Books reign supreme: Manila Intl Book Fair 2013

The largest and longest running book fair in the country is bigger than ever

SPLURGE ON KNOWLEDGE. Shopping carts filled with reserved books. All photos by Ira Agting

MANILA, Philippines – Print is not dead.

The digital age has fueled the growing popularity of e-books and online media, so much so that print has seemingly been shoved to the sidelines. But the buzzing crowd and the massive collection of reading materials at the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) 2013 prove otherwise.

Until Sept 15, Sunday, the SMX Convention Center in Pasay is a book lover’s paradise. Local and international publishers, authors, educators, librarians and readers come together to celebrate “Words Without Borders.”

Upon entering the massive warehouse filled with neverending shelves and countless titles, a whiff of that new book, fresh paper and glue scent welcomes reading junkies to a land where addiction comes in the form of paperback and hardcover.

Children’s books, young adult, chicklit, manga, fiction, non-fiction, text books, romance novels, scripture, comics, magazines, interactive learning, educational toys, even school supplies — MIBF is a one-stop-shop for all your literary and educational needs.

SMART TOYS. MIBF features educational materials of different varieties

Each year, an estimated 85,000 book enthusiasts visit the fair. Now on its 34th year, MIBF has grown to accomodate the vast demand, from venue to number of exhibitors.

Irene Lloren, president of MIBF organizer Primetrade Asia, revealed to Rappler how the numbers just kept rising. Slots for publishers quickly ran out, with many still wanting to get in. The first day of the festival last Sept 11 exceeded expectations.

“It’s usually [in] the last days when we get the most visitors,” she said, explaining how this year’s opening may be likened to the prior years’ final days.

BARGAIN BOOKS. Watch out for the massive discounts

Beyond reading

This year, book launches, author signings, dialogues and talks are among the activities aiding MIBF in its goal of “bringing books closer to the Filipino people.” 

September 13 highlights are two storytelling sessions by Vibal and ETL & Lampara Publishing houses, as well as discussions about social media and reading in society to be led by Senators Nancy Binay and Chiz Escudero, respectively.

On September 14, the Saint Paul’s Bible Quiz Championship is taking place. There will also be writing seminars courtesy of Abiva, Precious Pages, Lampara and Dr Isagani Cruz.

On September 15, two storytelling competitions will take place: the 4th Goodwill Bookstore Inter-School Quiz and Impromptu Speaking Competition in the morning, and the 2013 Lampara Children’s Storytelling Competition in the afternoon.

Aside from the vast manga collection in MIBF, anime fans, Japanese culture enthuusiasts, cosplayers and collectors unite in The Best of Anime 2013 on September 14 and 15.

To view the full schedule of events, visit the MIBF website.

Here are other interesting sights in MIBF 2013:

BOOK MAZE. Have fun getting lost in the labyrinth of books

TECH KIDS. Interactive learning through child-friendly gadgets

SALE. Visitors flock to the cheapest buys

BOOK ROYALTY. Rex Book Store's booth is an eye catcher

'KILIG' FACTOR. Hopeless romantics should watch out for Precious Hearts Romance's author meet and greet

START YOUNG. Adarna Books get kids into the habit of reading at an early age

MAGAZINE SALE. Back issues sold at huge discounts

SCIENCE CLASS. Vast array of interactive models available