It’s a time for resolutions and perhaps you’re considering reading more Filipino literature this year. But where does one even find Filipino books? Fret not, I am here to give you a quick guide of where to start your search for your next Filipino read.
If you’re looking to purchase, buying from your neighbourhood independent bookstore is a great way to support your community. They would most likely have a limited selection of Filipino books in English, and you might have to get items specially ordered. The best way to explore this option is to ask your local bookseller. I have yet to find a Filipino bookstore in Canada, but our neighbour in the South has some. My favourite is Arkipelago Books, a specialty Filipino bookstore in San Francisco that has an online shop that delivers to Canada. They have a curated selection of Filipino books both in English and Tagalog.
Another option is chain bookstores such as Chapters and Indigo, which mainly carry books by authors from the diaspora such as Filipino-American and Filipino-Canadian authors. Though a much limited selection, they also carry books by Filipino authors such as Jose Rizal and Nick Joaquin. You can also find some children’s bilingual English-Tagalog books, resources for learning Tagalog, and some non-fiction.
If you’ve exhausted all of your other buying options, Amazon also carries Filipino books, some of which are hard to find anywhere else. But I do recommend checking other places before deciding to purchase from Amazon.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a free option, you can check out your local library. Bigger public libraries such as EPL and CPL have a much wider selection than one might think. Their collections contain Filipino books both in English and Tagalog, and from all types of Filipino authors. Titles for different ages and from different genres are available. A fun fact about libraries is that they love to share! So if your local library doesn’t have what you want, you could request an interlibrary loan, but parts of that service may be limited because of the pandemic. You could also suggest an item to be added to the collection. Talk to your local librarian to see what options are available to you. I hope this guide proves to be helpful and may the new year bring us more opportunities to read Filipino literature!