With much anticipation before the recently concluded Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) 2019, I had a great time when I went there last September 12, 2019. It actually ran from September 11 to 15, 2019. Every year, it is celebrated as a 5-day event. It’s a gathering of big and small-time publishers, big and amateur writers, published authors, and traditional and indie publications. And of course, the hoarding of the books of both local and international acclaimed authors by bookworms.
What’s so special about the recent MIBF 2019? Well, unfortunately, there is nothing new to the book fair based on previous articles and videos about it. The book sale, the publishers, the events such as book signings of various local authors, programs, and the same activities held every year are the same as last year, except that there are changes in exhibitors. And of course, it is my first time attending such an event.
If you are a student, you will definitely benefit from the various textbooks on sale. I have seen a few exhibitors who are selling school textbooks and college references. There are also other exhibitors who just don’t sell Science and Technology books, robotics, and Encyclopedias, but there are actual crafts and simple robots that were displayed to add an additional mood in the air. If you are into these kinds of things, you will appreciate those stalls and learn something from them.
Most of the books on sale are faith-based books. The likes of Philippine Christian Book Store (PCBS), CSM Publishing, OMF Bookshop, Philippine Bible Society (PBS), and other new Christian book stores that I am not familiar with. The presence of big names such as National Bookstore, Anvil Publishing, REX Bookstore, ABS-CBN Publishing, Fully Booked, Psicom, Our Daily Bread, and other familiar names in the industry.
As an indie author, I saw indie and small publishing houses like Booklat, Bookware, Lampara, 8Letters, Phoenix Publishing, and a lot more. There are also author booths that conducted book signing events such as the one I came across (it’s a separate article). However, I didn’t expect the presence of university publications like UP, UST, and FEU publication. The organizers also held programs with famous book personalities and media icons present and conducted a little workshop for writer aspirants. The schedule was posted on the wall so you will know what day are they coming. Unfortunately, I haven’t encountered any famous personality nor author that day. So sorry for me. 😅 If you are hungry, you don’t need to go out of the premises as there are food stalls on either corner and a roving food girl carries a trolley with local goodies, snacks, and beverages.
MY PERSONAL MIBF EXPERIENCE
It was dark and cloudy when I arrived. The rain is expected to fall at that time but luckily, it didn’t until I entered the SMX Convention. Although there are free entrance pass tickets available on the internet (you have to print them and show them at the entrance), I didn’t have time to do so. I just bought one at the actual event. It cost me 35 PHP, for the adult entrance while there is a variant of 20 PHP for the children.
You will be definitely fascinated by the plethora of books in front of you. The two floors of the SMX Convention were dedicated to the said event. There are children’s books for your kiddos and a few BTS merchandise for K-Pop fans present at the book fair. However, that fascination dwindled as I was disappointed with the outcome of the book fair. Since it was my first time, I was expecting that the household author books (I am mostly referring to self-help, business, and financial freedom book authors aside from fictional authors) will be on sale at a discounted or reasonable prices but to my dismay, it didn’t. That was my sole purpose on why I came there in the first place. Most of them are selling at regular prices or 20% discounts.
But to give light to this failed expectation, there are textbooks that can be bought at 10 PHP – 50 PHP depending on the textbook. Psicom books are also available from 69 PHP to 99 PHP and most of the faith-based books are sold at 100 PHP of 1 regular book of any topic or two small size books like devotionals. And ABS-CBN publications and other indie pubs are selling their books around the price of 150ish.
See also: MANILA INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR 2018
In general, it was a successful event despite that I only bought a few pieces. Not all of the books I intended to buy were there. It only means that despite that it is indeed a big book fair, you shouldn’t expect it to be grander and complete. Some people I knew in the industry met at the said event, aside from the fact that they met their favorite local authors. I will see if I will be as enthusiastic to attend next year’s MIBF as I was this year.
What are your thoughts about the recent event? Share us in the comments below.