NBDB to Writers, Publishers: Go Indie

NBDB to Writers, Publishers: Go Indie

May 23, 2015

BAGUIO CITY – The country’s publishing industry has been declining for more than a decade, but this should not be a reason for writers to set aside their ambitions of seeing their works published.

National Book Development Board (NBDB) Executive Director Graciela Mendoza-Cayton encouraged a room full of writers at “Aspulan: A Gathering of Baguio Literary Artists, Journalists, Teachers and Students in Literature and Writing” held recently at the University of the Philippines Baguio to go for community-based publishing.
“You have the content. The power is with you,” she said. “All you have to look for is an investor and who will invest in you best if not one of your own?”
Earlier in her talk, Cayton presented data from NBDB and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) that shows the state of the publishing industry in the Philippines.

According to the NBDB, there are more than 1,000 authors in the Philippines but only 118 are registered with them. There are 50 book illustrators and designers, none of whom are registered. There are more than 400 publishers of textbooks, references, and trade books in the country and only 200 are registered with NBDB. More than 7,800 new book titles obtained an International Standard Book Number or ISBN from the National Library of the Philippines last year. These books went through 377 bookstores in the country.

NBDB data also show there are 148 book traders and exports and there are 1,500 public libraries nationwide. They also say there are 42.9 million Filipinos aged 18 and above who read non-school books.

IPOPHL data show that in 1999, the publishing industry (which includes books, newspapers, and magazines) contributed 2.3 percent to the country’s gross domestic product or GDP. However, the industry contributed only 0.98% or Php 88 billion in 2010. Cayton said this means the industry’s contribution to the country’s GDP is become less significant.

He also mentioned some factors that may contribute to the publishing industry’s decline, including the popularity of technology, a decline in publishing materials, and gap between writer and reader.

While such may be the state of the mainstream publishing, Cayton called on independent publishers and bookstores to open their doors and create opportunities to do business with up and coming writers. She encouraged them to break away from the mainstream by going for community-based publishing where writers can publish their work without spending much on publishing costs.

“Go indie,” Cayton told Baguio writers. “It’s a good idea.”/JDP/Pryce E. Quintos- PIA CAR


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