Literature is the best thing that has happened to me since I was a little girl. There’s just something about the written word, the old smell of books, and the sound of pages turning. Add a cup of tea by your side and the pouring rain outside, you’re good to go! I always love hoarding books because unlike food, they never go rotten. They just sit there on your shelf, waiting for you to crack them open and discover the stories within. Any type of bookstore just sets me on fire and makes me giddy. The sight of books on shelves, row after row, hallway after hallway, is just so relaxing and therapeutic for me. No wonder I love the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF).
The MIBF is a yearly book fair which is joined every year by various book stores, publishing houses, and basically anything that has literature. There are book signings by local authors and occasionally, international authors. Workshops on books with regard to education, technology, and innovations are also held here. The fair usually lasts for 5 days and has always been held at the SMX at Pasay City for as long as I can remember.
This is my 3rd time to attend so I now know what to expect and how much money to bring. This year, I brought around Php 4000 (almost $100) with me compared to the previous occasions. Ever since I’ve heard news of this year’s fair, I knew that I had to buy G.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice. I’ve been wanting to read it for so long because of various reasons. When I went in, I was so excited. I was able to get free tickets from fellow bookworms here in the Philippines. I didn’t know where to start! I felt like I was in dreamland because everything was just a sight to behold! Books buffet! Books for 100 pesos ($2) each! Book signings! For most of the stalls, there were a lot of awesome deals and discount. Some were selling Readers’ Digest issue bundles, 12 issues for Php 500. Crazy steal, considering that the issues sold were that of last years.
There were a lot of history books, memorabilia, collectibles–usually ranging from mildly expensive to crazy expensive! I got these two books–Torment and Fallen–for Php 100 each, which is quite a steal because when I checked the original price, it was around Php 400. The books’ pages were a bit yellowed and the cover wasn’t straight as when it was first produced but that’s alright because only content matters to me. Steal! The Robin Hood book cost around Php 50. The Lovestruck books, I got for around Php 50. A dollar each for a brand new book! They were originally Php 70. I care about the discount even if its minimal because when I bought these babies, I was really watching my spending now. I had about less than Php 300 to go before I ran out.
Love and Misadventure, and Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, however, was sold at their regular price. I won’t blame them. Bestselling books are always sold at their original price. It’d take a few years before they mark it down, as in the case of Torment and Fallen. Because I loved the book fair, I came back the second time. I went on a Thursday and came back 3 days later. I accompanied my cousin for her book signing. I grabbed the blue Lovestruck book as my last gift to myself. I also grabbed a few calling cards so I’d be able to remember where to buy my OT and medicine books. I didn’t buy anything from there because I was all set for school anyway and they were crazy expensive!
Before September ended, I stopped by at a local Book Sale to have a look around. I found two of Stieg Larsson’s books just staring at me from the cashier’s table, wrapped in plastic. They were both around Php 100 each, with creases on the spine and slight yellowing of pages on the outside. I was okay with that because, again, content mattered especially if you’re on a tight budget.
That’s about it! I think this haul is going to be my first and last, if you ask my family. It was all just so crazy! I didn’t mind spending books as long as they were worth the price and a steal.