Is Philippines ready for e-Book readers?

E-book readers have been in existence for three years already but one might want to ask why it’s not yet made easily available in the Philippines? I know we are a nation who loves to read. Why won’t our consumer electronics shops carry e-Book readers? Sony has a presence here but why won’t they bring the Sony Reader on our shores?


I would understand if a year or two ago that there’s not just a demand for it here in the Philippines. With prices ranging from Php10k and up, I would rather buy books from various Book Sale stores. Or stick with my dependable iPod Touch. Or maybe transition to the iPad which has a bigger screen. It seems that Filipinos are warming up to the iPad more than the traditional e-book readers.

The beauty with e-Book readers is that it’s very simple and does what it’s made for really well, which is obviously for reading. You don’t want to surf the net or watch YouTube or listen to mp3’s on it, you just want to use it to read books. With the E-ink display, you can read to your heart’s content without bothering to recharge its battery for days unlike the iPod Touch or the iPad or other devices with traditional LCDs.

Right now, their are e-readers going for less than $150 which I think would cater to us thrifty Filipinos. It won’t be a really huge market but it’s still going to be substantial nevertheless. I’m one of those people who don’t want to deal with disposing books that are gathering dust in my room and would rather prefer buying my books in digital format online. And I’m sure there are quite a number of people like me as well.

I would prefer e-Readers that are not tied up to telcos. A simple one with wifi will do as long as it can read all the usual e-book file formats.

Are you gunning for an e-Reader yourself? Do you think we, Pinoys are ready for it?

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  • Deathrille

    I’ve been using/reading ebooks for about a year now. It’s awesome. I’m from the Phils. btw. Anyway, ebooks are awesome. They’re convinient. I’m using my nokia 7610 and Mobireader. It’s really easy to use.

    • would you consider purchasing a separate e-reader just for your e-books? or are you satisfied with your mobile phone already? how much would you pay for a decent e-reader?

      • novel addict

        about 5000 pesos is my limit for a gadget that just reads ebooks

  • Driller

    Been reading ebooks for a long while. First on my Palms, then on the PSP, and now on the iPad. never had a dedicated eBook reader, as they haven’t sold those in Manila yet. can’t beat the iPad for reading ebooks, I must say…

    • is it too tiresome to be reading on the ipad? i mean for your wrist or hand since the ipad is not that light for continuous handling. well i suppose you can lay it on the bed or table or on your lap once in a while.

      • If I were to read on a device as heavy as the iPad — it *is* after all quite a bit heavier than an e-reader — I’d pause every now and then anyway. Maybe long before my wrist or hand tires. May do the same with an e-reader.

    • Marie

      The latest Kindle is light, easy on the eyes, has 3g coverage worldwide and it doesnt get hot which is a must for reading books 🙂

  • kyx

    I’ve been using a kindle2 for law school and for my leisure readings (like i have the time for it). It’s very useful and well, it has saved me a couple of times.

    • nice. how did you load your textbooks? bought it from amazon?

    • anon

      how’d you get kindle?

  • E-readers IMHO would make a whole lot of sense especially for heavy readers but it has to be at a certain price point. JV Rufino of the Philippine Daily Inquirer pegs the price at P5,000. I’m a little lazy to do the arithmetic, but if you buy dead-tree books at an average of P500 each, and the electronic equivalent is P250, you’ll have realized savings at somewhere near the 200 book mark (I think — doing this mentally so I could be way off).

    Question: Who are the heaviest book readers?

    Answer: Students. GS and HS students could have 10-15 books a year. From Grade 1 to 4th year HS therefore, that’s up to 150 books (assuming the 10-year education cycle). Still short of the 200-book mark at which the price of an e-reader + e-books is cheaper than paper books. Especially considering that textbooks are probably less than P500.

    However…The DepEd can probably procure e-readers and e-books for all public school elementary and HS students at a substantial discount. E-reader vendors should be happy, because they clear a large chunk of their inventory. Textbook suppliers will also be happy because they will realize lower production costs — once the content is in, e-books cost next to nothing compared to paper books. Furthermore, they can sell the students other books apart from the standard DepEd-supplied e-textbooks.

    More details on this on my blog — as I write this, it’s the latest entry.

    • thank you for your thoughts. one benefit of e-reader for students is that you don’t have to be carrying loads of textbooks since you can load everything onto it. for me i think the 5k mark is also the sweet spot for a basic e-reader..6″ or 7″ screen will do.

  • u may consider me ebook addict, mostly my ebook are downloaded. If u ask me if its practical to have a separate ebook reader? i might say NO, specially we filipinos are also gadget addict, meaning we enjoy it but we also olook for its other use, in my case since ebook file type are not in standard format definitely their is problm in compatibility over file type. Like .lit .prc .mobi and now kindle file.

    For me it i can read ebook to my cellphone, ebook reader it not required.

    • parang ang hirap naman magbasa ng ebook sa cellphone. unless kasing laki or mas malaki pa sa iphone yung screen. 😛

    • Michelle

      I'm reading ebooks for more than 2 years now and I find it hard to read using my mobile phone because you need to charge it every now and then, unlike ereaders it's battery life last for a month and its not good for the eye sight because of the radiation

  • Akina

    Your statement that a Philippines is a nation that loves to read made me slightly snort in disbelief. In my little corner of the 7,000+ islands, I can count on one hand the people who really, really likes to read and actually do so regularly than just reading for school, or reading once in a while (especially if there’s some sort of hype like Twilight).

