Hi, you guys! So just last week, from September 13 to 17, bibliophiles from all parts of the nation came together for the annual Manila International Book Fair at the SMX Convention Center, where book-selling exhibitors basically flaunted all their amazing books and other bookish merchandise perfect for all kinds of readers. The 5-day fair had everything that a typical reader can possibly hope for: discounted books, book launches, signing events, and guest appearances from bestselling authors. It was heaven, I tell you. Luckily, this time around, I had the time, budget, and energy to go to the fair on the FIRST and LAST day! Read on for a brief recap of my experience at the 2017 Manila International Book Fair!
September 13, 2017 – First Day
I was on leave during the first day of the fair because I, along with some of my friends who went to the fair, wanted to get first dibs on the books that we were planning on buying. I had a short to-buy list which enlisted the following titles:
- Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
- Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
- They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera
- Lucky In Love by Kasie West
- Warcross by Marie Lu
- Miles Morales: Spiderman by Jason Reynolds
I left Marikina at around 8:00am, and immediately went to the train stations bound for Pasay City. I met up with my friend Miel from Bookish and Awesome at Taft at around 10:15am. (Yeah, via train, it took me more than 2 hours to commute. Thank you, rush hour!) Thankfully, we came at such an opportune time as the fair just started, albeit there were already a lot of people roaming the floor. Upon entering the center, we were met by another friend, Bianca from The Ultimate Fangirl, who came as an exhibitor with Summit Media. We rushed to the National Book Store booth right after taking photos, of course, and at the booth, we also met up with more friends Jem from The Bibliophile Confessions, and Kim from Divergent Gryffindor.
National Book Store Booth
Upon arrival at the NBS booth, I was ecstatic to find that there were literally thousands of books on display that all have 20% – 30% discounts on them. From YA books to general fiction, academic, or resource books. Their booth literally had everything to offer. Personally, I was only there to browse the Young Adult books that were up for grabs.
I was happy to be able to cross out #4 and #6 in my list of books to buy. Other notable titles that were also up for sale are the following:
- A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir (with the new covers)
- More Happy Than Not and History Is All You Left Me both by Adam Silvera
- Mosquitoland and Kids of Appetite both by David Arnold
- Simon V.S. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Upside of Unrequited both by Becky Albertalli
- Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also A Star both by Nicola Yoon
- All The Bright Places and Holding Up The Universe both by Jennifer Niven
- And tons of other bestselling novels!
I honestly didn’t want to leave, you guys! I was in heaven, and I wanted to just stay there and read ALL THE BOOKS! Unfortunately, I also wanted to go home early and avoid the evening rush hour, so after paying for the 2 titles that I carried, I left to check out the other booths in the fair.
Fully Booked Booth
When we arrived at the Fully Booked Booth, the place was already packed with people! It was a little hard to move with such small space to work with, but I did enjoy seeing all their displays, albeit having no idea what their strategy was in arranging their books: if they were arranged by author name, by genre, by age bracket, I honestly had no idea. However, I’m glad to have been able to cross out the first two numbers on my to-buy list!
Here are some of the titles that I saw at the Fully Booked Booth:
- I Hate Everyone But You by Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn
- The Six of Crows Duology and The Grisha Trilogy both by Leigh Bardugo
- Hearless by Marissa Meyer
- Caraval by Stephanie Garber
- Alex & Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz
- Hamilton: The Revolution (a.k.a. THE Hamiltome)
- Signed 1st Editions of Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
- And a lot more!
I was already feeling euphoric at this point. I was glad to get my grabby hands on 4 out of 6 books that I had on my list! (And I’m glad to say that I didn’t buy anything else after this purchase! Huzzah!)
Catching Up With and Meeting New Friends
After several book purchases, me and my friends went out for lunch at Burger King, SM Mall of Asia where we tried our very best at catching up with each other: current and/or latest 5-star reads, works in progress, life updates, etc. This was when I began fangirling over the Meet Cute anthology (Thank God for my friends Inah and Jem both from The Bibliophile Confessions for being feels buddies with me over the short story collection!) that I recently read. We also caught up with another friend who came from hospital duty, Hazel from Stay Bookish!
Afterwards, we went back to the convention center (of course) to further check out the exhibits. We were very intrigued with what the second floor was all about because this year, the organizers actually reserved said floor for different kinds of Young Adult items: books, bookish swags and other merchandise. This was where we actually saw Ms. Honey, one of the representatives from Penguin Random House! She later on introduced us to Ms. Isa, who is the Philippine Area Sales Manager of the Hachette Book Group!
Right after exhausting ourselves, we went to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf to just maximize our time together and further catch each other up. Whether we be talking about books, or just life in general, this company is basically one of my favorites and whatever way we choose to spend our time together, is a time well spent!
We went home via the MRT shortly right after to avoid the afternoon / evening rush hour. It’s been a fantastic day, and the only problem I had was the fact that I still had work to do the day after. *sighs*
September 17, 2017 – Last Day
Before anything else, I wanted to point out how huge the crowd was for this year’s fair! I have no idea as to what the overall foot traffic of the 5-day event had, but I’m pretty sure that it grew exponentially bigger than those from previous years. The crowd actually threatened my mental health due to the small space that I was allowed to walk on, so I really didn’t stay that long during the last day, as I’m sure that the crowd would just grow bigger as the fair soon came to an end.
But moving on, when I went to the fair on the first day, I vowed to just be there for THAT day, and opt to sit the other days out. But the fact of letting my chance of meeting Jenny Han pass me by kept on bugging me and so I gave in and chose to go to the last day of the fair knowing well that the crowd would be crazy! I focused only on my excitement in meeting Jenny Han, as well as my book signing friends so I powered through the intense heat and the inevitable exhaustion. It took hours, but the experience of getting to say hi to the bestselling author of the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy and letting her know how much I love her books made my day brighter.
It was such an exhausting experience, but I’m still thankful to get the chance to meet Jenny Han. I unfortunately didn’t have any books by Siobhan Vivian for her to sign, but from what I saw, she’s a very lovely woman, and I’m glad she also got to meet her Filipino fans! Thank you to National Book Store for persevering and for bringing them here to Manila. You guys rock!
Other than Jenny Han, I also met up with some of my online friends, and like I always say, meeting people, whether they be new or old friends, will always be my most favorite thing about being a book blogger. I was also overwhelmed to meet Kyle and Keziah who are followers / readers of Book Freak Revelations! Never did it occur to me that actual living people could somehow stumble upon my site and read the content that I produce so meeting these people absolutely warmed my heart. And to hear them say lots of great stuff about the things I post is just cherry on top. Thank you to all my readers for staying with me! (I have a giveaway coming for y’all soon so stay tuned!)
I went home right after having my books signed as I was already extremely exhausted, and I once again have work to do the next day. I didn’t want to abuse myself and so I opted to grab an Uber with a friend, and went straight home feeling giddy and euphoric.
I’m incredibly happy with the haul that I came home with, basically because I was able to buy ONLY the books that were on my to-buy list, and nothing else. I was a little sad to come home without copies of They Both Die At The End and Warcross, but as of now, I really can’t complain. *winks*