In late 2010, a few Filipino writers and book bloggers decided to organize an event that would celebrate and provide support for the growing communities of Filipino readers. This was the seed for the Filipino Reader Conference, and by September 14, 2011, the first Filipino ReaderCon, entitled “Filipino Readers Make it Social,” was held during the Manila International Book Fair.
That first ReaderCon ran for just one afternoon, in a room filled to the brim with 70 people.The audience was composed of book club members, book bloggers, teachers, a few writers and publishing professionals, as well as some walk-ins. There was a plenary talk about the value of readers and two main panels: one featuring the different active Filipino book clubs and another on the whys and hows of book blogging. There were also online events prior to and during the actual event, via the Filipino Friday blog posts and live tweets during the event.
Based on the success of that first ReaderCon, the group decided to push through with a second, bigger ReaderCon. Filipino ReaderCon 2012, with the theme “United We Read” was held at the Filipinas Heritage Library in August 2012. There were a total of 173 participants, exceeding the 150 target, who participated in panel discussions on reading programs, publishers’ perspectives on readers, authors as readers, as well as book discussions sponsored by four different book clubs. Last year also marked the institution of the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards, whose awarding ceremony was held at the last part of the Filipino ReaderCon. Even the online activities expanded to include The Great Book Swap and culminated in the #fillreadercon becoming a trending topic on Twitter for that day.
In 2013, during the third Filipino ReaderCon, we added the Book Recommendation Fair, and participation for that year grew to 300 attendees. In 2014, the Filipino ReaderCon became part of the Philippine International Literary Festival by taking charge of the third day programme, which was dedicated to readers.
Feedback from participants of both ReaderCons has always been positive and enthusiastic. We see this as a desire of Filipino readers and reading communities to be recognized as a growing sector in the country. Regardless of what the national surveys and studies say, we know that there are many Filipino readers and by celebrating them, we would like to influence the growth of those numbers.
Now on its 5th year, the Filipino ReaderCon continues in its desire to achieve our long-term goal of pushing the reading culture in the country.We hope, dear reader, you can come join us in our celebration of Filipino readers.