    Well, ranting aside, I think the ebook wouldn’t be as popular as others might think. After all, who would spend on a gadget that while yes, it could save space and save more in the long run compared to buying books, costs about 5,000 pesos? People could’ve saved that money for a new phone or laptop instead (or more books), which would be the more preferred choice.

    And besides, people don’t usually buy books if they can read it in the store if it’s out of its plastic cover. XD

    As for me, I would love to buy an e-reader instead of a new box for my growing number of books and finding a space to place it in, but if I knew I would probably toss it away like our PSP at home (which is currently gathering dust), I’d stick with the paper backs or read them from my laptop.

    • awww… i always thought we’re one of the privileged countries in asia that has easy access to books. anyway, same with you i have a psp that’s also been gathering dust for almost a year already but i don’t think i would do that on an e-reader. my ipod touch’s sole purpose is for me to read books wherever i go and have to wait like in a hospital, airport, etc. you see a lot of people bringing their psp at the mall while waiting for the moms go shopping. i’m wondering if that would also be the case with e-readers.

      • Lady Lou

        Since I love to read so i would like to have an ebook reader. I dont care for another function as long as it can also read a audio book. I always want to have an ebook reader in the philippines.

  • ferdi

    Frankly, i don’t need one. I prefer to use what i already have – a laptop, netbook & desktop, to read e-books as well as the multitude of e-publications that are available and in a better format (ie. PDF, Flash). Besides, e-books in it’s current form, are nothing compared to print – books that have pictures, illustrations, foldouts. With proper care, printed books last a long time, and does not require electronics & power to read anywhere and enjoy.

    • Pixelbuff

      I agree. PDF is not ideal for dedicated e-readers. but books in epub format (retail quality not the converted ones) bring out the advantages of e-reading over reading physical books: portability, built-in dictionary look-up, ability to share quotations and ability to read with the lights in your room off. I’m a voracious reader. What I truly appreciate about e-readers is that they allow me to carry hundreds if not thousands of books in a small package oftentimes lighter than an average physical book.

  • Redi

    5000 pesos? mahal ata for an ereader.
    mga 3k siguro for E-ink display.
    and i love to watch movies too so i need a reader that can also play videos. for this type 5k and higher pwede pa.
    ngaun ko lang nalaman pwede pala sa PSP.

  • M

    i have an ipad…it gets tiring to read on it. my son has a kobo and loves it…he can’t part with it. i’ve also read on the kobo and its much better on the eyes. the dedicated ebook reader is meant to be lightweight and with e-ink…much better on the wrist and eyes. my ipad gets quite heavy and the display is tiring on the eyes even with the night light reading that the apps such as kobo, kindle provide. i’m filipino but not from the philippines…was on here because wanted to buy some family members in phils some ereader devices…was wondering if its taken off yet.

  • Malot

    Kabibili ko lang ng ebook reader. Generic sya pero it has decent features na kelangan ko lang talaga as an e-reader. Nabili ko sya ng 3,500PHP +200PHP shipping fee. So, less than 4k ang nagastos ko. I decided to buy one kasi napaka gastos kung printed books ang bibilhin ko and nasa average ako ng 4 books per month ang pagbili ko. Hindi sya touchscreen kasi una ayaw ko at mas comfortable ako na nahahawakan yung screen na hindi malilipat ang page or mag zoom accidentally. I still buy printed books pero mas naging matipid ako and alam naman nating lahat ang estado ng buhay dito sa Pinas. I’m glad na nakabili na rin ako ng e-reader dahil mas marami pa akong librong nababasa ngayon. At hindi hassle sa bag ko kasi magaan lang.

    • yui

      ano pong ereader yan? and san n’yo nabili? gusto ko din bumili kaso di pa ko makapagdecide kung anong bibilhin ko since hindi ako familiar sa ereaders. phone lang ang gamit ko sa pagbabasa ng ebooks and .txt file lang ang binabasa so hassle kasi kailangan ko pang iconvert eh puro pdf ang ebooks ko. any suggestions po ng magandang ereader? di naman kailangan super sosyal, basta may memory card slot. 🙂

  • ian

    san nakaka avail ng ebooks? need kc sa school namin. reply asap

  • Michelle

    I'm reading ebooks for more than 2 years now and I find it hard to read using my mobile phone because you need to charge it every now and then, unlike ereaders it's battery life last for a month and its not good for the eye sight because of the radiation

  • It would be nice if schools at least would switch to ereaders. It will lessen the load of the students’ bags. I’ve been reading ebooks on my computer and cellphone and it’s been a breeze. Couldn’t go back to reading physical books. Its easy to keep notes, back it up on the cloud, download ebooks, look up information, share quotes. etc.

  • Pixelbuff

    I have iPad but I use my Kobo Glo for extended reading (ex. novels in epub format) especially at night. The screens of tablets are not ideal for extended reading. The blue light coming from the screen strains the eyes, if not to harm them in the long run. The use of E-ink and the soft light that characterizes dedicated e-readers are soothing to the eyes. The portability and the ability to hold your library’s entire collection, if no more, make dedicated e-readers the next best thing to reading a physical book if not better. I can’t wait for Kobo Glo HD to come out in the local market. Right now, e-readers are not as popular as tablets because most bookworms in the country can’t part with their physical books and those who spend a dime on tablets use them not mainly for reading.