I wrote a column a couple of days ago about Digital Subscriptions to Magazines, and how that made it so easy to read US Magazines no matter where in the world you are physically located. But, I know that a number of people like reading books better than reading magazines. So, let’s have a look at the best ways of getting books for your reading pleasure.
First, of course, you can buy books locally. There are a few bookstores here in the Philippines. Of course, the granddaddy of bookstores in the Philippines is National Bookstore. National Bookstore has locations, usually in malls, in most major Philippine Cities. If you are living in a smaller town, though, you might have to travel to a bigger place to visit a branch of National Bookstore. Unfortunately, in my experience, National Bookstore has only a very limited selection of books to choose from.
Next option – order books online and have them shipped to the Philippines. Due to the fact that books can be quite heavy, shipping can make your books expensive. But, if you are willing to pay this shipping cost, my recommendation is to Order Books from Amazon. Amazon has nearly any book that you might ever want to buy, and their prices are good too. In addition, Amazon will ship to the Philippines. If you are a little more frugal, there is another way that you can do this too. Order the book, and have it shipped to a relative or a friend in the States. Let the book orders stack up a bit, then have your friend ship it to you in a Balikbayan Box. A large box of books can be shipped from the USA to the Philippines for less than $100, and that is going to be a LOT of books. I would imagine that one box per year, full of books would be enough to keep you in reading material for a year.
Another option that is new, which you may want to look at is Kindle: Amazon’s New Wireless Reading Device. In our discussion in the comments on a recent column, it was said that the Kindle cannot be used if you are not in the USA, but I have done some research and found that this is not exactly correct. You see, the Kindle is an e-Book reader. With the Kindle, you can download books and read them right on this little device, which is about the size of a paper-back book! And, there are already over 90,000 books available for the Kindle. Nearly every book on the New York Times Best Seller List can be downloaded for reading on the Kindle, and most such best sellers are priced at $9.99.
Now, how can the Kindle be used in the Philippines? Let me say first that the wireless service for downloading books and such is ONLY available in the USA, and not even available in a couple of States there. But, there is still a way to make it work! The Kindle has a USB connection and can be connected directly to your computer. You can go online at Amazon and purchase Kindle books. You can then download the Kindle books to your computer, and transfer them over USB onto your Kindle device! The kindle can also be used for reading online content like blogs and such, but if you are outside the USA, this would not be possible since the proprietary wireless service is only available in the USA. But, you can indeed use the Kindle strictly for reading books, even in the Philippines. One more word of caution – in order to purchase the Kindle books, you will need a US Credit Card and a US Address, or your orders will not be accepted. This is because of contractual agreements with overseas publishers. However, you can download the Kindle books no matter where in the world you are, provided you have a US Credit Card and Address.
Another option is that there are Other e-book readers on the market as well! One of the more popular units is the Sony PRS-500. In addition to the books for Kindle, there is another popular format called Mobipocket. There are a huge number of titles available for e-book readers of the Mobipocket format as well.
So, as you can see, there are indeed some options for book readers who want to keep up with the latest books, no matter where they live!