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|Founded||Manila, Philippines (1930s)|
|Socorro Cancio-Ramos (Chairman)|
Number of employees
Metrobooks (Hong Kong)
The history of National Book Store can be traced back to the 1930s. Before the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II, José Ramos and Socorro Cáncio-Ramos, rented a small-corner space of a Haberdashery situated at the foot of Escolta Bridge in Santa Cruz, Manila. With a starting capital of ₱211 (equivalent to ₱15,047 in 2015), the Ramoses set up their first retail bookstore selling GI novels, text books and supplies. During World War II, the store shifted to selling sold candies, soap, and slippers due to stringent book censorship. The store experienced success but was burned down during the 1945 Battle of Manila, rebuilt again and reverted to selling textbooks and stationery, the opening of the rebuilt National Book Store at the corner of Soler Street and Avenida Rizal, coincided with the first academic schoolyear after the war. In 1948, the store was destroyed by a Typhoon Gene but a new two storey building with a mezzanine was built to host National Book Store.
National Book Store began selling greeting cards in the 1950s depicting Philippine subjects to showcase local culture and traditions. The book store also launched a publishing program with international publishers such as McGraw-Hill, Prentice Hal, Lippincott, Addison-Wesley. In 1955, the Ramoses were able to acquire a lot owned by the Guerrero family, where they erected the nine-storey Albercer Building in 1963 which was named after Alfredo, Benjamin, and Cecilia, where a National Book Store was hosted.
National Book Store accumulated enough capital after some several years to acquire rights to reprint foreign brand greeting cards for the Philippine market. The book store had rights to reprint cards by Gibson for a few years. In 1973, outbid a more established competitor for a Philippine franchise of the greeting card brand, Hallmark.
The Ramoses children proposed expanding the scope of national bookstore, and a branch along Recto Avenue was opened, an area often frequented by students. In the 1970s, branches were opened in shopping malls in Makati and Cubao, Quezon City. For the next decades since the opening of the Recto branch, the book store grew with shopping mall owners approaching the Ramoses to set up a store inside their properties. The National Bookstore became one of the top 100 Philippine corporations in 1988, registering profits of $1 million on gross revenues of $34.7 million. The book store chain also became one of the Top 500 of the list by Retail Asia-Pacific, ranking 308th in 2004.
In 2015, National Book store captures the majority of the Philippine book market having a share amounting to 80 percent, and operates around 127 branches across the Philippines. It also operates Metrobooks, which opened in Hong Kong in 2007, a subsidiary based in the former British crown colony.
With the pending entry of National Book Store into the Philippine Stock Exchange through the renaming of Vulcan Industrial & Mining Corp., another Ramos-owned company, into National Book Store Retail Corp. they would now also venture into wholesale, publishing, printing, manufacturing, and distribution.
In 2017. The National Book Store celebrated its 75th year, which commemorates its establishment since 1942.
The brand name of National Book Store was thought by Socorro Ramos, one of the co-founders. No marketing research was conducted and was done on Ramos' impulse taking the book store name from the National Cash Register machine, a brand which was popular at the time of the book store's founding.
For fifty years from the book store's establishment, the logo designed by Ramos herself was used which consists of the name of the store in a white background on a surrounded by a red and white stripe design. Ramos first came up with a logo by placing the store's name in a striped wrapper with her children finding the logo satisfactory.
A new logo was adopted in 1996 following a proposal from Ramos' children and grandchildren which features the store's name in a more modern font in a red background. In a voting made within the company, 15 voted for adopting the new logo with only Ramos herself voting against the change. The new logo design was a commissioned work by a Singapore-based company which also came up with a new store lay-out design.
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