Christmas is still a couple of months away but every book lover in Manila must be feeling that zing in the air this early, as if Santa unexpectedly moved up his schedule.
The reason? The Manila International Book Fair 2016 (MIBF).
Now on its 37th year, the MIBF, which opened on Wednesday, is not merely a venue to buy and sell books. It is a haven for writers, readers and publishers to come together and celebrate their love of literature.
If the lure of discounted bestsellers isn’t enough, the MIBF this year also has book signings, meet-and-greets, arts and crafts workshops and demos, forums and talks on all sorts of book- and nonbook-related topics, storytelling sessions, book launches, games and contests, and many other activities.
Still not convinced to brave the hellish Metro Manila traffic to attend the book fair? Here are Super’s top 5 reasons (plus tips!) the MIBF is the go-to book event of the year:
Binge on books
Really, must we say more? The MIBF is every book hoarder’s dream, with discounts, book deals, autographed editions, rare finds, books in every genre in the literature spectrum, reference books and journals, and a whole lot more. If you want to search every nook and cranny of the book fair to know what titles are on offer, good luck! Five days is not enough to visit each one of the MIBF’s more than a hundred exhibitors.
Super pro-tip: Plan a book budget and stick to it; you cannot live on books alone. Wear your comfiest footwear and clothing because you’ll be walking all day (and possibly kneeling and crawling if those books are on the lowest shelf). And, don’t forget to arm yourself with sturdy shopping bags. We all know book-buying is hard work.
Meet author Morgan Matson
National Book Store is not yet done being the country’s favorite book fairy godmother. In the recent literary festival, the bookstore chain brought to Manila Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson, best-selling author Paula McLain and Wattpad rock star Anna Todd (see related story on page D3).
For the MIBF, NBS is bringing in best-selling American author Morgan Matson, who wrote the young adult books “Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour,” “Second Chance Summer,” “Since You’ve Been Gone” and “The Unexpected Everything.” Matson’s MIBF stint on Sept. 18 will be the last of her 2016 book tour in the Philippines. Registration for the book signing starts 10 a.m.
Super pro-tip: NBS will also hold book signings and book launches featuring local authors, among them Mina Esguerra and Mae Coyiuto (Sept. 16); Bianca Gonzalez-Intal, Ramon Bautista and Juan Miguel Severo (Sept. 17), and Ethel Booba and Noreen “noringai” Capili (Sept. 18). Check out the schedule posted on the NBS Facebook page.
Read local, read indie
Other must-visits at the MIBF this year are the booths of local and independent publishers and authors. The young and young-at-heart will surely find their next favorite read at Adarna House.
For comics addicts, there’s Black Ink, which will host The Filipino Comics Festival on Sept. 17, and independent publisher Meganon Comics. Ever-reliable local publishers Anvil Publishing, Vibal Group and the University of the Philippines Press are also present, along with indie publishers and author communities Librong Lira, Uno Morato, Balangay Productions and #RomanceClass.
Super pro-tip: Adarna House, Meganon Comics and Black Ink will also host book signings and meet-and-greets all throughout the fair. If you’re an aspiring author with a manuscript in hand, you may want to check out Vibal Group’s Pitch, Please! (Sept. 18). See complete details of these events on the publishing houses’ respective Facebook pages.
#RomanceClass, a community of indie romance authors, will host a live reading and a forum on publishing romance books on Sept. 18. Read more about #RomanceClass and what they do on blog.romanceclassbooks.com.
Hoard arts and crafts
The MIBF is not just for book lovers; arts and crafts enthusiasts are welcome, too. You can find coloring books, art materials, art prints and posters at the fair.
Super pro-tip: Interested in calligraphy, typography, manga illustration and doodle art? NBS will be hosting demos today at its MIBF spot.
Make new friends
The best thing about the MIBF is, whoever you are and whatever book kink you have, you’ll definitely meet kindred spirits here. And what better way to do that than by poring over books?
Attend workshops and storytelling sessions. Chat with your seatmates during the panels. Help out that cute guy/girl who’s hesitating over buying a book that you know is a great read. Who knows, you may even find your literary soul mate!
Super pro-tip: If your barkada is still bewitched by the magic of The-Boy-Who-Lived, why not join other Potter fans at the NBS “Harry Potter” party on Sept. 18? The event will include games and other fun-filled activities. Registration starts at 10 a.m.
The Manila International Book Fair runs until Sept. 18 at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Visit its Facebook page for more details.