Makati Square hosts a Book Sale branch with a consistently good selection of titles. Waltermart has the high-end specialty bookstore Bibliarch on the ground floor--small, rather snooty, with steeply priced merchandise. I've never bought anything from there. But I'm happy enough that something like it exists in a decidedly blue-collar part of Makati. (Anything beyond Ayala Avenue is blue-collar, believe me.) Waltermart itself is more neighborhood mall than, well, supermall. That Bibliarch seems to be surviving here gives me a jaunty feeling.
Even better, there's another bookstore on the third floor of the mall, relatively new and well-stocked. Buy-The-Book offers mid-priced volumes, somewhere between the basement rates of Book Sale and the mint-condition prices of Bibliarch. It surprised me to learn that it sources its stocks from National Bookstore and Powerbooks. “Sister company po kami ng Powerbooks,” explained the chipper cashier.
Aha. A downstream outlet for stubborn non-movers in the two much bigger chains. A look at the books confirm that many still carry their original National Bookstore or Powerbooks prices, but now side by side with drastically marked-down tags. You'd think stocks that have gone on sale a number of times wouldn't yield good titles, but I've seen books here that I wouldn't normally ask for in National, for instance (where, the last time I inquired about books on musical theater, I was led to a shelf containing song compilations.)
In Buy-The-Book, from the shelf marked “Entertainment” alone, I recently netted six finds:
1. Who the Hell's In It: Conversations With Hollywood's Legendary Actors, by Peter Bogdanovich
2. Hairspray, Female Trouble and Multiple Maniacs: Three More Screenplays by John Waters
3. Ian McKellen: An Unofficial Biography (hardbound), by Mark Barratt
4. Eyes Wide Open: A Memoir of Stanley Kubrick, by Frederick Raphael
5. A Whore's Profession: Notes and Essays, by David Mamet
6. Eastwood (the complete career of Clint Eastwood in words and pictures), by Robert Tanitch
The first three books set me back by P199 each. The next two sold for P149 apiece. (Mamet for P149? Wicked.) The Eastwood book, though, is a spectacular discovery. It's a handsome volume--good paper, great pictures, succinct writing--and it was marked... P75. The cashier's smile got even wider when she confirmed I was reading the ridiculous price right.
There are shelves and shelves of fiction titles; I'll leave those for another day. Unlike Books for Less, another bargain book outlet that seems to materialize at odd mall corners and then disappear, this one looks set to stay for a while. The store's on the third level, right beside Robinsons Department Store. Like the rest of the mall, it's open until 9 p.m.
The girl at the till reacted with alarm when I began taking pictures with my phone. I told her they're for the blog. Her look said, “Huh?,” so I just gave her my name and business card. If you find yourself in the vicinity, check out the store and tell the lady--I hope she's still there--that you read about it here. Time to let her know what a blog is--and that it can be a friend.
PLUS: Speaking of books, Fully Booked and Yehey have an event for bloggers on Nov. 28. Registration is required--here.
[Photos taken with a Sony Ericsson C905]