordingly.
In case you’re interested, here are the books I bought ---
Money & Me by Sha Nacino
Think Rich, Pinoy by Larry Gamboa
55 Inspiring Stories of Women Entrepreneurs by Joey Concepcion
Money Matters by Henry Ong et al
P.S. To be honest, I was hoping I could also buy one or two books on improving my writing. I know this may sound weird, considering I already write for a living.
Well, when I was a kid, one of my favourite mottos was to “never stop learning”. I believe that the moment you stop learning is the moment you fail. I kind of lost sight of this partly because I did feel like I knew it all already but mostly because I just didn’t have any time to devote to learning. I was so busy working and writing. But thankfully, I’ve moved past that. Now, I’m actively looking for ways to improve myself as an author. It’s not just a matter of grammar and prose, mind you. I’m also looking for ways to improve the way I structure my plots and develop original story ideas or at least new twists.
In my younger years, I used to spend huge amounts of time perfecting my writing. I want to write beautiful and visually powerful and wonderfully evocative sentences. The kind that you could easily print and frame and hang on your wall because the words are so puh-rity.
But nowadays, I don’t mind about that much. What I care most about is being able to write stories that make my readers smile, laugh, and fall in love. Hitting a bestselling list on my own used to be a huge ambition of mine, but now…not so much. Not at all. Every time I release a book, the only thing I end up praying about is, please God, I hope my readers like it.
That’s it. And if they do, then I’m happy.