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The Philippines has low levels of output in book production compared with other
Asian countries. Aside from having no human resource development program for
the book publishing industry, the lack of incentives due to limited number of
research grants and fellowships are reasons why many authors are forced to move
to more financially rewarding endeavors. As a result, the book industry is
currently plagued by the lack of trained and competent authors, editors, designers,
graphic artists and production specialists due to non-availability of industry-
specific courses and trainings. Not only do we have less locally-authored titles
annually, our institutions of higher learning are also dependent on instructional
materials produced by the western world because many of our researches are not
converted or translated into curriculum materials. The severe disparity between
local and foreign authored books can be observed from the book shelves in our
libraries and bookstores.

Creating a National Book Development Trust Fund amounting to Php

100,000,000.00 is significantly important for the creation and eventual publication
of locally authored manuscripts from eighteen (18) regions of the country. If
passed into law, the interest of the Trust Fund would enable at least sixty-five (65)
grants worth PhP 150,000.00 each per region to be awarded yearly so that
deserving writers or researchers in the Philippines could produce or finish
excellent manuscripts on a variety of topics or subject areas for publication. This
way, local books serve the development goals of communities, institutions of
learning and the whole nation.


The reasons for the immediate passage of the National Book Development Trust
Fund are justified by the following facts. These are:

First, is the low book output which is a concern that has been raised by
government policy-makers and stakeholders in the industry (Pacheco, 1996:2,13;
UNESCO, 1995; Miranda, 1987:5;Aprieto, 1981:3-4; Albert, et al., 1966:2). This
observation was also echoed by the Center for Policy and Administrative
Development of the National College of Public Administration and Governance at
the University of the Philippines. In 1999, while Malaysia and Sri Lanka produced
5,084 books and 4,655 books respectively, the Philippines produced only 1,380.
This output is considered just a drop in the bucket when compared with the
production of Korea at 36,425 books and Japan with 65,513 books (For more
details, see Table 3).
Second, is the dearth of industry-focused instructional materials and textbooks
even for undergraduate courses and the fact that most if not all of our institutions
of learning patronize books that are mostly western-oriented. The Philippines is
the third largest English Speaking nation in the world with academic books
sourced mostly from the West. A case in point is the problem of having a dearth of
locally-authored books e.g. instructional materials and books among state colleges
and universities which has been raised by Dr. Frederick So. Pada, Executive
Director of the Philippine Association of State Colleges and Universities. He cited
as a reason that “books and instructional materials developed and published by
foreigners are not affordable among the SUC studentry.” He also confirmed the
observation on the capability of local authors when he said that “there are many
capable SUC faculty members who can be tapped to develop instructional
materials and write books for the Filipino students but they are not given the in-
house logistics, encouragement and administrative support.”

Third, is the huge disparity in the ratio of imported books sold in our local
bookstores. According to Ms. Juliet Gako of the National Book Store, the volume
of books in said store was 70% foreign-authored and 30% locally-authored books
three to five years ago. This year, the ratio is now 60% foreign and 40% local.
But the sad part is that books that enjoy brisk sales are mostly locally-authored
Romance Novels, she added. The purpose of the National Book Development
Trust Fund is not to produce romance novels and novelettes but also books on
various genres e.g. scientific and technical books, translations of classic works into
the local languages or in subject areas wherein local books are either few or non-
existent. We need books that will play a key role in our national development.

Fourth, is the huge disparity in book titles and the volume of books of foreign
books compared to Filipiniana or locally authored books. The foreign to local
book ratio at the Main Library of UP Diliman and the National Library is an eye-
opener. Ms. Valdez estimates that of the 1,020,295 volume of books the UP Main
Library has, around 95,340 – 100,000 books are locally-authored. The same is
true with our local public libraries. Our libraries have very few locally authored
books compared with imported books. The 2002 Book Distribution to Public
Libraries shows that in terms of titles, our libraries have an average of only nine-
two (92) locally-authored books and four hundred four (404) foreign books.
However, in comparison to the volume of books per title in our local libraries, we
have more locally authored books than foreign ones. According to the National
Library, the 2002 Distribution of Local Books showed all public libraries having a
total of 30,118 Filipiniana books and only 7,061 foreign ones or .81% local
and.19% foreign-authored books. In 2002, the US exported to the Philippines
$15.3M worth of books and L3.4M from the UK. In 2001, the US exported
$19.0M worth of books and L1.9M from the UK. According to a 2002 Report, the
volume of book exports from the US to the Philippines is greater than Belgium
and France. (See Table 5 for details)

