I found two good books earlier. The first one,”Puentes de España en las Filipinas”, a coffee table bookloaded with picturesque images of stone arched bridges from the Spanish era. The pictures in Manila shows old bridges that amazingly survived countless conflicts and natural disasters. Some of them obscured by plant life, some by the constant reckless concrete repairs courtesy of our stupid public works department.
The other book is “Isabelo’s Archive”, from one of my favorite historian, Cebuano Resil Mojares. (For sampling of an excerpt click here). Mojares is a gifted scholar–he weaves historical stories and accounts that captivate the Filipino reader. His works are interesting and informative–only problem is that most of his books are high-priced. To be fair, it’s not only his books but most Filipiniana titles. I find it strange that when the subject is Philippine history, the more expensive it gets!
I don’t know why we have expensive books. For a nation that does not read the pricing does not make sense. This book by Mojares shares the same price with that dry, controversial book from Dan Brown!
Those who write romance novel and novelty books gets it.They sell their books nickle-and-dime. And it’s proving to be a great marketing tactic. Of course, history books would be harder to sell even if prices drop. Ambeth Ocampo and F. Sionil Jose are doing what I think is the right thing here. Find ways, creative ways to bring the price down–and the readers will come–they’re not only making good profit but also advancing their advocacy.
I don;t know if these historians are even aware how their works ends up being priced. If you’re a scholar don’t you want more people to discover your work. Why price it beyond their reach then?