During the mandated home quarantine, I have begrudgingly resigned myself to the fact that it will be a long time until I get to go out for relaxation and visit local bookstores. This is why I am grateful for online sellers and shops who made book buying a satisfying and convenient experience. Satisfying, because many of them still update their inventory and I consequently fall into the comfortable trap of reading book blurbs, book reviews, and their first pages--part of my usual book buying process. And convenient, simply because they offer various payment options, primarily cash-on-delivery.
I bought books from the following stores during the long months of home quarantine. The links indicate only the sites where I did my book shopping.
(in alphabetical order)
2. Ateneo de Manila University Press (Shopee)
3. Avalon.ph (Website)
4. Avenida Books (Shopee)
5. Biblio (Website)
6. BooksforLess (Website)
7. btw.cbu (Instagram)
8. Fullybooked (Website)
9. Readers Alcove Bookstore (Shopee)
10. Sofia’s Happy Shop (Shopee)
11. Librodega (Facebook)
List of stores I’m planning to buy from in the future:
Mt Cloud Bookshop (Facebook)
New Day Publishers (Shopee)
Solidaridad Bookshop (Facebook)
UP Press (they removed their beautiful inventory from Shopee, their Lazada store only has three books at the moment, and their e-commerce website only accommodates VISA payments)
UST Publishing House (Shopee)
From my online book shopping experience, I gained some insights:
As someone who once worked at an NGO where we need to churn out books and annual reports, I understand how laborious publishing books is. Still, with established publishers like Anvil and Ateneo Press, I can’t help but wish new books are being produced as fast as readers can read them.
I am constantly on the lookout for the online stores (either on Shopee, Lazada, Facebook, or Instagram) of university presses and museum shops (and even publishers I thought have long closed shops). I was very happy when I found New Day Publishers on Shopee because it published some of the old and now-hard-to-find Filipiniana books in my collection.
I am grateful for special events like the three-day Aklatan: All-Filipino Book Fair organized by the Book Development Association of the Philippines in August and brought together 35 local booksellers and publishers in one event. I hope it will be an annual event. Sales events like 10.10 also encourage booksellers to provide product discounts.
One should never expect smooth transactions during these times. A book parcel from a Davao store got lost in the shipping, although I got the book eventually, and I received the wrong book from an NCR store because of a mix-up in the courier’s sorting hub (it wasn’t the fault of the store), but I got my book order eventually. Customers need to be extra patient and understanding.
I think booksellers also need to review their shipping fees with their couriers. Some cost too much, others cost what appear to be reasonable, while others provide free shipping for minimum orders.
I learned to use GCash for the first time to pay for a book order and I discovered how efficient it is.
What were your book shopping experiences during the home quarantine?