Fifth, the kinds of books we produce do not meet the needs of our reading
population. The kinds of books we produce may not meet the needs of our schools
at all levels. Consider these facts. In 1999, the Philippines produced 63 titles
under General Category, 15 in Philosophy, 41 in Religion, 79 in Language, 53 in
Science, 79 in Arts and 75 in History. In that same year we produce 117 books in
Applied Science, 227 titles in Literature and 631 titles categorized under Social
Science. Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand produced titles by the hundreds and
thousands. (For more details, see Table 4).

Sixth, there is a need to develop and promote a book reading culture among
Filipinos, especially books written in local languages. A 2003 SWS survey
commissioned by the NBDB showed that adult readership of non-schoolbooks
tends to be higher among the following: those with high levels of education, who
attended private rather than public schools, from higher socio-economic levels,
with higher personal monthly income, from the urban rather than the rural areas,
younger in age, not married, have libraries in their homes and offices, live near
bookstores and public libraries and with social networks who also like to read. In
the same study, it found out that fifty-seven (57%) of Filipino adults prefer to read
non-school books in Tagalog, 30% prefer English and 13% prefer Cebuano.

Positive Outcomes

With a Trust Fund for book authors and writers, the ratio of foreign and locally
authored books may surely change. For sure, sixty-five (65) grants annually will
not be enough. This can be selected through an annual manuscript competition
where selected winners can get published and at the same be given a grant to write
more manuscripts on various subject areas for future publication.

With a trust fund, the National Government can help produce books that help
develop a generation of students who take pride in their rich cultural heritage. Ms.
Marilou Nicolas, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of the
Philippines commented that “if Filipinos knew of their pre-colonial roots and its
linkages to their Asean countries, they would better appreciate their ethnic past
and take pride in their cultural heritage…Ethnicity, after all, is the heart and soul
of national identity.” The National Book Development Trust Fund can facilitate in
producing a set of history books that every Filipino school child should read such
as books on local knowledge and histories and take pride in their heritage.

With the enactment into law of the National Book Development Trust Fund, the
following positive outcomes of book development can be realized. With more
locally-authored books, establishing retail outlets in every barangay or
municipality will materialize. Even state universities and community colleges as
well as elementary and secondary schools can have retail outlets via a
collaborative arrangement with publishers. The output could be campus-based
book sales outlets. The NBDB can set up the mechanics and a committee
composed of various book publishers and suppliers or just the LIBRO franchise to
realize this goal.

The enactment into law of the National Book Development Trust Fund can pave
the way for the establishment of linkages between NBDB and state colleges and
universities, higher education institutions in offering library services or diploma or
graduate courses in book publishing to develop the human resource of the
industry, improve the library system and develop the distribution systems at the
local levels. This can be realized with the following possible scenarios. These are:

• Development of courses on book publishing in selected state colleges and

universities in the regions especially those currently offering degrees in
education, psychology and mass communications. NBDB can create a pool of
experts on book publishing and management or book editing and publishing,
prepare course outlines for all major subjects and submit these to selected
schools beginning with UP Diliman, UP Visayas and UP Mindanao. Or if this
will take decades to realize, offer the concept to schools like Ateneo and De la
Salle. These private schools have regional branches also.

• Establish linkages with universities particularly at the regional level to help

develop manuscripts that will have local character and reflective of the
experience of the population of a regional unit and in the training and
development of students and authors with literary inclination and potential.

