If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’d know that I am a bit of a shopaholic and a sucker for bargains. My recent addiction though, are travel books.
Now, I love to read. I love books. However, I’m not as fond about buying them. For one thing, I am not the most careful book owner. Secondly, I go through phases where I’d go crazy over one author, buy or borrow all his/her books and read nothing but their work for months. That’s why I hesitate to buy books that goes beyond a certain price.
My first travel book (apart from guide books) was Vroom with a View by Peter Moore. I found it at this record store in Yarraville that has a table with a bunch of brand new books at discounted prices. My second find was my first Bill Bryson book, Down Under. It was in good condition, though it was second hand. A pretty good find for a hardbound book at AU$3.99. From then on, I was always on the lookout for familiar names, hoping to get another good find. I did found another Peter Moore, The Full Montezuma. It was well worn, to say the least, but at only AU$0.50, I’m not complaining. I was also able to find Come Fly with Me, a collection of travel stories from around the world, edited by Sarah MacDonald.
During my stopover in Singapore, I fully intented to just stock up on Pinkies and Mangas. In my quest to get to my goal, I managed to stumble upon a couple of stores selling second hand books. Aside from a must-visit place for toy collectors, China Square Central also have a weekend bazaar where independent sellers can rent a booth to sell their goods. Apart from the toys, the clothes and accessories, there are also stalls that sell second hand books. It was in one of the hobby stores though where I found Holy Cow! by Sarah MacDonald, a book about her adventures in India, for only SG$10.
While hunting down the last couple of volumes to complete my Ouran High Host Club loot, I went to the biggest (?) Popular bookstore in Singapore; the one in the Bras Basah Complex. It turns out that this place is also home to more than a couple second hand bookstores. It started raining heavily while I was browsing inside Popular, and it still haven’t let up after I paid for my books. To pass up the time, I browsed through the other stores and found By the Seat of My Pants: Humorous Tales Of Travel And Misadventure from Lonely Planet for only SG$9.90.
Unfortunately, Manila bookstores have very limited selection of travel books. Not only that, they’re past the price I’m willing to pay. Last week though, while waiting for the Shroud of Turin tour to start, I felt something calling out to me, the same feeling I get when I know I’m going to find something good inside trift shops. True enough I chanced upon Frances Maye’s Under the Tuscan Sun AND Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island. Save for a crease or two, both books are in pretty good condition. And the price? Php110 (approximately US$2.40). Not bad, eh?
Booksale at the Mall of Asia probably has the best selection of books. I’m a frequent browser at their SM North Edsa branch and occasionally at Megamall, but this has to be the first time I saw these authors inside their store. They have a great variety of titles, and the best condition of second hand books. Oh, and they also have a number of smutty books for only Php45. *koff koff*
Starting your travel book library doesn’t have to be expensive. If you know where to look, the authors to look for, and with a little bit of luck, you will be starting your collection in no time!