I interrupt my UK recap for this special occasion — the annual Manila International Book Fair, which runs from tomorrow, Sept. 13 to Sunday, Sept. 17, 10 am to 8 pm at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.
This year is particularly exciting as it’s bigger than it’s ever been, now with the exhibition floor extended to the second floor! With almost 12,000 square meters of exhibit space this year, that means not just more books, but more room for special events such as book signings, workshops, storytelling, fan gatherings, and many more!
You can find the list of exhibitors, special events schedule, and the floor plans for both exhibition levels on the MIBF website.
Some tips for the MIBF:
- Save on entrance tickets. Tickets are available at the SMX lobby at P20 (P15 for students and senior citizens, and free for teachers), but you can also print out your own tickets – a lot of publishers and booksellers have downloadable tickets on their websites or social media sites, so save your money for book shopping and print out your ticket instead!
- Wear comfy shoes. With a two-level exhibition space this year, there’s a lot more to explore, so make sure to wear shoes you can walk in for hours, as it is no joke to walk across thousands of square meters (and through a book hungry crowd) in high heels (I’ve tried, believe me).
- Plan ahead. If you’re looking for specific books, or making your way through a Christmas shopping list check out the list of exhibitors (and their social media accounts) so you know where to get the books you want and get the best deals for them. Most booths accept both cash and debit/credit cards, but it can’t hurt to have some spare cash (and extra room in your budget), because there’s always bound to be a book or two (or ten, if you’re me) you didn’t plan on buying. There are two ATM machines to one side on the ground floor of SMX, but by the weekend (it’s payday weekend) the lines tend to get long and the machines do run out of cash, so it’s best to be ready with alternatives.
- Scope out the exhibit. If you have the time, do a walkthrough before you shop. Some titles are carried by more than one exhibitor and some booths offer deals that are just too good to pass up, so before you go blowing your book fair budget in one go, it’s best to check out what’s on the selling floor! Also, some stocks run out on the first day, some last all five days, so weigh your options. Will you want to kick yourself after passing up a good deal you saw on the first day? Or will you regret splurging in one booth when you find something else you like later on in the day?
- Get the best deals. Check the exhibitors’ social media accounts, because information on new titles and promos will likely be posted there. Inquire at the booth, too. You never know, they might have something that will catch your interest. Want something extra? Try your hand at bargaining, as some exhibitors can give you a lower price if you ask nicely, or maybe throw in a freebie!
- Bring an eco bag, or a wheelie bag if you’re planning a big haul.If your load gets too heavy, there’s always the package counter. But if you don’t want to keep bailing to the package counter, a wheelie bag will be your best friend.
- Get your books signed. Book signings happen every day of the MIBF, so if you’re keen on getting a signing, find out the schedule for the author you’re gunning for – they’re often announced in advance on social media. Inquire at the exhibitors’ booth if any of their authors or illustrators are scheduled to make an appearance, and you might be able to get a signed copy, and even a photo taken with them.
- Got kids? Interactive exhibits, art workshops, storytelling sessions, mascot parades – there’s a ton of kid-friendly events at the book fair. Alternate between the exhibitors you like and the exhibitors they like to keep them from getting bored. With this year’s special section upstairs for children’s and young adult books, you’ll definitely find ways to keep them entertained.
- Come back on the last day. If you have the chance, check out last-minute deals on the MIBF on Sunday. Some prices go down on the last day, as some exhibitors prefer unload their stock rather than pack it all up again, so keep an eye out on last-day bargains.
- All shopped out? Who says you have to buy books to enjoy the book fair? Enjoy the various special events scheduled throughout the duration of the fair, chat up some fellow bibliophiles, or grab a seat somewhere (some even prefer a quiet corner on the floor) and enjoy a book!
This year’s special? Geek out at the MIBF Fandom Fest over the book fair weekend:
See you at the book fair! Will scope out some books for you on Day 1, so visit the blog again tomorrow :)