• With over 382 public higher education institutions including 98 state colleges,
book development will have a better future. NBDB can stress its crucial role
in book development considering that the Philippine Association of State
Colleges and Universities has already initiated a book writing project
beginning with 6 titles. NBDB can assist them in facilitating technical support
from the mainline publishers in the areas like editing, proof-reading, lay-out
and design, even printing even at the expense of NBDB as our contribution to
this project.

NBDB Mandate

Creating a National Book Development Trust fund is consistent with the

provisions stated in the National Book Policy which was approved on 4 July 1999.
The National Book Policy states “the State shall create the best condition for the
promotion of Filipino authorship and other creative activities in book development
(General policy #1). In terms of Implementing Policies (1.1-1.6), the National
Book Policy provides for the following:

a. Develop new writers/authors and/or upgrade skills of writers/authors

through collaborative arrangement among the NBDB, DECS, CHED and
other appropriate institutions, stakeholders in the book publishing industry
with preferential attention to subject areas wherein there is scarcity or no
locally-authored publications;
b. Encourage and support Book Development on Philippine literature,
heritage, the creative arts, etc.
c. Encourage the publications of books in English and local languages
consistent with the bilingual policy of the State;
d. Promote Filipino authorship of scientific and technical books; encourage
the translation of foreign-authored books to local languages;
e. Establish a registration system and database of local and foreign
manuscripts to assist authors and independent editors and publishers,
encourage indigenous authorship, and promote book development in the
regions and provinces;
f. Institutionalize linkages with universities at the regional level for the
purpose of training and assisting students and authors in developing
manuscripts that will have a local character and be reflective of the
experience of the local population;
g. Formulate mechanisms to ensure that the intellectual properties of authors
and publishers are adequately protected through collective reprography
licensing and other schemes;
h. Give incentives to outstanding contributors to book development in the
form of awards, prizes, etc.;
i. Establish a book development fund for authors and other personnel in the
book publishing industry; and
j. Encourage the formation of associations of authors to effectively protect
their interest and spur the growth of literary creations.


Center for Policy and Administrative Development. A Policy Study Towards the
Development of a National Book Policy for the National Book
Development Board. University of the Philippines. October 1997.

Department of Trade and Industry. “UK Exports of Books Etc.” Dept. of Trade
and Industry Analysis of Data from HM Customs and Excise.
http://www. /infoexch/publishing/books2000_2001.xls
Jambora, Anne A. “School Kids Take Pride in Pinoy History.” Philippine Daily
Inquirer. 19 October 2003. p. E-1.

Mancebo, Samuel T. and Santillana, Carolina P. “Frameworks Strategies in

Instructional Materials Development.” “Proceedings of the National
Seminar-Workshop on Instructional Materials Development and Book
Writing and Publication.
26-28 February 2002, Bayview Park Hotel, Manila.

Milliot, Jim. “Book Exports Dropped 1.8% in 2002 to $1.68B.” Publisher’s

Weekly. . .

National Book Policy.

Pada, Frederick So. “Goals and Objectives of the National Seminar-Workshop on

Instructional Materials Development and Book Writing and Publication.”
“Proceedings of the National Seminar-Workshop on Instructional
Materials Development and Book Writing and Publication. 26-28
February 2002, Bayview Park Hotel, Manila.

Social Weather Stations. A National Study on Filipinos’ Book Readership,

Reading Attitudes and Reading Preferences. Unpublished Manuscript.

Wresch, William. “E-Commerce Innovations in the Book Publishing Industry:

Opportunities for the Developing World.

UNESCO Institute of Statistics. UNESCO Statistical Yearbook 1997.

UNESCO Institute of Statistics. Book Production : No. of Titles by UDC

Telephone Interviews Conducted

1. Mr. Domenden, Division Chief, Public Libraries Division

10:00 A.M. 21 October 2003
2. Ms. Juliet Gako, Asst. Purchasing Manager, National Book Store, Main Office
10:30 A.M. 21 October 2003
3. Ms. Valdez. Main Library. UP Diliman
2:00 P.M. 21 October 2003

2001 % 2002 %
FOREIGN 352 91.1% 414 82%
FILIPINIANA 34 8.9% 92 18%
TOTAL 386 506 100%

Table 1. Percentage Distribution of Local & Foreign-authored Books

in Public Libraries in terms of Titles. (Source: The National Library)

