Filipiniana Books. Madness!

I was browsing over the book displays of Powerbooks and National Bookstore this morning and as usual, I felt disgusted and upset.

No, nothing to do with their customer service. These underpaid workers came to do their jobs.

My disappointment was over the fact that for a poor country we probably have the most expensive locally published books around!

Filipiniana books cost twice, thrice compared to those written and published abroad.

If that doesn’t sound stupid, I don’t know what is.

Then we complain about the youths lack of interest in our history, culture and arts.

Of course they won’t read locally published books – it has been priced out of their budget!

Well, if we have allowed our government and the private sector to sell us expensive medicines [again, ours is the most expensive] and healthcare [surprise! we are among the top in Asia]. Why not make Filipiniana books and education in general the same?

At least cigarettes are cheap. If one could not afford a pack, he can always buy tingi [we are the only country that have this]. Hope they can work on bringing the prices of alcohol down as well!

Quick and easy way to see if a country is headed to ruin?

Just look at its priorities.

Even national artist’s has jumped into the high priced book market. I thought these folks would have more interest in cultivating the minds of our youth, but look at them, selling their work like luxury commodities. Marketing them with bold claims on the cover of their books, “National Artist For…”

Who are these people fooling?

The government subsidize their work and they make unbelievable profits. We should stop calling them “National”. They’re no more “National” than “National  Bookstore”.

Well, business is business.

I once finished reading a book by a National Artist poet, standing. I couldn’t bring it home. It was so freaking expensive! Its unfortunate because I enjoy his tagalog poems. I don’t know if this guy knows that his books are outrageously over priced.

Does he understand what it means if majority of Filipinos could not afford Filipino literature?

Or have these people accepted that their “works” are only designed to be read by those who could afford them.

If you don’t have cash for buying, tough luck, you better go home and watch Willing Willy or Face2Face. That’s the entertainment that poor people must be watching.

Reading Filipiniana?

Well, I think they believe that this activity belongs to those who have the money and “taste” for the work of the sophisticated and most intelligent “artistas”. Its not for the masa, ya’ know.

These reminds me of the same attitude the Spanish speaking Americanized elites who kept the government and wealth of this nation for themselves. These men never bothered to educate their brothers and sisters, preferring that they remain ignorant so they can perpetuate themselves in power.

I thought that costly artwork was confined to paintings. Look at contemporary artist now painting  scenes of old aristocratic Manila or the wonderful plaza with the Filipinos and their old church [At least de la Rosa and Amorsolo painted about the farming life]. I doubt if these contemporary artist even care about what’s behind those old scenes they paint.

But they’re sure, like good businessmen, that such works would appeal to those who have money, those who have propertied ancestors feeling nostalgic, seeking to connect to their past.

But this are paintings, they’re suppose to be expensive, I think – books are different.

Oh, this is my second rant about overpriced Filipiniana. I should stop complaining I know. But I can’t just can’t help it.


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