Making the Move

I realized that I really haven’t talked about what it’s like for a reader and book blogger like me to move from Manila to Singapore. I thought it would be a good idea to spend some time on that topic. One of the biggest advantages to moving to Singapore is I now have access to a good public library. I’ve never had that before and I keep taking advantage of the fact by borrowing books that I’m interested in even though I don’t have the time to read them. I keep returning unread books. I used to go to the library every weekend and I would put up a book haul post of what I borrowed but I’ve stopped doing that because I don’t always end up reading the books that I mention. Also, the Singapore Public Library is active on both Twitter and Instagram so it’s a lot of fun to connect with them over there.

Library November 18

The downside is that books in Singapore are a lot more expensive than books in Manila. I don’t know why that’s the case because the editions are the same – some are US editions while some are UK editions. It’s not like in Australia where they publish local editions for the books. I think the prices are on par with Aussie book prices though: about SGD 25-50 (PHP 825-1,650, USD 20-40) for trade paperbacks and hardcovers while about SGD 15-30 (PHP 495-990, USD 12-24) for mass market paperbacks. I miss being able to afford books. When I was in Manila, I would regularly visit Fully Booked to buy books whenever there was something that I wanted. Or I’d drop by the store while they’re having a sale because 20% off books is a good deal. Here in Singapore, I do wait for bookstores to go on sale but even with discounted prices, books are still cheaper in online sites like the Book Depository. This is why I splurge and buy books like crazy whenever I go home. Also, I keep grabbing books off my own bookshelf back home. I try to squeeze in as many unread books that I can in my luggage.

Singapore book prices

Aside from book prices, I also miss hanging out and chatting about books in person with fellow Filipino Book Bloggers. Book bloggers and readers are active about discussing books back home in Manila. I haven’t had a chance to meet Singaporean book bloggers or readers yet. I do chat with Liyana of LiyanaLand on Twitter from time to time and I hope we can eventually meet in person. Although now that I think about it, work keeps me busy and there’s usually something that I have to take care of during week nights and weekends so I’m not sure if I could participate as actively in the real life bookish scene as I did before. The rarity of my posts here on the blog is proof enough that I don’t get to read and blog as often as I’d like.

These are the major changes that come to mind when I think about my move. What about you, have you had to make adjustments as a reader and a blogger when you move from one place to another?

25 thoughts on “Making the Move

    • Honey, let me know if you ever plan to visit Singapore, we should definitely meet up! πŸ™‚ Yep, having access to a public library is great – I just wish I had time to read all of the books that I keep borrowing.

    • Mahal talaga! Kaya hindi ako nakakabili. I really wish we had a chance to meet up when you were in the Philippines, I would have taken you to a bookstore.

  1. The better library is good but the book prices are not good. :\ I wonder why prices are so high for books in Singapore! It seems like a strange thing. $20-$40 for a TPB? Seriously: yikes.

    • Yeah, I have no idea why book prices are so high over here. Maybe because of tax? I’ve tried to search for it but haven’t found a credible site that explains why. I’ve only bought books here twice – once because I received gift certificates for Christmas and the other time was when I went with a friend to a book sale (I was able to buy several bargain books).

  2. One of the things that I foud extremely sad about moving to the US three years ago was having to leave behind all the books that I loved and owned in the Philippines. It was hard, especially all the favorites I keep stored in my own room.

    What I do love though is being in a place where I can buy books for (relatively) cheap, as well as interact with bookish people of all sorts – readers, bloggers, authors and so on. It’s definitely a new advantage I’ve got!

    • Oh yeah, I feel bad about leaving my beautiful bookshelf back home as well. All my favorites are there! Some of them are even signed. 😦 I try not to think about it too much because I wouldn’t have room to store them in here in Singapore. And I’m not even sure how long I’ll be staying here so it wouldn’t make sense to bring my books here.

      You are lucky in terms of bookish events that you can attend! I’m jealous of all the ones that you tweet about. Plus books are usually cheaper than their list prices over at Amazon so you can just order there.

  3. I wish I had a good public library but nope, no dice here in my country.
    And I totes get you on the Book Depository thing, for me it’s so much cheaper to buy from them than to buy here, plus even in the imports they rarely have stuff I wanna read.
    I hope you can meet more bloggers form Singapore and that you get more time to read soon.

    • Alex, sorry that you don’t have access to a good public library. Even if I do borrow books from the library here, I still mostly read books that I own. Because sometimes you just have to be in a certain mood to read certain books.

