Over 150,000 attend Manila book fair in Philippines

By Mike Tucker
September 30, 2019
Militant/Baskaran Appu

MANILA, Philippines — Over 150,000 people took part in the 40th Manila International Book Fair here Sept. 11-15. Above, fairgoers line up outside the exhibition hall on opening day. Many were high school and university students, and other youth. Because of an earthquake Sept. 13, a number of colleges closed the following day, boosting those attending to 50,000.

Over 100 exhibitors were at the fair, including the Philippines’ two national book chains — National Books and Fully Booked. Publishers and distributors of novels and educational textbooks and of children’s, religious and comic books drew many wanting to meet their favorite authors who were in attendance.

There was widespread interest in books presented by New York-based Pathfinder Press, one of several publishers from other countries at the fair. It publishes books by leaders of the Socialist Workers Party in the United States, of the Cuban Revolution and of the modern communist movement back to its founding. Titles cover workers’ struggles to build unions, women’s rights, and movements for national liberation and socialism. Pathfinder participated in last year’s fair and also some three decades previously. One repeat visitor, who bought several titles, said, “There’s a buzz about that there are communist books here.”

The booth was organized by Pathfinder Books in Sydney, the publisher’s Australian distributor. Over 500 books and pamphlets as well as 37 Militant subscriptions were sold.