2001 % 2002 %
FOREIGN 12,226 52% 7,061 19%
FILIPINIANA 11,300 48% 30,118 81%
TOTAL 23,526 37,179 100%

Table 2. Percentage Distribution of Local & foreign authored Books

in Public Libraries in terms of volume. (Source: The National Library)

COUNTRY 1992 1993 1997 1998 1999

Korea 19,938 30,242 27,313 30,487 36,425
Japan 33,316 48,053 56,221 65,438 65,513
India 10,069 11,884 12,006 14,085
Thailand 6,229 7,378 8,142 12,000
Indonesia 4,771 6,303 1,902 537 121
Iran 3,756 4,259 10,410 12,020 14,783
Malaysia 2,778 3,659 5,843 5,816 5,084
Sri Lanka 1,650 2,396 4,115 2,822 4,655
Philippines 217 617 546 958 1,380

Table 3. Book Production. First Edition Book Titles Published and Printed
(Source: UNESCO and IPA 2003)

COUNTRY Gen Philo Religion Social Lang Science Appld Arts Lit History
Sci Sci
Korea ‘96 303 678 1608 3201 1384 359 3513 6543 4164 716
Japan ‘96 1149 1791 1078 12770 1402 1363 12155 10046 11924 2543
India ‘98 406 408 1150 3350 275 570 760 573 5294 1299
Thailand ‘97 464 202 275 2456 259 617 2371 407 644 447
Indonesia ‘98 13 9 17 117 12 145 69 72 5 78
Iran ‘99 612 706 4504 1319 1486 1844 2426 733 247 906
Malaysia ‘99 157 59 547 1058 662 526 614 222 998 241
Sri Lanka ‘ 99 426 368 533 1384 169 68 347 103 1110 147
Philippines ‘99 63 15 41 631 79 53 117 79 227 75
Table 4. Number of Titles Produced per Subject Area
(Source: UNESCO and IPA 2003)
Top US Book Export Markets 2001–2002
In the World ($ in millions) 2001 2002 % Change
Canada $727.7 $742.6 2.1%
United Kingdom 250.0 270.6 8.2
Japan 129.3 100.8 -22.0
Australia 66.0 70.8 7.3
Mexico 63.8 64.9 1.8
Singapore 49.0 49.6 1.2
Hong Kong 29.4 31.6 7.3
South Korea 35.5 29.1 -17.9
Germany 34.0 29.1 -14.5
Taiwan 28.9 24.7 -14.6
The Netherlands 35.2 22.9 -34.9
India 16.0 19.5 22.0
Philippines 19.0 15.3 -19.2
Belgium 11.5 12.8 11.8
France 10.5 12.4 17.3
Total, Top 15 $1,505.8 $1,496.7 -0.6%
Worldwide Total 1,712.3 1,681.2 -1.8
Source: U.S. Commerce Department
Table 5. Top US Book Export Markets in the World

Top UK Book Export Markets 2001–2002

in Asia (L in millions) 2000 2001 % Change
Country (Rank)
1. Japan (8) 42.2 39.2 -7.2
2. Singapore (12) 26.3 28.4 7.9
3. Hongkong (18) 18.6 15.3 -17.7
4. India (21) 13.1 13.0 -1.1
5. South Korea (27) 5.6 8.5 50.1
6. Taiwan (29) 8.7 8.3 -4.8
7. Malaysia (33) 3.8 6.8 78.0
8. China (38) 4.7 5.6 19.2
9. Thailand (41) 3.3 4.3 30.3
10. Philippines (45) 1.9 3.4 74.6
11. Sri Lanka (74) 1.4 1.1 -18.0
12. Indonesia (95) 0.3 0.5 35.4
13. Bangladesh (101) 0.3 0.4 35.9
14. Vietnam (110) 0.2 0.3 59.4
Source: Department of Trade & Industry analysis
of data from HM Customs & Excise
DTI Strategy Unit (formerly Statistics Directorate)
Table 6. Top UK Book Export Markets in Asia