BLACKPLUME

lover of written words

Filipino Reader Fridays: Reader in the Philippines

on August 26, 2011

Time to post Filipino Friday meme again to support the upcoming ReaderCon. This week topic is, Being a reader in the Philippines

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)? What are positive aspects of being a reader based in the Philippines?

Reading is not a popular hobby here in the Philippines and surely not easy to maintain. With lots of most popular form of entertainment like televisions, computer games and night outs I find it hard to have circle of friends who make reading as a hobby.

We don’t have much public libraries here compare to other countries. I’ve only seen two so far – the Sinag Tala public library in Quezon City and the National Library in Kalaw, Manila. And these two libraries doesn’t lend books for outside use. You need to read the books within the library premises which I find inconvenient if you want to read thick pages for hours. Obviously these public libraries are for students who needs to do their research or homework.

If I can’t get a copy of books I want from local bookstore, I try to get it from online sellers like in ebay and multiply. But when I discover Book Depository from other online book bloggers, I enjoy the convenience of ordering books from them. Book depository got almost every book I need and they deliver it for free here in the Philippines. Though sometimes I still get frustrated with the waiting.

When I got my Kindle, I adopt to settle with eBooks for the titles that I can’t get physical copies in local bookstores. But since I still prefer to read printed books than eBooks, I try to limit buying eBooks to titles that I really want to read right away. Afterall, I still buy physical copies when they become available here. The only issues I got with buying eBooks is when the book I want isn’t allowed to purchase if you are outside US, which I find unfair! Why they need to limit the distribution? Also some of the titles of Kindle eBooks are priced higher for Asia Pacific users compare to US buyer. Really unfair!!!

On the positive side, books are cheaper here compare to other countries. Though the selections aren’t that wide I think we are still lucky to have the best titles of books to choose from. Like last time I’m in one of the bookstores in Singapore to hunt for Miyuki Miyabe’s books since I can’t find one here, I noticed books are more expensive to buy there. And they don’t have much good selections either for English titles books. I think English titles books are easy to get here compare to other countries that only sell translated versions.

Being a book lover here in the Philippines has both pros and cons but if we really love to read we Filipinos can surely find the means to do it.

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7 responses to “Filipino Reader Fridays: Reader in the Philippines

  1. Celina says:

    I’ve never been to the National Library. Are most of the books there just reference books then?

    I agree with you – Filipinos are known to be resourceful, so when we really want something (in this case books), we will always find a way to get them.:)

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    • blackplume says:

      National Library is just walking distance from our school so it easy for me to drop by there. There are lots of books available & not just reference books but I usually go to the reference sections. As far as I remember there is one floor dedicated for research sections where students are allowed.

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  2. Jinky says:

    Glad to hear you have access to books at inexpensive prices … not here (U.S.A.) so I depend on my library!! 🙂

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    • blackplume says:

      There are many booksale stores here in Manila who sold used & brand new books at reasonable prices. Though I don’t go much to booksale since I don’t have much patience looking for books in stacks. And I also prefer brand new books to used books.

      You are lucky that you got reliable public libraries there. I wish we also have more public libraries here where many teenagers will benefit from it.

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  3. Chachic says:

    I’ve never even been inside a public library here in the Philippines! But from what you mentioned, it looks like I’m not missing much. LOL most of the Filipino Friday posts mention libraries so it’s really one of the biggest disadvantages of being a reader in the Philippines.

    Like you, I only read ebook editions of books that I can’t wait to read and when I end up falling in love with them, I still want a physical copy. I also use my Kindle for galleys from NetGalley or GalleyGrab.

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    • blackplume says:

      I’ve only tried two which are both near my schools when I’m still studying & you are not really missing much. In fact our school library is much better than this two libraries I mentioned. Though I don’t know if they still operate the same way.

      I haven’t tried GalleyGrab. I thought they don’t support Kindle.

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  4. blackshirt13 says:

    Haven’t been to a library since, like, forever.. 😛 Which is kinda bit absurd considering I’m such a bookworm. My Kindle makes up my whole library nowadays since I have stopped acquiring printed books to avoid clutter. 🙂 Given such, it’s not so hard to keep up with new book releases if you know where to look.

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