Booksale will not go gentle into that good night

April 4, 2018 - 1:53 PM
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Long-time bookstore chain Booksale had been part of the lives of many Filipinos for years. (Philstar.com)

Bibliophiles and book readers expressed their relief online that circulating rumors on long-time book chain Booksale Philippines’ supposed closure are just “fake news.”

The management of Booksale (Visual Mix, Inc. and Booksale Cebu, Inc.) shut down these rumors on a Facebook post yesterday and assured that the company is “alive and well.”

The post met positive reactions from loyal customers that the popular bookstore chain is here to stay. Some book readers admitted that they built their book collection from Booksale over the years, and praised the company because of their affordable prices.

One Facebook user commented, “Booksale is quintessential to Filipinos as Jollibee. Most of my fondest hunting memories can be attributed to my quests crouch on all fours looking for the best titles which happen to be at unreachable places. Long live Booksale!”

Bookworms from the online forum Reddit also welcomed Booksale’s statement. Many Reddit users recounted that mall visits always include browsing in a Booksale store.

Struggling in time

Emmanuel S. Sison, president of Visual Mix, Inc. and Ambrosio D. Lucilo, Jr., president of Booksale Cebu, Inc., admitted in the statement that the company has been struggling for the last two decades.

“While the economy and the business environment in which Booksale operates has dramatically changed in the past 20 years, we are facing these challenges confidently and unwaveringly to sustain our mission of providing affordable reading to you,” the statement said.

Booksale said that these “insurmountable challenges” include operating costs, salaries of employees, and rental rates, which have tripled or quadrupled for 20 years. The company is also affected by the peso depreciation through the years.

The statement added that they could not increase the prices of their products because this would go against their mission of “making reading affordable.”

“We are instead optimizing our operations, searching for better suppliers and talking to other parties here and abroad about just and mutually synergistic arrangements,” Booksale said.

For more than 30 years, the company had kept true to their tagline, “We make reading affordable,” for their new and pre-owned books, magazines, and graphic novels at bargain prices. They offer publications from the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Booksale, with 91 stores nationwide, had become an important part of our culture with many Filipinos growing up to become loyal customers of the homegrown store.

A loyal customer recounted in his Facebook comment that he got “hooked with reading” when he bought a Catcher in the Rye book for P10 only back when he was only 15 years old.

“I was going through some rough times on my late teens, but the books that I bought from your store became my refuge, my catharsis. I hope you continue on your noble mission and inspire a new generation of young Filipino readers. Godspeed!” Facebook user Manu Arrastia said.