      I also bought books from the Book Depository when I was in Manila because some of the books that I wanted aren’t available in local bookstores. But bookstores back home have way better stocks than bookstores here. And they have more branches too.

  4. The book prices are ridiculous! I’m sorry. I’m so happy you have a library though, and that you just stalked up on books while you were in the US.

    • Holly, I should take advantage of the library more. I would have thought that having access to the library would limit my book purchases but that hasn’t happened. Yep, I’m reading through the books that I got from the States – I’m pretty happy with that haul.

  5. The thing that’s been hardest for me since moving to Shanghai is not being able to have a whole bunch of books out of which to choose my next read from. Every once in a while I’ll get this huge urge to read a particular book that I already own–but my copy is back in the States, I have no easy access to another copy, and I can’t justify to myself buying another copy when I know I already have one back in the States. It’s caused me sleepless nights sometimes, thinking about all the books I technically have, but don’t really *have*!

    • I know exactly what you mean, Steaph. I feel the same way! Whenever I’m browsing at books in the bookstores here, I’ll see a lot of books that I have copies of back home. This is why I’ve carried over several books from Manila whenever I come back to Singapore. It’s comforting to have a wider selection of titles to choose from because you never know when you might feel like starting on certain books. People keep telling me that I should just get ebooks instead of physical copies because it’s more convenient and I do use my Kindle quite often, I just like having an actual bookshelf with physical books.

  6. I can’t believe how expensive books are there. Mass market paperback should be under $10! I like owning physical copies of books, especially the ones I love, but the Kindle has made travel so much easier. I used to hate having to carry my books when traveling because I was so worried they’d get creased or folded, but now I can load my ebooks onto my Kindle and take them anywhere. Even with books I own, I sometimes get the Kindle version too if it’s cheap so I can reread and highlight without damaging my real copy.

    • I don’t understand why books are so expensive over here as well. Me too, I like own physical copies of books. If I read an ebook version and end up loving the book, I will definitely get a physical copy. Sometimes, I do what you do as well, get a Kindle version so it’s easier to carry around with me. Sigh, maybe I should utilize my Kindle more. I have friends who only read ebooks because it’s easier for them. I found that I miss holding an actual book and flipping pages when I read on my Kindle for too long.

      Oh I forgot to mention that a lot of Kindle editions can’t be bought here in Singapore. I have to go around that restriction by changing country settings (my friends do the same. And Kindle editions have an additional USD 2 international fee whenever you buy ebooks outside the States.

  7. Wow, I knew you’d said books there were more expensive, but I didn’t realize HOW MUCH more expensive! Ouch–that’s doubling most of the prices we see here in the US. I’m curious, does that stand for digital prices too?

    I hope you do find other bloggers to hang out with there in Singapore! One of my favorite parts of blogging is getting the chance to meet other bloggers, though there aren’t any I really hang out with regularly.

    • Yeah, that’s why I mentioned the prices – I wanted people to know how expensive books are over here. I replied about ebook prices in Maggie’s comment above. I think digital prices are about the same as US prices, with the added USD 2 international charge. Although I usually change my country settings to US before buying an ebook. Maybe I shouldn’t mention that in case Amazon discovers how people get around their charges.

      I know, I hope I get to meet fellow bloggers and readers here in Singapore. I’ve only been here a couple of months so it’s not that surprising that I haven’t met anyone yet.

  8. i get out library books all the time even though i know i cannot possibly read them all. i take comfort in knowing they are there πŸ™‚

    that is such a shame books are so pricey there!

    (reading your comment above, i had no idea i could change my amazon settings to US! this will be helpful as sometimes the book is available for US but not aussie people πŸ™‚

    and HI. i have been loving seeing more posts from you lately even though i havent had the time to comment x Nomes

    • Nomes! It’s so nice to hear from you. It makes me happy to know that you still visit my blog, thanks for dropping by to comment.

      What you said about taking comfort in having books around you reminded me of this discussion post that I had a while back: Such a shame that books here are so expensive but I do have quite a collection of unread books that I’ve brought over from Manila – and some that I bought while I was in the States. I’ll probably grab more the next time I go home.

      Yes, go try changing your country settings and see if that will work for you. Most of the ebooks that I want to get are not available in Singapore (funny how more ebooks can be accessed in Manila). LOL like I said, maybe I shouldn’t talk about it too much here. πŸ˜›

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