While checking for books by John Stott online, I stumble upon this online Pinoy Christian bookstore available on Sulit.com.ph. It offers 2nd hand books on Stott in a very cheap price so I tried it and the service was superb. And I hope you’ll check them also. In the mean time we had a chat with Arthur De Jager, owner of H.O.P.E. Bookshop to tell us more about their store, reading and selling online:
Delighting Grace: Tell us how H.O.P.E. Bookshop started?
Arthur: It started with a need. On Palawan it was hard to get Christian items like music, movies and books. To strengthen Christians in there walk with the LORD we started a Christian store… first with music and movies. Later we started selling books…
Delighting Grace: Your physical shop is in Palawan. So how’s the Christian scene over the place? How do Christians over there receive your store?
Arthur: There seems to be a lot of Christians in Palawan but unfortunately not many like to read. Another problem is that most people are not so familiar with English and only speak Tagalog. So in the beginning we had to switch from offering only English items to offering more Tagalog books, music and movies.
Our biggest sales are not through walk in customers but rather through selling on the internet. We discovered that there are many Christians who would like to buy Christian items but are not able to.
Delighting Grace: Now you have this online store over Sulit.com.ph. In what way did it change your store?
Arthur: When we started with this store we went online to increase our sales, but today we are switching more and more to the Philippines market and want to become the Christian online store for the Philippines. We are still learners and still in the beginning phase.
Delighting Grace: Any advice to Christians who wants to put up an online store?
Arthur: An online store sounds good and easy but in reality it is that there are a lot of competitions and you need a lot of work. We have to work hard and keep giving our customers fast shipping and meet every day deadline for shipping items. Also promoting the shop online takes a lot of work. It is not enough to just put yourself on Sulit. We also have to spend a lot of time to keep items up to date online.
Delighting Grace: What’s so unique about your shop is the second hand Christian books. Tell us how your shop got an idea of having this feature and what are customers’ responses to your vintage books?
Arthur: It started because personally I often look for certain books but didn’t find them in the Philippines; however, we noticed that many of these books we were looking for are in the US. So we set up a way to ship books from the US to the Philippines. In the hope to fulfill a need for Christians in the Philippines. We want to be the biggest used book supplier in the Philippines together with reasonable prices.
We have good responses from our customers. Most of them have been looking for a certain book and couldn’t find it but through our shop they found what they were looking for.
Delighting Grace: How would you encourage Christians to pick up a book and read?
Arthur: For me reading Christian books is very important. Reading about other Christians and their experiences and things God taught them… I can learn so much from other Christians and at the same time it encourages me in my walk with the LORD. We all face many problems and trials in our life. If we don’t have a good walk with the LORD it can cause many stumbling blocks in our life.
Therefore, learn from others and maybe just start reading books that speaks to you. If a person has problems find books about that problem and learn from other Christians. Start reading one chapter at a time… before you know it, you have read a whole book… it is not how much you read. You can read millions of books but if it doesn’t sink into the heart it is only head knowledge. Better to read one book and be changed by it…
Delighting Grace: Invite our readers of the blog to go check your shop online and offline. What can HOPE Bookshop offer to them?
Arthur: We would recommend people to text us if they are looking for certain books. We haven’t been able to put all books online yet. We have lots of books and get regular new stock… so when we have new arrivals it will take a while before we have it online.. also we try to keep prices as cheap as possible.
Next to this if people buy their new books through us we will offer 10% off their purchase.
Delighting Grace: How about your customers? Anything you would like to say?
Arthur: Thank you so much for buying your books at our store. Without our customers we would not able to offer this service. It is the faithful customers who make it possible to develop a Christian online store that will keep offering more and more items with good prices….
Delighting Grace: Guys you’ll surely love them. Search them over Sulit.com.ph or their website. I recommend the used books which you can find great authors like the John Stott books I purchased. Happy reading and God bless you!
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