For this week's Filipino Friday, this is the topic:
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?Taking into consideration my personal experience so far, I think that reading is a fairly convenient hobby to keep in the Philippines. Of course, I'm speaking in general terms here. If you want to read, books are fairly accessible, and there is always a variety of reading materials to choose from.
The problematic areas arise with the more particular readers. For example, if a reader favors a specific genre or type of book over any other, there is really the possibility that materials that would cater to him/her may not be as readily accessible as he/she would prefer, since it is also possible that the local bookstores/merchants would run out of genre-particular books or, worse, not carry them at all. On the other hand, if a reader is more - how would you say it - open to other genres or classes of books, then accessibility should not be a problem; local stores always carry the mainstream books. With specialty bookstores Fully Booked and Powerbooks (which I heard from the grapevine will be merging with National Book Store) carrying titles that would ordinarily not be available from other stores, the Filipino reader's choices are now more diverse than ever.
Personally, I have yet to encounter problems with books that I want to read. I find that the titles I want become available, sooner or later, at the local bookstores. If I want to read a book bad enough, and it isn't available locally yet, I try to find if the Kindle edition is available, and buy that in the meantime - I still buy print copies of books that I've already read, if it's a favorite. Often, if I find that a book I've had my eye on has a Kindle edition, I buy that, too. If I want to save a little money, or am feeling a little scrooge-y, or feel that I've spent too much on books at any particular time and yet can't resist the urge to buy something anyway, I ask my favorite online sellers for titles that I want, and they usually get them for me. Or I drop by Book Sale outlets. Over all, I haven't experienced any real difficulty with respect to book availability, or with maintaining my reading hobby per se.
Positive aspects of being a reader based in the Philippines? Well, I have no point of comparison, really, so I can't say, in all honesty. I enjoy being a part of an online book club, but hardly ever get to join the discussions (unless it's for a classics read; I have joined "reading buddies" with some friends from The Filipino Group in Goodreads and discussed a couple of classics with them) because (1) I'm really more of a leisure-reader, and (2) I don't always have time to do discussions because of my work and my wife and mother duties. So on that score, I don't think I'm really missing much.
For more blogger-participants in this week's Filipino Friday, please hop on over to the site. Happy Friday! :)