The bookfair is upon us once again and while I'm still getting accustomed to the fact that it's all the way in the World Trade Center, bookworms can rejoice in the fact that all four major bookstore chains are present, instead of just Goodwill Bookstore.
Here are some tips/impressions of the place:
1) Entrance fee is P10.00, P6.00 if you're a student/teacher (with ID). By now, you should realize how much the organizers are earning, since the bookstores are paying to get stalls inside the place, and you're paying to get in.
2) The place seems smaller, even if it's not. The explanation is because the stalls are bigger, or rather Goodwill and National Bookstore/Powerbooks and Fully Booked combined occupy around one third of the entire place.
2a) If you're looking for good fiction books, don't even bother with Goodwill Bookstore.
2b) Powerbooks has no genre sections (i.e. fantasy, horror, mystery, etc.) although it has the usual division of books like children's, arts and crafts, etc. Instead, everything is lumped up by author alphabetically in the fiction section. On one hand, it's easier, but don't bother wasting time looking for a sign that says "science fiction".
2c) National Bookstore, on the other hand, does have sections, but they're small. As in one shelf small. I know people who are bigger than a shelf.
2d) Fully Booked's okay, except if you're a SF&F fan. What's misleading is that there are two SF&F sections, one on each column. What it doesn't tell you is that one is the children's section SF&F, and the other is the general one. If you're stuck in one and looking for the other, don't fret. It exists.
3) Before you pay a visit to the big bookstores, you might want to visit A Different Bookstore first. While the big bookstores are giving discounts up to 20% off, A Different Bookstore is giving 25%. But that only applies to their new releases. Everything else is dirt cheap. They have this shelves and bins full of books going for P45, P95, and such. I got a mint condition Lions of Al-Rassan and Neuromancer for P99 each (yes, these are books I'll never read because I've read them already and I already own a copy... this is for shopping for Christmas in advance).
4) If you're into manga or comics, go to the CCHQ booth. Yes, it's hard to find, but it'll be worth it. Elbert's occassionally helping man the store (to get to know chicks, I'm sure), but Japanese manga are going for P100 each. Everything else is at a ridiculously discounted price.
5) The usual suspects, you might want to check out the university presses for books, Anvil for local publications, and Emerald for magazines.
6) The food is located outside, but there's a coffee place inside on the opposite end.
7) Bring lots of cash. Discounts are cheaper when you pay in cash.