Top 10 Bookstores in the Philippines
Pinoys love to read, evidenced by the fact that bookstores are always full in a way that clothing stores rarely become. Be it to look for magazines, textbooks, pocketbooks or classics, here are the top 10 bookstores that we flocked to this 2009:
National Book Store
If there’s one bookstore that Pinoys go to, it must be NBS. It started out in 1948 as a school supply and textbook store, but now it’s a giant corporation, having 92 branches all over the Philippines. National Book Store is now a veritable household name. Its main branch is the recently-renovated four-story building in Cubao (take time to visit the topmost floor for a wide selection of previously-owned books). If it’s school supplies you’re looking for, National is that one place to go. “Laking National”? Looks like most of us are.
Though National Book Store used to dominate the bookstore industry in the Philippines, Fully Booked is giving it a run for its money. Fully Booked somehow offers a more luxurious, comfortable ambience than the stark, sterile atmosphere ubiquitous in NBS, plus Fully Booked boasts a wider variety of book titles that Pinoy bibliophiles appreciate.
As with Fully Booked, PowerBooks also offers a relaxing atmosphere that somehow encourages you to stay and browse through their amazing collection of books. PowerBooks is probably the first bookstore in the Philippines to actually encourage shoppers to read their wares, as they began to provide comfortable couches for everybody. This gamble apparently paid off, and now PowerBooks is one of the giant three of bookstores in the Philippines.
Goodwill Bookstore is an alternative option for the three popular bookstores mentioned above. It’s 100 percent Pinoy and has more than 5,000 stores all over our country. Its main strength lies in its wide selection of textbooks that are usually rarely found elsewhere.
If you’re the type of person who loves the thrill of the hunt (for books), Booksale is definitely for you. Booksale stores are usually very small and cozy, with the hardbound books loosely organized by category, and the rest (magazines and pocketbooks) open for browsing in gigantic bins and racks. Spend hours looking at previously-owned classics and outdated magazines at a sizeable discount. Do know that Booksale is best browsed through if you’re not looking for a specific title but more for a particular type or book category.
Books for Less
Another alternative if you’re looking for something different. This is another Pinoy-owned bookstore, and as the name implies, expect to pay less for your loved titles. Browse through their previously-owned book collection and you might chance upon a rare title you’ve been looking for.
Merriam & Webster Bookstore
This is yet another alternative option. Some Merriam & Webster branches may not house that many book titles, but you could adequately rely on this bookstore for your basic school supply needs.
Rex Book Store
Rex Book Store is one of the oldest bookstores in the Philippines, having been established in the 1950s. Currently, its main specialty are textbooks and teaching materials, such as classroom charts and posters, as well as interactive CD-ROMs.
CentralBooks is not that familiar to Pinoys, having only 6 branches in the country (including Cebu City and Davao City). It offers a grand idea for book printing, however; it has a “books on demand” offer, where you could order a particular book title which they could reprint in a matter of minutes. No more out-of-print titles; try out this option if you ever have a hard time looking for that one book you’re just dying to read.
Those book stalls in Recto
Yes, they have to be included here in this list. If you’re looking for previously-owned high school or college reference books, take the time to scour through stalls at Recto. Just remember not to be too obvious at showing your glee once you learn the price - we’re talking 70% off bookstore prices; you could probably ask for an even lower price, if your bargaining skills are sharp. Just be sure to check the pages to see if they’re all there!
- BooksforLess.ph (Accessed 29 December 2009)
- Books 4 Success (Accessed 29 December 2009)
- Central.com.ph (Accessed 29 December 2009)
- Great Bookstores in the Philippines HubPages.com (Accessed 29 December 2009)
- List of bookstore chains Wikipedia.org (Accessed 29 December 2009)