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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Booklust



There are times when my bookhaunts in local secondhand bookshops would come up with very slim pickings. When this happens, I turn to Ebay.ph to satisfy my booklust. However, the desire to smell the aroma of brand new book still overwhelms me. And so I travel to Davao City (6 hours round trip by bus) to trawl the selections at two branches of National Book Store.

When the net I cast does not come up with the books on my wishlist, I try to look for them online direct from the sites maintained by NBS, Fully Booked, Powerbooks, Booksale, Anvil. Suffice it to say that these sites are not friendly (NBS used to offer online orders with payment and pick-up done at a branch near you, now it requires you to have a Globe simcard to send Gcash!, Others require credit card charges - what's wrong with depositing cash payment to their bank accounts? Others don't ship orders at all. Sigh!) I ordered online from Anvil last year and tried again early this year, until now, no reply. Nada! Emboldened by a feature on A Different Bookstore in Globe's entrepreurship magazine, I emailed the lady owner about how I can order books from their store. That was last month and I still have to get a reply from her. Sigh!!!

Now this brings me to my experience with ordering online two types of publications: Story Philippines and Philippine Genre Stories. A friend, Dom Cimafranca, alerted me to the MExpress site where I could order them. Wow! Two birds in one shot! And so I registered and ordered several issues. To complete the transaction, I was instructed to make the payment to the nearest LBC branch using the order code and tracking issued to me, after which my order would be shipped through LBC too.

With hard-earned cash on hand, I went to the nearest of three LBC branches only to be told they were too busy accepting pera padala and cargoes and so may-I-please-go-to-any-of-their-two-mall-branches. At the first mall branch, I told the crew that I need to make an MExpress payment for my online order and showed them the order code and tracking. After glancing at the code and tracking, they gave me a strange look and said: Sir, please go to our branch at the second mall, we don't know anything about this.

Flaring up, I told them I felt like a ball being tossed from one branch to another. I also felt like a buyer trying to convince a fruit vendor s/he is selling mangoes of which s/he's not aware of. And so they made a phone call and were promptly told that indeed LBC accepts such a payment. Giving me a sheepish and apologetic look, the cashier accepted my payment.

A simple memo from LBC management would have alerted their employees of new services offered. And to think, LBC is supposed to accept payments for online orders for picture-printing, Gardenia bread, etc.!

I made a call to MExpress about my LBC experience and I have informed Kenneth Yu, the publisher of Philippine Genre Stories about it. Both told me they would relay my feedback to LBC.

Now I have several issues of Story Philippines and Philippine Genre Stories containing excellent stories to tide me over the Holy Week.

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