Bookstore Raid: National Bookstore and Fully Booked (Powerplant)

There was a sale this long weekend at the Powerplant Mall (a fire sale perhaps?) and I thought it would be a good opportunity to investigate the mall’s two bookstores and get a feel for what’s on the shelves now, what catches my eye, and how the books are being presented–particularly the local speculative fiction books and komiks.

(Pictures removed out of respect for bookstore policy because they aren’t allowed for some reason which I fail to fathom *shrugs* I substituted my pictures of the book covers with images of the same I found elsewhere on the net.)

National Bookstore:

Set-up and Presentation:

The NBS in Powerplant is a rather small branch, with a large central portion devoted to children’s books and YA. There are a lot of  display tables where select books and comics are clearly displayed, but since floor space is limited, the counterpoint to this is that there are fewer book shelves, and the books are crammed together library style, with only the spines showing and not the covers of the books.

This makes it even harder to distinguish spec fic and komiks on the Filipiniana shelves. Like most every book store in the country, NBS doesn’t usually place locally published spec fic on the regular “Sci Fi and Fantasy” shelves, nor are the komiks and other local graphic novels alongside the adventures of Batman et. al. Instead they are mixed in with all other books published locally. Since this particular NBS only shows the spines of the books, there’s no chance for the spec fic books/komiks to stand out at all, so unless you already knew what you were looking for, the chances of someone browsing the shelves and being attracted to the cover of say Trese or A Time for Dragons (which is why people work so hard on those covers in the first place) is virtually nil.

Then of course, in the case of some larger books, even if you did find them, you’d have another obstacle: getting them off the shelves. That was the case with the copies of Martial Law Babies–the bottom shelves were packed so tight and the shelves so low strung that you literall could not get the copies out without first removing the neighboring books and tilting it sideways. I’m no marketing guy, but that level of hassle risks either damage to the komik or lost sales due to sheer frustration.

Covers/Books that Caught my Eye:

I like the stylized modern images in the coat of arms.

Apparently, a reader/collection for insomniacs.

A translated light novel! Don’t see a lot of those. Checked out a review and apparently the original japanese novels won Most Popular Light Novel in 2006.

Fully Booked:

Set-up and Presentation:

FB Powerplant is the original branch of the now thriving chain (although this is its second location). It’s a lot bigger than NBS, and unlike NBS, it devotes hardly any space to office supplies. The larger space makes it possble to have a selection of books on the shelves (aside from the ones on the tables) that have their covers showing.

This is even more true in the case of the locally published books, as a greater proportion of books in the Filipinana section are displayed title-page-out. While the spec-fic and komiks are still segregated from their foreign counterparts, here at least the komiks are separated from the prose books and displayed prominently on their own shelf.

The local spec fic books such as the Philippine Speculative Fiction series are still mixed in with the other prose publications, but the breathing room on the shelves make them easer to find. Copies of both PSF 3 and PSF 4 were displayed title-page-out–although I found it strange that PSF 3 was on the shelf while PSF 4 was on a separate table. This is probably because the table display was for more recently published books but it would have made sense to leave at least some PSF 4 copies next to its predecessor, so someone attracted to one would readily find the other.

With regard to spec fic in general though, I found it strange that some spec fic anthologies were not placed in the Sci Fi/ Fantasy section but placed waaaay out in the general anthologies section instead. I found two anthologies there, nestled amongst the general short story anthos: Bloodlite and Who Will Save Us Now.

Covers/Books that Caught my Eye:

Angas. I could see it as the cover page of an epic fantasy, or a video game title screen.

I… think it’s a baby looking out as entrails, rotten eggs and rice husks. @_@

I like the apt simplicity. It’d be a great logo.

I love the Gollancz Ultimate Fantasies covers. This classic was one of two books I got today, the other being Chris Roberson’s “Three Unbroken.”

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