Ways to Get A Book

Here is something I wrote several years ago at Library7 – one of my old blogs about books and reading. I am resurrecting some posts written from that particular blog. To introduce a personal project of mine Sonido Biblioteca. I am loanng out books to those who want to read at no cost at all. If you want more information about this and be part of project you can email me at baratillocubao(_at_)gmail.com

When one is a bibliophile. And is eternally in search of books to read one will learn eventually that there five ways to get a book.

The bibliophile can buy.
The bibliophile can browse.
The bibliophile can borrow.
The bibliophile can inherit or recieve.
The bibliophile can steal.

The first option seemingly is of course to buy. However, this can cause a sharp drop in the financial reserves of the book lover. There are of course other options than buying first-hand books, you can always buy previously owned or second hand books. The advanatge here is that the price is lower. Just make sure that the book that you get is of good quality – no missing pages, still in nicely binded, and the paper will not disintegrate in your hand. Always think Caveat Emptor !

Browsing is of course done always in the bookstore. It is a good way to kill time. Most bookstores tolerate this, some even like A Different Bookstore encourages this. The plus side to this is that its free. The downside side is you have to be fast reader or you have to go back to finish the book. Also there is a limited number of chairs and floor space available.

Borrowing a book is also a good strategy, Two sources of books for borrowing are public libraries and private libraries, owned by friends and relatives. It is a shame that there are not that many libraries here in the Philippines. In other countries, you just need to go to the library to get a book. Public libraries that I know of include the National Library and the Pasig Library, there may be more unfortunately I am not aware of them. There are also the libraries sponsored by corporate entities and foreign government – Goethe Institute, the British Counciland the Heritage Library (Ayala). I am not quite sure if the British Council still maintains a library, I was able to read a lot of Tolkien and CS Lewis books from their collection, I just paid 300 pesos for the library card. There are of course the school and university libraries, available to students and faculty, but in certain cases also available to the alumni. And then there are the friends and relatives, these are people close to you and will probably not mind lending a book or two you, unless you are a bad borrower, which is almost bordering on stealing.

The most fortunate way to get a book is if somebody were to give it to you. Its a thing given with love and affection. Unfortunately, most often love and affection does not equal taste in books. So please make sure your friends know what you like, but you have to be subtle a little bit overdone recipient of books designed to make fun of you or you will not get any book at all. Of course with inheritance that is another matter. Fortunate is he who has inherited a library from someone with excellent taste or whose tastes are similar to that of the heir. I wonder who inherited Rizal’s library? Must have been Josephine Braken or maybe it was one of his sisters.

Not returning a book is stealing. Stealing is quite dangerous and will often lead you to jail. In the past though a lot of celebrated book stealers had a round-about way of stealing books. A Pope used to just get the books he fancies. And Shi Huang Ti of China ordered all non-essential books confiscated and burned.

In the old days book were highly valued. Nearly all were hand-written and hand-crafted. Monasteries and abbies were producing them and storing them. Some of the books were even chained to the table to prevent someone from stealing. Curses were also used to scare potential book robbers. Of course, the chain and the curse did not deter the book stealer from securing his prey.

So many ways to get a book.

This entry was posted in Books and Libraries. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply