Monday, July 23, 2007

Building Your Library

The Filipino Librarian has an interesting blog entry on Who is the Imelda Marcos of Books? Of course the question pertains to someone who has a huge collection of books. Of course a question she poses is who in the Philippines buys and reads that many books?

Well, there's several ways to answer that question. First is a Filipino may not own a huge collection but they can certainly have read thousands of books. Libraries for example are cheap alternatives to find options for reading. Then there's always the books you can borrow from friends and relatives. Second is the proprietor of bookstores--they may not necessarily have read their stock but they certainly own a lot of those books! Female bibliophiles might consider Jaime Daez the perfect bachelor.

Of course at the end of the day, you might want to build your own personal library. And I do know people who have their own personal libraries (even if it's as modest as a shelf or two, filled to the brim) and the only thing that limits their collection is that they've run out of space! (And so we have these things called book-culling or selling/giving away old books.) To me, there are two ways to achieve such a goal--and perfectly viable for Filipinos:

1) Buy secondhand books. If there's anything that astounds me about Banzai Cat, it's his ability to ferret out books from secondhand bookstores or book sales, grabbing a book or two for less than a hundred bucks. And honestly, the secondhand bookstore market in the country is thriving. Assuming a secondhand book costs P100.00, you can acquire a thousand books by spending P100,000.00. Wait, P100,000.00? It's honestly that much when you factor in time. If you want a thousand books at P100.00, that can be as simple as spending P10,000.00 on books every year for the next ten years (that's either a full month's salary or a "tithe" from your monthly salary for the next twelve months). Also check out Tin's latest post on Buy-the-Book, a cheap alternative to National Bookstore and PowerBooks.

2) Time. Even if you're buying books at retail prices, you can still acquire a hefty collection of books. You just need time (so start reading early!). Assuming you set aside a budget of P1,000.00 every month, that's easily anywhere between two to three paperback books every month. Three new books a month eventually totals to 36 books every year. 36 books every year for the next ten years add up to 360 books. Yes, it's not a thousand books, but that's still a hefty number and that's enough to fill a couple of shelves at the very least.

Of course I expect that people will somehow do a combination of the two, buying both secondhand books and brand-new books. The important thing I think is to start buying books. Your collection won't appear overnight (unless you win the Lotto). It takes time to build them and you do it one book at a time.

It's pretty much like your savings account in the bank--it doesn't have to be much but you have to make a habit out of it. As time passes by, you'll notice that you have more money there than you ever expected. It seems like a few years (I'm getting old) but books have invaded my bedroom. Too many books, not enough space!


Anonymous said...

check this out:

i guess i should've made a comment earlier. not all librarians are female =)

Charles said...

Ooops! My mistake!

Actually a couple of my high school/grade school librarians are male.