(Try saying that 10x)
Sometimes you’ll find yourself with nothing to do in the mall (maybe you’re waiting for your date). Some people spend that time shopping, browsing, eating or just staring out into space, hoping time will run faster. Book-lovers spend this time looking for the nearest bookstore. Sometimes they even end up buying books with the money intended for the laag. Books can be expensive! Never fear, if you happen to be doing your mall-strolling in SM, Robinsons or in Elizabeth Mall, you will find the elusive X (marks the spot) that Pirates search for: BOOKSALE.
Booksale is a relatively small store with piles of surplus magazines and second-hand books. They have a collection of hardbound and paper back novels from different genres (from biographies, children’s books, classics, art, photography, pets and adult books) and even Japanese graphic novels (Manga). There is also an abundance of textbooks, especially on programming and nursing; perfect for the start of the school term.
Their prices are so low that your eyebrows go all the way up. A dog magazine that would have sold for 400php in pet shops would have a tag of 20php here. Their prices tend to depend on the popularity, thickness and quality of the books. Popular books such as Harry Potter or Twilight are rare and would sell at a higher price compared to a hardbound copy of Frank Beddor’s Looking Glass Wars (priced at 120php only). Classics are also rare and would sell for about 20-70php regardless of its condition. You can even get a 500-page full-color craft book for about 400php (original: 1000php+). I notice that when the cover design of the book is boring, it tends to have a lower price compared to an interesting one. Talk about judging a book by its cover!
The downside is that it isn’t like a library where you have everything in its proper place. They don’t even have a list of books that are on the shelves. The sales clerks aren’t much help either. Try asking them where the Classics are and they’d point you to the Historical Romance section. I once found a “Guide to Retirement” amongst the children’s books just because it was smaller and thinner than the conventional ‘grown-up’ books.
In a way, you could compare Booksale to an ukay-ukay, instead of clothes they have books. My friend once told me that ukay-ukay loots really depend a lot on chance; sometimes you get a handful, other times, your hands get dirty. That’s how it is with Booksale; sometimes, you get an armful without exhausting yourself—or your wallet—and other times, you find nothing but weight loss guides.
You have to be patient: there’s treasure buried—literally—somewhere in the pile.
Have you ever seen the movie “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood?” Booksale had copies of the book for only 20php. I fell in love with the book so much that I bought about three copies and gave them to friends as presents.
Books are perfect gifts for some people, since a book’s value does not depreciate with the passing of time. A friend of mine once gave me two hardbound books from Booksale for a total of around 200php. They were good books too. I discovered the magic of Frank Beddor’s words through a hardbound book without its sleeve that I happened to pick out of a pile, titled “Seeing Redd.”
On a final note, regardless of what you think is a good find, you’re certain to get it at a lower price at Booksale (assuming you find the treasure).