Since I’m pretty familiar with the major bookstores here in Manila, I thought I’d do a post about them. I thought I’d concentrate on the three major ones, namely National Bookstore, Powerbooks and Fully Booked. I think it’s pretty obvious which of three is my favorite, given the number of times that I mention it here but more on that later.
National Bookstore (NBS)
NBS has been in the book business for a couple of years now. According to their website, they’ve been serving the Filipino people for 65 years. They have the most number of branches, I think they have branches in all the malls. The thing about NBS though is they’re not really just a book store. NBS is a bookstore in the Filipino definition of the word – a store that sells books and school supplies. As a result of that, the books that they usually have are bestsellers. If a book just came out, NBS might have it but they will not restock if it doesn’t become popular. That’s a shame because NBS has the cheapest book prices out of the three. What my friends and I usually do is when we have a book that we want to buy, we check first if NBS has it and if it’s not there, that’s when we go to the other bookstores.
I’m not sure if this is still true but Powerbooks is actually owned by NBS. Powerbooks is their specialty bookstore arm, meaning Powerbooks concentrates on distributing books and not school supplies. They have a couple of other items such as notebooks, post-its, laptop bags but mostly they have books. I remember when Powerbooks first opened, I’m not sure exactly where’s the location but I remember being amazed at a bookstore that has several floors and serves coffee. That was the first time that I encountered such a place. Anyway, Powerbooks used to be my favorite bookstore because they have better stocks than NBS although their prices are higher but nowadays, they don’t have as wide a selection as I’d like. They do have a good Filipiniana section though so if you’re looking for books by Filipino authors, Powerbooks is the place to go. I remember buying some books there for my American cousin.
Fully Booked is by far my favorite out of the three. I even applied for a job there when I was unemployed! Out of the three bookstores, Fully Booked has the best selections. A lot of the books that I’ve bought from Fully Booked aren’t even available in the other two bookstores. Pricing is still a bit higher than NBS but Fully Booked really improved the availability of books here in Manila. I have the Fully Booked discount card but it’s just 10% off. I used to think 10% off is nothing but then if you buy a lot of books, it accumulates. Or you can wait for a Fully Booked branch to have a sale and books would be 20% off. That’s what I do sometimes, wait for a branch sale and then have books transferred to that branch just so I can get 20% off when I pick it up. I’m really a fan of Fully Booked. I love their flagship store in Bonifacio High Street and could just spend hours browsing through the books that they have.
These are just my thoughts about the three bookstores. I’d love to hear what you think of them as well or tell me about your favorite bookstore and why that’s your favorite. 🙂