Monday, April 24, 2017

On braving the summer heat for the Scholastic Asia Warehouse Sale and its book buffet

The truth is, I only ever plan for a single book fair event... the Manila International Book Fair held every September. I would save up a little whenever I can until I have a decent budget to work with. It was all planned out and I didn't think I would be tapping into that little book nest egg until September rolled around and talked myself into walking the length of the conventional halls of SMX.

And then I saw the words BOOK BUFFET on my facebook feed and all that went out the window. In the past years, I would notice the announcements for the bi-annual Scholastic Asia Warehouse Sale, but never had the chance to go... mostly because warehouse sales usually mean that I have to brave the heat and the dust. With my rather hyperactive sweat glands and rhinitis, those are pretty strong deterrents. And when I learned about the book buffet that they offered last Christmas season, my book buying budget was all tapped out.

But when I saw a post about the summer leg of this year's warehouse sale, it was hard to resist since they're bringing back the book buffet. So, I invited my sisters-in-law (present and pending ;P) and we made it a scheduled girl's day out. And because I'd like to avoid crowds as much as I can, we settled on going there at the 9am opening on a weekday.

The plan was to head straight for the book buffet and get our fill of books for the kids before heading over to the discounted book areas for other potential bargains. I was on the lookout for single volumes of the Harry Potter series, because for some reason, all that's left of my collection is volumes 1, 5 and 6 (I think I may have lost the rest to lending). While they're not part of the book buffet, I was still hoping to score my missing volumes at great prices.
The book buffet is pretty straightforward, with a section of the warehouse dedicated for the participating titles. Most of the selections on offer, though, are targeted to kids, so adult readers might find slim pickings for themselves unless they're specifically on the lookout for children's books. Among the worn copies that you can expect to find are actually brand new looking volumes. I got a few storybooks just for gifting purposes in case a child's birthday is coming up or we need generic gifts for surprise visitors over the holidays. The box might seem small, but it took the better part of an hour to fill up. We were lucky enough to score a couple of Roald Dahl titles for each kid. And I was surprised to find a couple of book award winners (Monster and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) and a fantasy classic (Redwall) hiding among the shelves for my own library.

I checked out the discounted area after I was done filling up my book buffet box. The selection wasn't as extensive as I thought, such as lone volumes of book series and only 20% discount on the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (I don't know why they didn't offer the other volumes, too... huhuhu). But finding Room at half off wasn't a bad trade off. I figured I could wait until the next MIBF to score the rest of the HP series or will brave the next warehouse sale during the holidays (wherein I'm hoping they bring back the P250 price tag on hardbound HP books).

A post shared by Peps Pe-Gaerlan (@pepsgaerlan) on

There were some stressful moments courtesy of the heat and the pressure to fill a box which you would initially think is small, but our book buffet efforts are a success. Since they ring up every title you place in the box for inventory purposes, you get to find out how much your entire haul is worth. Our four book buffet boxes priced at P799 each contained nearly P25,000 worth of books. It's enough to make you want to dance a jig... if only it weren't so hot and if scouring through shelves and tables didn't take up so much of your energy.

Here are the titles included in my book haul (I didn't have the energy to list the titles my companions got, but they also did pretty well for themselves), which include 17 children's storybooks, 11 paperback books and 7 activity/coloring books. The first two items are discounted book purchases, while the rest are book buffet scores.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter series) by J.K. Rowling
  • Room by Emma Donoghue
  • Spellbound, a short story collection curated by Diana Wynne Jones
  • Redwall by Brian Jacques
  • Beezus & Ramona by Beverly Clearly
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl
  • The Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
  • Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • Monster by Walter Dean Myers
  • Up on Daddy's Shoulders by Matt Berry
  • Adorable You by Mae Brown
  • Nickelodeon's Ni Hao, Kai-Lan's Shower of Flowers
  • Nickelodeon's Ni Hao, Kai-Lan's Kai-Lan and the Ladybug Festival 
  • Disney Storybook Collection
  • The Lighthouse Keeper's Picnic by Ronda & David Armitage
  • The Hokey Pokey
  • Sam's Science's I Know Why I Brush My Teeth by Kate Rowan
  • Curious You on Your Way
  • Ted's Shed by Phil Roxbee Cox & Stephen Cartwright
  • Sam Sheep Can't Sleep by Phil Roxbee Cox & Stephen Cartwright
  • Storm is Coming! by Heather Tekavec
  • Whose Mouse are You? by Robert Kraus
  • Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer
  • Time for Bed, Little One by Caroline Pitcher and Tina Macnaughton
  • Inside a Zoo in the City by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  • Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox
  • ... a few activity and coloring books to keep the little one even busier. :P

So, will I ever go back for another round at the Scholastic Asia Warehouse Sale? Given that, despite the heat, dust and possible crowds, our first book buffet experience was a success... yes. And I'm giving them another chance to redeem themselves on the discounted books front (I was expecting to make a killing there with my own book haul) in my future visits.

Am off to do some serious work on price tag removal and covering some of the paperback books in plastic (yes, I still do that for most of my books). Then, will spend the next six or seven months preparing myself for heat, dust, potential crowding and scouring through a whole lot of books in anticipation for the holiday run of the Scholastic Asia Warehouse Sale. It's the best kind of challenge, really.

Happy reading!!

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