July 19, 2010

School books

One of the two stores at the foot of yesterday's pedestrian overpass from the Ateneo de Manila University is, appropriately enough, a branch of National Book Store (NBS), the Philippines' largest bookstore chain. When I was growing up, NBS sold almost nothing except textbooks and school supplies; anyone interested in other kinds of books had to look elsewhere. NBS has had to expand its literature selection during the past two decades because of intense competition, but whatever people think of the company, no one can deny that it provided Filipinos one great service. Over the decades, NBS has had contracts with American publishing houses to re-print their textbooks and reference books exclusively for the Philippine market. They are printed locally on inexpensive paper and sold for hundreds of pesos less than their higher-quality American counterparts which have to be shipped in. If it weren't for National Book Store's textbooks, the cost of private education in the Philippines (which is already prohibitively expensive for most Filipinos but much, much better than our public education system) would have been even higher.

National Book Store

16 comments:

EG Wow said...

I have to admit that although I like to support privately owned bookstores, the chains DO charge less so I purchase books there too. They are very tempting!

ρομπερτ said...

What an interesing concept indeed. Please have a nice start into the new week.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

Very interesting post. A recent visit to the Cal bookstore left me stupified at the current cost of textbooks. Good thing there are alternatives in the Philippines.

Thanks for your comment on my 'Bridges" post. You expressed very well my own concerns. Time will tell, but I'm skeptical of the outcome.

Louis la Vache said...

Amen re the cost of textbooks. They are breathtakingly expensive here - the textbooks for Mme la Vache's last semester took a $400 bite out of the la Vache wallet. It's nice to see you have a lower cost alternative there.

VP said...

A great idea and a nice store either.

Kaori said...

Sounds like a really great bookstore. Textbooks can be so expensive, and sometimes we wouldn't even use it during our classes! I always thought the teacher was just trying to sell their own books as textbooks, ugh.

Halcyon said...

I am glad someone is helping make education more affordable. Although a good education should be the right of every person (IMO) and not a privelege.

Lois said...

The price of college textbooks has always been ridiculous. My daughter is working on her masters degree and told me that they now have the option of renting their books, which I had not heard of!

George said...

It's good to hear that some organizations do what they can to bring down the cost of textbooks. When I taught college mathematics and computer science, I cringed at the cost. I hate to think what textbooks will cost in a few years when our granddaughter starts college.

Photo Cache said...

I still miss the days when I would spend half a day just browsing thru the greeting card section. Those were the days when people send cards and the selection they carry at NBS was huge.

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GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

I love bookstores and this one looks super. The cheaper paper will work for now, until electronic readers take over. Do you own one? I'm thinking about it but LOVE the feel and smell of the printed pages.

Is the bookstore really National?

Jackie said...

I really like the idea of cheaper paper and cheaper books. I tend to get as many books as I can now from charity shops or amazon marketplace, but often textbooks can't be found there. Glad that you can give this place a plug!

Jacob said...

What a fascinating post. I've never heard of such a thing, but more power to the National Book Store.

I'm wondering if this outfit is owned by Filipinos or is an American concern?

Hilda said...

Jan:
The chain is large and has branches in many Philippine provinces, so I guess in that sense it is national. But it's not owned by the government, if that's what you're thinking.

Jacob:
It's owned by a Filipino family. With a very grandmotherly founder.

dong ho said...

when im inside a mall i am most of the time inside bookshops. and i do hop bookshops but not yet the one in katipunan because of the distance.