It is quite odd for a twenty-something year old guy to open a secondhand bookshop right in front of his home but, as a book lover, he felt the need to create something new for the Cebuano reading community, thus the birth of La Belle Aurore.
La Belle Aurore is a secondhand bookshop that houses titles that are either used or overstock. Some books are brought in from the US while others are purchased from walk-ins, who want to exchange their books for cash. The prices of their items range from Php 5.00 – Php950.00; the owner likes to keep it as affordable as possible to encourage non-readers to grab a book and start reading.
This small yet quaint and cozy place carries a wide array of genres from General Fiction to Religion, Business to Chick Lits, Classics to Self-Help books and more. The owner humbly reveals that some of their selections aren’t topnotch yet but they’re heading towards that direction. “Aside from the usual and low-priced books, we try to stock ones that are out of print and put a price that’s reasonable,” he adds.
Why a bookshop?
With the quick development of digital media and television, the owner felt a need for people to read books, of whatever kind. “People should continue to read until barriers of genres become mere nuances of form, to the point where reading becomes synonymous to the development of language, critical thinking, and understanding, as well as the pleasure that goes with it,” he points out. The bookshop’s main thrust is to promote reading, not just the titles or the authors.
He believes that secondhand bookshops are like time capsules and are custodians of a culture that society is slowly losing interest in. La Belle Aurore is his attempt to preserve this side of society.
In the long run, he plans to integrate a café inside the bookshop, for clients and customers to have a place for reading, interaction, discussion and for culture to thrive.
“La Belle Aurore is that bistro where Rick and Ilsa stayed during the German Occupation of France in the film Casablanca. I must have fallen in love with how Humphrey Bogart said it the first time. It made me smile like a love-struck teenager,” he answers. La Belle Aurore means “the beautiful sunrise/daybreak,” which fits him perfectly as the bookshop is his first venture.
La Belle Aurore has gained quite a following; and to give back to customers, they schedule sales (back to school promos, summer sale etc.), to attract more people to visit. Usually, customers leave their details so the staff can contact them whenever there are new stocks available.
New or old books, it doesn’t really matter, reading can certainly take you to an adventure beyond one’s imagination.