Book publishing needs big govt push – NBDB

ALL ABOUT BOOKS National Book Development Board Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade is interviewed by Manila Times Chairman and CEO Dante Francis 'Klink' Ang 2nd in SMNI's 'Business and Politics', out Saturday, September 24 aired in 2022.  PHOTO BY JOHN GERARD SEGUIA

ALL ABOUT BOOKS National Book Development Board Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade is interviewed by Manila Times Chairman and CEO Dante Francis ‘Klink’ Ang 2nd in SMNI’s ‘Business and Politics’, out Saturday, September 24 aired in 2022. PHOTO BY JOHN GERARD SEGUIA

The National Book Development Board (NBDB) called on the government to increase its support for the book publishing industry to improve literacy, particularly among youth, by making more books available to them.

In an interview on SMNI’s “Business and Politics,” moderated by Manila Times Chairman and CEO Dante “Klink” Ang 2nd, NBDB Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade said that providing publishers with subsidies and rebates es enabled them to sell more books and e-commerce platforms.

Scores of bookstores have closed temporarily or permanently during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and the industry is poised to make a comeback.

Aquino-Tugade said the NBDB had the highest number of grants and incentives for creators and publishers last year.

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Book publishing also increased significantly, although she said they still “need to have the budget for us to take care of our private publishers.”

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Having government, particularly the Department of Education (DepEd), as an institutional buyer of locally published books will ensure the sustainability of the creative industries and democratize book procurement through the NBDB’s National Book Database, she said.

“We are invited to meetings and have consulted with DepEd specifically on projects such as the complementary learning resources. They have a list of books that they can make available to libraries and DepEd affiliated entities that can be purchased and when [our research unit at NBDB] When we disassembled the books we found that many of the books were from abroad – which was fine – but we had a discussion with DepEd and realized that we have good quality books. It’s just about connecting DepEd to publishers,” she said.

Aquino-Tugade reiterated that books, as products of knowledge, could yield economic outcomes because their content could be translated into different languages ​​and adapted into films, shows, and theater, and commodities produced from them.

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Another major NBDB project is the establishment of Book Nooks, which promote a culture of reading among youth and their families.

Book Nooks have been set up from Ifugao to Tawi-Tawi where 1,500 books by Filipino authors and in local languages ​​as well as foreign books are available.

“In many areas, especially Mindanao, there have been reports that the literacy rate is not as high as in other areas of the Philippines. We go to these areas because some children are at risk and we want to be able to address that early on,” Aquino-Tugade said.

She said Book Nooks complement libraries and encourage children to borrow books and do community service instead of paying fees for the books.

NBDB has partnered with various communities to organize a reading and storytelling space and spent six months training community members to sustainably manage Book Nooks for the more than 5 million Filipinos.

Aquino-Tugade said the Book Nooks also give publishers a chance to get their books nationally recognized.

The board also wants to strengthen the book publishing industry through the Book Institute of the Philippines, an educational workshop that trains individuals in publishing techniques.

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“There is no such course in the Philippines. If we like quality, if we expect quality, we need to be able to train everyone on qualities like paper quality, book design and editing,” Aquino-Tugade said.

Setting standards that people and government agencies can follow will attract private business and encourage people to buy quality books, she said.

Because books vary in format, the NBDB supports changes to the Book Publishing Industry Development Act to redefine what a book and its digitized iterations are.

“Besides defining the books, so do we [support] Strengthening our role in book procurement through government organizations like DepEd and the Department of Commerce and Industry (DTI),” said Aquino-Tugade.

The NBDB is expected to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair to showcase what the Philippines has to offer in terms of culture and literature to foreign publishers.

Creatives and publishers are also invited to register with the board for grants, incentives and training opportunities, and the public is encouraged to follow them on their social media sites for updates on their various and upcoming projects.

Ang is the NBDB chairman.

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