Plot twist: Philippine history was among the most sold genres in the latest Aklatan Book Fair
In a surprising turn of events, local history books made up the top sales in the online book fair’s run
Oct 15, 2020
Cracking a book open is the fastest way to escape quarantine without actually leaving your house. Most people have been slowly chipping away at their book hauls from years past to change their quarantine routines and bring their minds elsewhere. But according to a recent book sale, people have been looking back on our history instead of looking for an escape to fantasy.
There have been several online book fairs held to sate the voracious appetites of readers who are still holed up at home. The recent Aklatan Book Fair was one of the many online literary fairs held this year. But instead of the typical categories like romance, young adult fiction and fantasy, local history books ended up as one of the top-performing book genre on online shopping platform Lazada.
History books reigned supreme
Aside from books about warring clans in another universe or two people falling in love against the wishes of their family, people have been picking up locally produced history titles like Ricardo Manapat’s “Some Are Smarter Than Others: The History of Marcos’ Crony Capitalism” and Primitivo Mijares’ “The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.”
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"What is important is we keep the conversation alive. We use the truths and facts from [Some Are Smarter Than Others by Ric Manapat] and our books as arsenal to wipe off disinformation and revisionism. Remember, no small effort is ever too small."—Leon Flores III of Ateneo School of Government during the online book launch of the annotated reissue of Ric Manapat's Some Are Smarter Than Others. Together we can fight disinformation and historical revisionism. See our list of Martial Law related titles in our short catalog here: bit.ly/AUP-MLCatalog
“Some Are Smarter Than Others,” details the excessive ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos clan and their cronies through extensive research and actual receipts. “The Conjugal Dictatorship” chronicles the meticulous planning, corruption and abuses during the Martial Law Era in a firsthand exposé by the former Marcos confidante turned author himself.
These books (which are available for purchase online) are published by the Ateneo University Press, Ateneo de Manila University’s official publishing house. Established in 1972, the Ateneo University Press was one of 31 publishing houses to join the Aklatan Book Fair. They also emerged as the top-selling publisher for both editions of Aklatan.
In a statement, Ateneo University Press director Maria Karina Bolasco said, “[I was] surprised, couldn’t believe it. We are a university press! And history books to be second to romance, I didn’t think I’d live to see the day.”
The truth is in the text
Ateneo University Press head of marketing Almira Manduriao also shared her thoughts after hearing the news. “It’s not every day that you get news telling you that people are getting more and more interested in history. We focus more on scholarly and academic books, so we were thrilled to see people show their interest,” she said in an interview.
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Lisandro Claudio writes in the book's Afterword about another reason why "Some Are Smarter Than Others" is so meticulous with its sources. Hear him talk about the oligarchy of today and what the next generation can do in response this. Oligarchy Then and Now: Manapat’s Some are Smarter than Others Reissued starts tomorrow, August 14, 10-11:30 AM Philippine Time. Register for FREE here: https://bit.ly/2XkPnfR
“Now more than ever, especially with our past being threatened by revisionists, it is encouraging. And for me, as somebody working to make these historical facts reach more readers, it is quite inspiring,” Manduriao concluded.
As the war against fake news and historical revisionism wages on, it’s a positive sign that people are reading up on our nation’s history. Paid trolls and the powers that be can push the narrative in whichever direction they want, but the truth is literally in the text, and it’s our responsibility to keep telling it.
Header image courtesy of the Ateneo University Press website
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TAGS: Aklatan Book Fair Ateneo de Manila University Ateneo University Press History Books Local Books nolisoliph Primitivo Mijares Ricardo Manapat Some Are Smarter Than Others The Conjugal Dictatorship Where to buy local books
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