Monday, February 19, 2007

I'm Due for a Trip Abroad

I was taking a break from all the reading/writing I've been doing and caught an episode of The Amazing Race All-Stars. I find it amusing that what caught my attention was the Borders bookstore at the airport. Trust a bookworm to find what's relevant in life.

Anyway, for that split second I saw the bookstore (and Rob and Amber actuall buying books there), I miss traveling. I'm not as well-traveled as some people but I have left the country and visited places like Hong Kong, Australia, and America. Of course I gave it up a decade ago, thinking that a trip not spent abroad is money saved (not that it should matter as my parents don't give me the money they would have spent on the plane ticket or accomodations). Presently though, my perspective's changed. Probably because I've run out of steam visiting the various bookstores in Metro Manila: I'm seeing the same books over and over again. Yes people, what motivates me to go abroad are the bookstores. I'm a huge deviant. Well my other incentive is the fact that I finally have disposable income! No more being dependent on my parents if I want to purchase something abroad.

As an aside, during my visit to Perth, Australia (which actually is still in the same time zone as the Philippines), I looked at the prices of the books and discovered that it was more expensive than the books at home (National Bookstore does have cheap books and by my last count, the equivalent exchange rate was P40.00 = $1.00 for import books). When I told this to my cousins, they wouldn't believe me, thinking that all stuff imported must be cheaper than what's being sold locally.


Unknown said...

Books are generally cheaper here than anywhere else, which is why most of my "exiled" friends book-hoard whenever they come home.

I remember, back when books here sold for as low as 200 bucks, they were selling for the equivalent of 500 Pesos in Bahrain, which led to one of my college friends having an argument with her mother about the HUGE BOX of books she refused to leave behind when they had to go home. (Until her mother clobbered her with excess baggage fees.)

Charles said...

And the real reason why we have books cheap isn't necessarily because they're cheaper here in the Philippines (in fact it's the opposite) but rather due to the brilliance of the people running National Bookstore: the school supplies subsidizes the books. That and economies of scale.

Unknown said...

actually Socorro Ramos said, in her Straight Talk interview w/Cito Beltran, that since they buy the books "in bulk", they get discounts from it and they then pass it on to their customers hence the reason why the same books being sold in the US are much cheaper (yes, redundancy) here than it is there. in the US, unless you are a member of Borders/Barnes&Noble or any of the other booksellers there (w/their discount card/membership card), you get a minimum discount of 5-10% and an additional 5% on already discounted items on sale. eheh.... ok, i am babbling. will shut up now. ^^"

banzai cat said...

Hehe so you do that too, eh? Whenever a movie scene shows a publisher's office, I have a tendency to crane my head in order to check out the bookshelves seen in the camera. Weird, I know.

As for traveling, ditto. I used to travel a lot with my parents before and one way I regarded a trip as a success is if I get good finds in that country's bookshops. I remember when Hong Kong didn't have bookshops (now they do), when I was first introduced to UK books in Australia, and trying very, very hard not to go on a spree in San Francisco (too late). Nowadays I still get offered to go abroad with them but alas, work and life keeps me here.

On the other hand, my book-buying comes in waves so I don't visit shops like Booksale for a time to let 'em re-stock their stuff. Yanno, like letting fields lie fallow. ;-)