Want to do something that will flex you Christian life? Read a Christian book! But you don’t have the budget to buy those books at National Bookstore or PCBS, then go to Booksale!
Booksale is a popular second hand or used bookstore in the Philippines from a company called Visual Mix Inc. It’s a sort of ukay-ukay for books. They sell those books (from novels, children’s, coffee tables, comics etc.) at a very cheap price. It also carries new and back issues of magazines, local and international. You can find it at malls as stalls or as a store branch. Sometimes it has Christian books that are classics and written by popular authors.
For years now, I’ve bought books at Booksale. Some had impacted my life. You don’t have to pay for expensive Christian books just to fuel your Christian walk. You can simply find some treasures at Booksale. There are competitors and book fairs popping up but Booksale is ahead of the pack.
This article intends to give advice and tips on finding a Christian book if you are planning to go to Booksale.
For first timers: Prepare for a lot digging, flipping and bending for books at Booksale. But your effort will be paid off if you get hard-to-find or classic books at very affordable prices. It might surprise you that big stores sell that same book for a hefty price but then find it very cheap at Booksale.
You might as well be informed that this is not a Christian bookstore. Booksale carries men’s magazines and other stuff Christians should not set their eyes upon.
Another, don’t expect for the sales clerk to know or find a book for you. They are not like those from big bookstores.
The budget: Booksale gives prices as low as P10 (if you are super duper lucky) . The price ranges to P10-75 and over 200 which are still cheap compared to popular bookstores. If you’re going there, it’s safe to have P 500. If you’re lucky, with that amount you can buy 3-5 books. If the book is prolific in Booksale, you might as well wait for them to lower its price. I’ve observed that if a book wouldn’t sell, they will change the price. You might notice the multiple price stickers on the book. I bought books which were classics for as low as 10-25 pesos. They don’t price it because of the authors, but to sell and dispose it.
Some publishers you might look out while digging: This list will give some ease and save some time on what is a Christian book by looking at the publisher’s name. These are legitimate Christian publishing companies, but that doesn’t mean we should put off our discernment radar. Let’s use our Christian discernment by comparing those books with our stand in doctrine, morality, biblical worldview etc.
Major publishing companies: Whitaker, Tyndale, NavsPress, Revell, McMillan, Moody Press, Regal, Bethany House, Spire, New Leaf, CLC (Christian Literature Crusade), Thomas Nelson, New Growth Press, Zondervan, and Inter Varsity Press.
Publishing company that has a Reformed bent: Crossway (most of their product), 9 Marks, Banner of Truth, Cruciform Press, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, Reformed Trust Publishing, 10 of Those, The Good Book, Matthias Media, and Lexham Press.
It will also help if you find a book or author to check them in the internet before buying it. You can search info, reviews, criticism and recommendations for that book and the author. Look it up in GoodReads or Challies.com (if he reviewed it).
Authors you shouldn’t miss: Booksale sometimes has great books by these authors: John MacArthur, JI Packer, E.M. Bounds, Andrew Murray, Randy Alcorn , Charles Spurgeon, and C.S. Lewis. Some of these authors are available in thin mass produced trade paperbacks. The list I provided are some that were prolific in Booksale (which I have seen in BS over the years) but not necessary always available.
Of course, there are Bibles in different versions and sizes that you can find in Booksale. You can own the greatest book in the world for a very affordable price.
Topics or Category you may find: Mostly Christian living, ministry, devotional and discipleship.
Rarely are apologetics and theology.
Great titles that influence me: Here are some books I bought that greatly helped me in my Christian walk, which I got from Booksale (and I hope you can find it too.)
- Narnia series by C. S. Lewis
- Spiritual Maturity by J. Oswald Sanders
- In Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray
- Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
- Of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis
- Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur Jr. (hardbound)
- My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
- Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
- The Song by Calvin Miller
Books You Should Avoid: Once in awhile I find some books that have spiritual stuff but don’t uphold a biblical Christian stand. So please check carefully the book you’re buying. Here are some of them:
- self help
- Hare Krishna/Divine Consciousness
- Robert Schuller
- New Age, Yoga and Shirley MacLane
- Dianetics by Ron Hubbard
- Book of Mormon, Great Controversy, Steps to Christ and other so called religious text from cults (but if i were you I’ll do this for these cult literatures).
- Horoscope and other fortune telling stuff
Top Secret Tips
1.) If you find something that you really like but forgot to bring cash or you couldn’t purchase it at the moment due to budget constraints, don’t worry. You can reserve the book for a few days with no additional fee until you can buy it. Just tell the sales clerk or cashier and they can keep it for you.
2.) If you want to find great selections, better to visit the big stores rather than the small ones. The big stores can be found in Robinson Galleria, SM North Edsa, SM Southmall Las Pinas and Makati Cinema Square.
3.) Booksale changes books every month. That means new (old) books with much lower prices are available. Sometime they do it every first day of the month. Ask the clerk what date do they change their books. So before anyone get something, better know when they change products.
Advantages: Here are some advantages in buying at Booksale:
- The price is very low. As I have said, you can buy something for P10.
- If you’re fortunate, you can find hardbound Christian books.
- Popular, hard-to-find and out-of-print Christian books are available.
- Books are printed in the US.
Disadvantages: Although the prices are very low at Booksale (which is an advantage), there are some disadvantages:
- Quality of the books: sometimes (but not always) books are unpresentable because it has been worn out, it has missing or falling-away pages, it’s torn and crumpled cover, and its price sticker is rashly attached. Flap jackets are missing. It has markings like “Used” or “Discarded”. It also has lots of pencil or ballpen markings.
- You won’t get what you want: unlike PCBS or National Bookstore where you can go to a section for a specific book or topic you’re looking for, sometimes you won’t find any title that fits your taste at Booksale.
- Sales clerk: aside for not having one attending, they don’t know about the books and won’t even recommend you one.
- Not all malls have Booksale.
- Some Christian books available at Booksale (or even at National Bookstore or PCBS) can be read or, in some cases, downloaded in the internet for free.
- Some are old editions and are not updated.
- Sometimes they don’t have multiple copies of a title.
I don’t buy books at Booksale all the time. I also visit National Bookstore or PCBS to purchase (if I have the budget) books that are new, fresh and relevant with the time or culture. There are books sellers at FB Marketplace or on IG that I follow to get pre-loved books.
Free books: Simply research the internet for specific topics that are available in different digital format for free. Another thing is to subscribe to David C. Cook, Desiring God, Crossway or Ligioner Ministries and for time to time they give away e-books for free.
Interesting stuff: Over the years of buying, collecting, and reading books from Booksale, I noticed some things worth noting. Some of the books are discarded from libraries in the US because it still carries the index card or has the name of the library stamp on the first page. In some books I own, you know it’s a gift because of the handwritten dedication for someone. You can also know who previously owns it with the sticker of the owner’s name complete with address! Other times, someone might be studying the book because of the pencil or ballpen lines, as well as handwritten comments on the spaces of each page. You might get surprised when you find autographed books.
I hope this article helps you find a worthy read for your enjoyment and spiritual growth. If you have questions, you can send an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or use it to add me up on FaceBook. Booksale has a website and FB Page. You can connect with them via FB Messenger. Happy Christian book hunting at Booksale!