Tuesday, May 31, 2005

An hour or two inside a book store

Last weekend I found myself going to National Book Store Superbranch, the one beside Gateway Mall, in Cubao. I was curious about the second hand books on sale at the top most floor of the bookstore. I mentioned this a few entries back and noted that there was huge deluge of books and other stuff from WHSmith that had found its way to NBS Superbranch, at half the price. There might be some "new" books and other things on sale. Also I was interested in seeing how the old superbranch has been faring since the new bookstores, Fully Booked and A Different Book Store, opened.

Being the end of May it was no surprise that the 1st floor of NBS was taken over by school supplies and families preparing for the incoming school season were busy buying notebooks and plastic covers.There were more people on the 1st floor than the rest of the floors combined. Well NBS earns its money from school and office supplies than books it would seem. Anyway on my way up noticed the usual denizens of the book section browsers and the habitual installment readers. Also present was NBS praetorian guard reminding the patrons, who were reading and sitting down, that they were not allowed to read the books. I guess the great come down to NBS and read experiment was deemed a failure, the reigning powers discontinued the policy. But how will you buy a book if you cannot even browse the pages? Granted there may be individuals who will habitually mooch-read but that is why you have display copies. A far cry from A Different Book Store where they virtually rip the plastic cover off the books and invite you to peruse the book.

At last I found myself on the previously owned book section of the superbranch and the whole floor was filled up with books formerly from WH Smith and other book stores. The CDs were gone what was left was rows and rows of books, one could fill up three bookstores with the books on that floor. A lot of Terry Prachet Books, A couple of Star Wars book, A Series of Unfortunate Events, cook books and several hardbound books priced at half their original price. The Star Wars and other sci-fi stuff paperbacks were at least cheaper by atleast 100 pesos.

After walking and looking over the books for an hour I decided to buy three books.

The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World Greatest Diarists. Edited by Irene and Alan Taylor.Canongate Book.Edinburgh, Scotland. UK. 2000.

The first time I saw the book was in a bookstore near Liverpool Station in the UK. Needless to say I failed to buy it and instead I purchased a dictionary of euphemisms and a trump card set of the Simpsons. I thought I would never be able to buy this thick but light book. The book is divided into 12 chapters for each month of the year and entries are arranged according to the day they were written. It is like reading one big diary or a blog. Famous and infamous diarists are featured in this anthology.

Radio Times Guide to Science Fiction Films, TV, & Radio. Edited by Kilmney-Fane Saunders. 2001. UK

The book lists down nearly all Science Fiction films, radio shows and television programs before 2000. The list is comprehensive and includes: ratings, format availability, microreviews, photos, trivia, cast, director, short write-ups on select SF luminaries, and a SF quiz that spans the ages. A good reference for people who appreciate SF films, tv shows, and radio programs.

Learn Chinese: Ten Minutes A Day - A complete learning kit

This selection shows my frustration with learning a new language. I have always been fascinated by other languages and have always been a frustrated learner. How was Rizal able to cope with it? According to the history books he learned more than nine languages. I guess one day with perseverance.

All books were priced at 300 to 350 pesos each. A good buy considering all would have cost four times as much in regular book stores.

  • Go Back to Harvard Street Cubao


    Blogger eruannie said...

    juned, my friend, mona considers POWER BOOKS as her library. although she buys books there, she goes back to read the expensive ones there!

    12:44 PM  
    Blogger juned said...

    I know its really hard to depend solely on buying books for reading. When I was I bit short on the tooth it was easy just to loan books from the British Council and the Goethe Institute. A little bit browsing is acceptable and I think bookstores should always have browsing copies. Brings in the customers.

    3:52 PM  
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