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Another year, another MIBF

Posted by Marie on Sunday, September 20, 2009 in , ,
The 30th Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) is going to end today. I went there yesterday and came home with an empty wallet but a satisfying haul. I wish I can go there today - I’m sure the booths are going to do an all-or-nothing book sale war - but I’m not sure my woeful finances can handles any more additional pressure. Sigh. But anyway, here is my opinionated thought on the week-long book orgy.With Powerbooks out of the scene and with National Book Store being the only major book store chain to have a booth, the MIBF this year had inadvertently made smaller book stores and local publishers shine more brightly this year. I wasn’t surprised when I heard some grumbles from other shoppers that book buying at the MIBF is harder this year. I quite disagree with them. One of the reasons I love going to the MIBF is because it is the only chance one can see local publishers and smaller book sellers in one place. Not only that. MIBF is one of the few times when these exhibitors sell publications that one might not be able to see the light of day in book stores and/or without going to their respective offices. And oftentimes at bargain prices, to boot!

I would give the best seller prize for this year to Bookmark. They gave the best bargain of the entire fair when they sold some of those beautiful hardbound Lacson-Locsin translations of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo at 200 pesos a copy. I managed to get a Fili but cried a little when I wasn’t able to get a Noli (sob!). Another best seller from Bookmark was some 10 pesos per pack old Philippines photos and scenes as well as the cheap (below 50 pesos) children’s books. Next on the list is, of course, National Book Store. A bargain hunter will always adore a bookseller when it offers at least a 20% discount on ANY book in its store. Their sale during the MIBF (and during the whole month of September, actually) is thus always a goldmine for graphic novel enthusiasts who go gaga over the availability of good selections at bargain prices. I particularly like it that they had offered Oxford World’s Classics at 99 pesos a pop (and with 20% off, that means it's actually just 80 pesos). I bought a complete set of Jane Austen’s work – well almost, since there weren't any copies of Pride and Prejudice in NBS, or strangely enough, in the entire book fair itself. A Different Bookstore also had a good bargain deal but they should’ve paced the restocking of their inventory a little better – many good titles had been sold out during the first few days of the fair and the remaining ones are a bit unappetizing.

There is a tie for the most fun exhibit in the fair between Lampara Books and Diwa Learning System. The prettiest inventory is that of Ayala Foundation; I’ll also give it the gosh-I-wish-I-can-afford-that! prize. The most disappointing sale is that of Anvil Publication – the have great books but sad, unappetizing bargain bins. The most underrated and hope-they-have-a-better-setup-next-year prize is given to National Historical Institute (NHI) – great selection, great bargain, bad booth setup. The hippest inventory is that of Visprint Publishing (love the Bob Ong T-shirt btw), plus we saw Carlo Vergara for the nth time. I’m not much into Christian literature but the OMF Literature booth was jam-packed. UP Press had the best bargain among the few university and organization exhibits in the fair.

Well, that’s it for the 30th MIBF. It had I been a great experience yet again. I hope to see more exhibits in 2010!

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