The Booksale Curse

The Booksale Curse 
By Walter Ang
October 12, 2000
Confuse Shoes column,

I've been extremely caught up in work the past few weeks. September just started yesterday and ? okay, I've just been told it's already October. The second week already, no less! Oy.

In any case, even if it is already over, September is an exciting month for bibliophiles in Manila because that's when the yearly bookfair is held. Piles and piles of books with crowds and crowds of book lovers congregating in one place. The smell of fresh books (and a couple of used books) and the palpable excitement of finding the good buy is enough to intoxicate a cow. Not that I've ever actually seen an intoxicated cow at one of the bookfairs, but I digress.

Don't you just love digging though mounds of books, be they new or used, and finding one that you fall in love with? Especially if it they're on discount! I'm not usually an expressive person, but if the right book came along at the right time, I wouldn't be opposed to shrieking like girl to celebrate a good find.

I used to go to the bookfairs with my family all the time. The past few years however, I've always been extremely busy during the month of September. There would always be some sort of exam to cram for, a production I'd have to rehearse for, a project I'd have o work on. I'd sometimes have the weekends free, but I'd be too tired to even get out of bed. Thus denying me the chance to go to that year's bookfair.

Missing out on bookfairs, however, are the least of my problems. The thing I have to deal with is the booksale curse. What in the world is the booksale curse? Whenever I go to a booksale, I can never find a book I like. I scour and browse and pace and look all over the shelves and bins and stacks to no avail.

That's just part one of the curse. There's a part two. Part two is that almost all the books I do get to find the rest of the year and purchase at the regular price seem to mysteriously end up on sale later on. You have no idea how incredibly frustrating that is!

Remember that scene in the movie "You've Got Mail"? Tom Hanks was complaining how a book could cost so much. The bookseller explains the care that went into making the book makes it "worth" so much, not "cost." Books are worth what you pay for them, certainly. But a bargain is never a bad thing to have!

So you can imagine the look on my face when I dig through the discount bins during sales and come face to face with books that I've already bought. Then only to discover them with prices that are a fraction of what I originally paid for. This happens to me all the time.

For example, I once bought Douglas Coupland's "Mircroserfs" at around 300 bucks and found it in the discount bin later in the year for only 80 bucks! Poor me. Apart from doing my Fran Drescher impersonation, "Why me?" I can only muster up a pathetic sigh. Maybe in the next time I visit a booksale, I should try to look for a book on how to break curses.