How hard or easy is it to be a book lover in the Philippines?
I don’t think you have to have shelves upon shelves of books to be a book lover in the Philippines. But having just one book might not turn you into one, either.
And one may have loads and loads of books, maybe even flip through them occasionally but never become a lover of reading. Even if you have books but you cannot read, then you might just not get the full experience of becoming a book lover. Being able to read is the key element. And although we may be proud of our literacy level, there are still a lot of people left to reach here in our country alone. Teaching people how to read is one problem, equipping them with books is another; becoming a book lover will come to them but that depends on how the people experience the books and reading themselves.
There’s only so much (or so little) of readers in the Philippines who are books lovers. And of those, not all of them have the means to get the books that they want, for one reason or another.
What are some of your frustrations as a Filipino reader (e.g. availability of books)?
The state of Philippine public libraries leaves so much to be desired. Unless it has improved in the last six years, of which was about the last time I was inside one. Private schools are a different matter but, from what I remember with public schools, they could really use some help.
Count yourself lucky if you grew up in a house with books accessible for reading; a great plus if your school library and its books were still in good condition when you were around. But for other kids, the school and its library (if there is one) is where their love for books and reading start. Yet if the condition of the books is really sorry and the library is in dire need of repairs—even if the kids could read—it might not inspire them to become readers and book lovers.
What are positive aspects of being a reader based in the Philippines (e.g. book prices are lower here than they are abroad)?
We don’t easily get rid of old books. And that’s not sarcasm!
I’ve been to certain libraries (not saying where) where supposedly obsolete books are still pretty much in circulation. Even if the tomes are very much outdated and their updated versions are just next to them, it’s great to see that they still serve their purpose. I guess there are still readers there who want to see the difference of the information then and now. And some of those old books have articles and stories that aren’t printed in new versions or aren’t reproduced in other books.