How to Survive the 29th Metro Manila Book Fair

The 29th Metro Manila International Book Fair (MIB) is ongoing until tomorrow at the SMX Convention Center Halls 1-4 of the Mall of Asia. This is the annual bibliophiles’ bacchanalia we have been waiting all year for. By we, I mean hard-core bookaholics (people addicted to bookachol). For book lovers of all stripes and persuasions, all roads will lead to the book fair this weekend, and here are a few tips to help you get through it.

1. DO wear comfy clothes and shoes. The venue is much bigger this year and you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Think Divisoria shopping.

2. DO try to get there early in order to get parking. Millions will be going, according to the MIB website, and add to this the usual MOA throng, and although the place has a lot of parking space, getting there late could mean long-distance parking and a walking tour of a crowded MOA before you get to the fair. And I detest malls and mall crowds, specially MOA.

3. DO come fortified (eat before you go, bring meds, diapers etc.) and anticipate your requirements (rest rooms breaks, food, beer etc.). The place will be full of people.

4. DO look around before you buy. You can’t avoid the big exhibitors, like National, but the bargains and rare finds are in the smaller stalls and the ones set up by university presses (U.P., Ateneo, U.S.T. etc.). Give yourself time to do at least one circuit of the exhibition halls.

5. DO bring cash. The big players accept plastic but the smaller ones may not. You’ll hate to miss out on some good buys. Also, using cash will keep you from spending like a drunken sailor and maxing out your credit cards. You’ll also consider your purchases more carefully.

6. DO go with the flow. While you may be looking for a particular title, keep an eye out for serendipitous finds. Enjoy the experience.

7. DON’T buy on impulse. I learned this from hard experience. A lot of things will look good and interesting. You might even want to read them someday. But give yourself time to reflect on and evaluate what you’re buying. Do you really want to read all about the sexual behavior of Pre-Cambian nematodes ? There’s a good chance that a lot of the books you grab on first sight will end up unread by the time the next book fair comes around, eating up more space in your already crowded book shelves.

8. DON’T stick around after you’ve made your buys. Part of the discipline of book-buying is knowing when to push yourself away from the buffet tables. You’ll also avoid the crush at the parking lots when everyone leaves all at once at closing time. Unless you have other things to do at main mall, of course.

1 thought on “How to Survive the 29th Metro Manila Book Fair”

  1. Very disappointed. Bought about ten books from just one stall (A Different Bookstore). I was expecting to get Viking portables, Penguin Editions or old Modern Library Classics.

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