But when I happened to pass by National Bookstore (NBS) in Greenbelt 1 last Monday and saw all of the Book Blowout for as low as P100, P200, P300 signs, my heart simply sank. Bookstores–especially National Bookstore–has always been a part of my life. They were the primary source of my school supplies and books before specialty stores like PowerBooks and FullyBooked emerged to give them a run for their money.
In the ensuing years–and likely as a means to remain viable–National Bookstore (along with their competitors) have either downsized or simply shifted a majority of their inventory to art supplies as well as other types of merchandise.
After a late lunch, The Fam and I dropped by Comic Odyssey in Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street to pick up some books.[i]
We then participated in the hour-long Fully Booked/Faber-Castell #SummerArtBuffet watercolor session located in the Fully Booked function room next door.
The packed class started promptly at 7 pm and although our art teacher tried to teach us several watercolor pencil techniques, we were very much contented with focusing on the heart flower designs that they gave us.
I wasn’t planning on writing about this today but I just got word earlier this evening that Comic Odyssey in Alabang Town Center will be moving from the 4th to the 2nd floor of Fully Booked Alabang by Thursday (February 8, 2017).
My sources tell me that the 3rd and 4th floors are to be rented out to the real estate group Alveo Land. Real estate and books: What an odd and soon to be familiar combination considering that the only way to access the third and fourth floors of the premises are through the escalator and elevator located on the ground floor.
This development would mean that the modest book selection of Fully Booked will become even smaller as the merchandise from the 3rd and 4th floor will now merge with the 1st and second floor. Comic Odyssey is set to have a nice slice of the 2nd floor, but I am sure that given their space constraints, they would have to be conservative with their comic titles as well.
It’s news like this that breaks my heart on so many levels. Doesn’t anyone read anymore? Don’t they realize that by not patronizing our local book and comic books shops that we–the consumers–would ultimately lose out in the end. If the stores don’t make anything, they will be forced to close their doors while consumers would lose out on that chance, that opportunity, to have a very personal and intimate experience that only a book can give.
With what has become an annual event, the #AntFam marched to the 36th Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) at the SMX Convention Center with excitement in our eyes: Indy gushed at the overwhelming sight of all the books; Daryl made a bee-line for the nearest adult colouring books; while I headed for Fully Booked’s impressive graphic novel section.
Fully Booked’s Instagram account gave me a head’s up on what to expect: a formidable selection of Marvel, DC Comics, and Independent books. I immediate scanned the Batman and Spider-Man sections and the first trade paperback caught my eye was Judd Winick’s Batman: Under The Red Hood. For those of you that may not know, the character of Jason Todd (The Red Hood), the second Robin, was killed off in the late 80’s and remained in that state until he was resurrected in 2005. I didn’t think anything of it until my interest in the character was piqued when I finished Batman: Arkham Knight and subsequently completed the DLC (Downloadable Content) Red Hood Story Pack. It really helps when you give the character an actual voice (Doesn’t he sound so much like Anakin Skywalker when he rants?) but I digress–I had been looking for the Batman: Under The Red Hood TPB for quite some time now and I finally held it in my hand.[i]
I took a moment and looked around; it seemed as if every people I saw had anywhere between two to five books under their arms. I guess when twenty percent is knocked off any price tag, it just makes our ability to spend seemingly more judicious. I finished off my book haul for this year’s book fair with a Batman: Arkham Origins Limited Edition Strategy Guide[ii] and Idan Ravin’s The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Heads of Basketball’s Best Players.[iii]