With books now just a click away, thanks to e-books and tablets, the entire reading experience becomes convenient, instant, and almost effortless. This, however, forces bookstores to close their doors, with independent bookstores being the first to go before the big book chains. Such is the tragic reality of bookstores caught in the midst of technological advancement.
Nevertheless, if there is anything that e-books can never offer, it is the quiet magical space that bookstores provide to the ever-so-keen bibliophile. Purists for the written word can attest that nothing beats the experience of reading a physical book for hours and hours on end inside a bookstore.
Near and around Taft alone are a number of bookstores that the Lasallian bibliophile can pay a visit to and while away their hours. Here is a list of bookstores that avid readers can visit to satiate their hankering for the written word.
1. National Bookstore, Harrison Plaza
National Book Store is almost everyone’s go-to bookstore. Little do people know, however, that underneath all the art materials and school supplies is a bargain for those who are fond of the classics. In this branch, you can find collections of prolific authors such as Miguel de Cervantes, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Jane Austen—for half the price that they usually sell for.
An array of Mills & Boon romance novels is also found here, as well as chicklit paperbacks from local author Mina Esguerra. If there is anything that appeals in this bookstore, it is the fact that prices are a notch lower than in other branches. Whether the low prices are due to the location or not remains a question—but who can say no to cheap books?
2. Solidaridad Bookshop, Ermita, Manila
There is an undeniable flow of ideas ranging from person to person nowadays. If you have a zeal for politics, culture, and history, then Solidaridad is not just the place to be, but also the place to lose yourself in intellectual curiosity.
Owned by National Artist for Literature, F. Sionil Jose, the collections in Solidaridad contain classics such as works of Marcel Proust, Che Guevarra, Steinbeck, and even Orwellian essays. Textbooks on anthropology, women’s studies, philosophy can also be found here, as well as books from local Filipino writers such as Nick Joaquin, Bienvenido N. Santos, NVM Gonzales, Ninotchka Rosca, and others.
Just a short walk past the Supreme Court and Robinsons Manila, Solidaridad is located to your right, near the corner of Adriatico Street in Padre Faura. The bookstore may be tricky to find, so keep your eyes open!
3. Booksale, Cash & Carry, Palanan, Makati
Just a tricycle ride from DLSU is one of the closest malls to the University, Cash & Carry Mall, where Booksale can be found. Situated beside the supermarket in the ground floor, the Booksale in Cash & Carry is a treasure trove for readers; looking for books in the cramped space really does almost feel like treasure hunting.
From new editions to second-hand copies, this particular Booksale branch has a wide collection of books from different genres, but leans more towards sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. If you’re in the search for another Michael Crichton tale of a lab experiment gone wrong or a late-70s Stephen King thriller, then this bookstore might just be up your alley.
4. Books from Underground, Manila City Hall Underpass
Being thrifty definitely results in adventures. Who knew that underneath a busy road and an urbanized setting is a bookstore that sells the most obscure books and rarest titles? Scouring for rare books doesn’t seem to be much of a challenge as compared to how it was before, but the pleasure of discovering and unearthing the greatest works known to man goes beyond the tactile sense, especially for the die-hard bibliophile.
Located in the busy underpass of Manila City Hall, Books from Underground usually opens around 3 pm in the afternoon and closes around 11 pm in the evening, and might just be the place to go if you’re in search of a particularly rare title.
5. Book for Less, RCBC Plaza, Makati
Young adult fiction is the most common genre adored by teenagers nowadays, and more often than not, these stories, alongside their covers, are what entice young adults to purchase them once a new series is released. However, these might not be at a very student-friendly cost. Fortunately enough, Books for Less offers the latest bestsellers for more reasonable prices.
Several branches can be found along the metro, but the most accessible one—if you’re coming from DLSU—is its Makati branch located at RCBC Plaza. Past the daunting all-glass facade of the plaza, Books for Less can be found in the 3rd floor of the building.
Truly, change is inevitable, for better or worse. The rise of e-readers and e-books may have rattled bookstores however big or small, but not even technological advancement can completely banish them. There are still a huge number of books waiting to be read, and even more pages to be turned—the feel of these pages that no digital book can rival.
Bookstores may have floundered for space and lost ground in the beginning, completely adjusting to a new environment that pushes for digital reading. Nevertheless, bookstores have slowly gained back their footing amidst the competition, proving once and for all that bookstores are far from dead and are, in fact, thriving.