Over a thousand book lovers flocked in Glorietta 1 in Makati yesterday, June 7, 2016 to attend Victoria Aveyard’s book signing event organized by the National Book Store. It was Aveyard’s second day in the Philippines as the day before, March 5, Aveyard visited her fans in Cebu with her book signing that was held in The Gallery, Ayala Center, Cebu.
I had a bit of an experience yesterday when I attended the event. As per the guidelines, registration starts at 10 AM but knowing how the lines go crazy long if you go there late, the day before the event I told myself that I will wake up 4:30 AM as I was planning to be at the venue at around 6 AM. Based on my experience attending book signing events, many fans go to the venue as early as 2 AM or even do camp outside the venue just to make sure that they will have their books signed first and finish early. I was invited by some of my friends to join them but I declined since I am not really into staying out all night. The day of the event, sadly, I woke up late. The alarm of my phone didn’t work for some reason. I woke up 6:15 AM so I had to rush.
I arrived at the venue 7:15 AM and there’s already this long line of attendees surrounding the mall. The mall opens at 10 AM so I took the waiting time as an opportunity to read. When the mall opened at 10 AM and attendees are already entering for the registration, that’s the time that I realized how huge the turnout of people was. The bookstore has three levels and they made the lines zigzag through the stairs and aisles to avoid the other stores outside the mall from being blocked by the long line. It’s not my first time attending book signing on the same venue so I already know that it will happen. I was no. 367 which I am still quite happy about it because I thought I would get a much higher number.
I was finally able to register at around 11 AM and the program won’t start until 2 PM so I took that time to grab a meal (technically a brunch) because I was not able to have breakfast because of me hurrying up to leave the house for waking up late. Since I finished eating early, and I thought that it was still early, I decided to stroll around the mall and see if something might interest me in buying. At 1 PM at went back to the bookstore and lo and behold, there’s already this sea of people. There are those lucky enough to be able to sit at the limited chairs the bookstore set up near the stage, some are sitting on their butts anywhere they find comfortable like the floor, some are near the stage, along the aisles and stairs. And from what I learned, when they stop the registration the number of attendees reached 1,200. It’s not a surprise that there’s already no space to walk.
When Aveyard entered the bookstore, the venue was filled with shouting and cheering. What followed was a short interview where Aveyard talked about her experience here in the country like how she enjoyed mango juice. She also talked about how George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series became one of her inspirations in writing the series, about how she handles pressure, about the next book in the installment which she declined to give details about which we all understand and also the upcoming film adaptation of Red Queen by Universal Pictures which will be directed by Elizabeth Banks. Her advise to budding writers was to finish what they are working on which is true because you won’t be able to publish a book without finishing your drafts. At around 2:45, after the small chat with the author, the book signing began. I left the bookstore again to roam around the mall and went back at around 4:45 and luckily, they are are already calling that batch for my stub number. The author was very nice and accommodating, she asked me how was I doing and I was so star-struck to be in front of her that I’m not even sure if I was able to answer. Epic fail! 😀 I finished at around 5 PM.
I have to thank National Bookstore for continuously bringing great authors here to the Philippines but I do really hope that it’s time that they already have to also think more about the welfare of the attendees. First, they should have already anticipated the number of attendees prior to the event and chosen a much larger venue. I can’t help but feel pity to all those that I saw just sitting anywhere inside the venue, feeling uncomfortable, most of which are students, because there are very limited number of seats and the place has become too congested. Second, I also heard incidents, from my friends who camped outside the venue, that there were people cutting into the cue but they could not do anything because no one from the bookstore was present to control the line. I’m sure that the management is already aware of people camping outside every time they hold book signings so they could have at least had someone be outside the venue early managing the lines to avoid confusions. I really commend all the attendees for their patience during the whole waiting time until their books were signed. Some had to wait until evening to have their books signed. And of course, I have to also thank the queen, Victoria Aveyard, for visiting the Philippines and of course signing a thousand books is never an easy feat. I hope she comes back. 🙂
I have high hopes that National Bookstore will take some actions and be more sensitive regarding the above predicaments because it’s only once in a while that bookworms meet together, enjoy the company of each other sharing the same joy and I hope they see that. I hope that as they invite more authors here to the Philippines, they will also upgrade the quality of service that they give to the attendees. I am an optimist and I know changes will happen. And to my fellow bookworms, let’s also do our part. People cutting into lines is always an issue whenever there’s a book signing but it’s just this time that it has become this flagrant. I consider readers as intellects. Let us act as one. Intellects know what is what is wrong and what is right. Intellects know the word “respect”. Intellects know that every action that they do reflects who they are as a person. I am sure, we have all read books where people cut into lines and people behind them get irked. I know you already get the idea of where this one is heading. We all want our books to be signed first, I understand that, but I do hope that we should also keep in mind the people who waited for hours just to be in their spots. We should know better. A little courtesy, maybe? I apologize if this is becoming a little preachy and rant-y now but I am just disappointed by what happened. This is my personal opinion. We all love books and I hope that we can also share that love and care to other people who also love books. 🙂
P.S. Did I already say that I was alone all throughout the event? 😀 Yes, I saw some familiar faces but it is either they were with someone I don’t know or I am just too shy to approach them so I decided to just be by myself. But you know what, I did not feel alone at all. It is because, even if you don’t talk to them or know them at all, it’s always a good feeling to be with some people whom you know you share the same passion with. This time, it’s books. 🙂 I had fun. Looking forward to attending more book signing events this year. 🙂
Here’s my book review of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen.