Stop The Hate || #SarahJMaasinPH News Outrage

Do you know how heartbreaking it is to have just spread the love for the book community for an entire weekend only to have so much hate go around the very next day? Well, I do.

I got home yesterday and heard the saddest news. The official mechanics for Sarah J. Maas’ first ever book signing in the Philippines has been announced.

Sarah J Maas Book Signing Philippines 2016

Official Announcement from National Book Store

#SarahJMaasinPH Book Signing Mechanics:

1. Registration will start at 10:00 a.m. First come, first served.

2. The book signing will be limited to 350 signing slots.

3. Each participant is allowed to have a maximum of three (3) books to be signed (1 personalized and 2 with signatures only). The books must be presented upon registration. Only copies of Sarah J. Maas books bought at any National Book Store, NBS Express, and Powerbooks branches will be allowed. The book must have its official receipt or price tag.

4. A participant can register only once. Each participant will be given the following:
• Numbered Signing Pass
• Stamp mark on the hand to indicate your registration

5. A posed photo with the author is strictly not allowed. However, you can still take a photo while the author is signing.

The bold text are the rules that made me really sad. This was NOT how I envisioned the signing. In my daydreams of the moment I meet Sarah J. Maas, aka one of the most amazing fantasy YA authors EVER, she’ll sign my books, all six of them, with things like “Rhysand is yours” or “Rowan loves you,” and we’ll take a selfie that I can post on my Instagram and treasure forever. So yeah, my heart is in pieces here. But there’s a song I know, and it goes, you can’t always get what you want. 

My pain aside, this was NOT the most heartbreaking thing I saw on my feed. Rather, it was the hate and backlash that one of my most favourite bookstores received for hosting this event and carrying out mechanics that they had absolutely no control over.


“National Bull Shit!”


“How inconsiderate!”

I’m not gonna lie, I was angry when I saw these hateful responses directed to National Book Store. Like really angry. But I’ve now calmed down enough to see where this hate is coming from. It comes from a certain feeling of hopelessness- the fear of never meeting your favourite author just when she finally decided to do a book tour in your country, the fear of not being able to appreciate the moment you do actually meet your favourite author because you weren’t able to capture it. And you know what? I get it.

We are people. We are allowed to hurt. But please don’t tear down someone else because you’re hurting.

If you’re still hurt and angry about the news, please think of these rules in the following perspective. We’re all readers and book lovers here, right? If there’s one thing we get, it’s learning to understand POVs.

From National Book Store’s POV:

  • They WANT to make us happy. Why else would they bother to work so hard to bring Sarah here? Even though they obviously are a business and they do profit from such an event, they also have the urge to satisfy the hearts of bookish Filipinos who are dying to meet their beloved writer-heroes. And they’ve done it again and again.
  • But even they don’t get what they want. They’re the host of the event, but they don’t set the rules. Sarah and her publisher, Bloomsbury, do. I’m sure if it were up to NBS, they’d love to have Sarah do more than just one signing and accommodate as many books as possible.
  • If we’re talking about marketing strategies, having lots of selfies posted on social media about how amazing Sarah’s book signing was would be a great one for NBS. So I don’t think they’re the one who decided this at all.
  • For other signings, NBS always posted the mechanics right away. This time around they didn’t post immediately. Did anyone just stop to think that maybe they didn’t know what the rules were gonna be at the time they made the announcement? But they HAD to announce that they were hosting since Sarah’s publisher announced the Asia tour. They did however explicitly tell us that they’ll announce the mechanics when they can. People just assumed that all six books can be signed. I don’t think that’s a deception on NBS’ part.

From Bloomsbury’s POV:

  • Sarah is their author. They want to make sure she has the best time, but they also need to take care of her. Sarah is doing a tour not just in the Philippines but also all over Asia. They need her to be in great shape so each event can be a success.

From Sarah’s POV:

  • Obviously, we can agree Sarah has superhuman writing skills but other than that, Sarah is human like us too. Meeting 350 people, saying hi to them, signing a thousand books while she’s at it ALL IN ONE DAY can get physically-tiring and overwhelming. Even if she wanted to do it for her fans, I’m sure she also wants to feel comfortable and not too stressed and just enjoy her signing in Manila.

I think it’s very important to see there are many wants at play here and we’re all just coping with it. But please, the hate and bashing needs to stop.

If you’re thinking that I’m able to say these things because I’m a blogger and I’ll probably get to go to a forum and meet Sarah then, let me tell you something: I don’t know that there will be a forum. As of the moment, I haven’t received an invite. I have no guarantee at all about it. But I’ll brave lining up at the earliest possible time if that’s what it takes.

If ever there is a forum, please do understand that bloggers are considered media people. We basically offer free publicity on our blogs and that helps promote Sarah and her books. No, I’m not putting bloggers on a pedestal. But we work hard to do this thing, you know.

I’ve always been the kind of person who’s scared to speak up regarding conflicts and tension in the community, afraid to say I’ll say the wrong thing. But to hell with that. I’m taking a stand now. I’m supporting National Book Store, as well as #SarahJMaasinPH.

PS: I want to encourage everyone to talk about this. If you were disheartened by the news or disappointed, talk about what’s troubling you. I want you to be honest. But please be respectful. More importantly, be kind.

Hope to see some lovely bookish people at Sarah’s book signing!

Hazel @ Stay Bookish

Hazel Ureta is an advocate of stories. She is the blogger and Editor-In-Chief of Stay Bookish because she loves talking about books. She enjoys reading Young Adult novels the most and writes them too.
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  1. Kristin on February 22, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    Those rules are definitely disappointing but as you said, there’s a reason for everything. Getting 3 books signed and taking a photo of Sarah signing your books is still much better than having no books signed and never seeing her in person.

    • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on February 23, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      You’re totally right, Kristin. At times like these, we just need to look at the brighter side and realize that meeting Sarah, despite these conditions, is much better than never having the chance to do so.

  2. Mel@thedailyprophecy on February 22, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    It also saddens me that, after spreading so much love, suddenly something comes up and everyone seems to forget about it. I completely understand that it’s not how you all imagined the signing, but let’s be honest, the rules aren’t THAT ridiculous if you really think about it.

    • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on February 23, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      Exactly. It’s disheartening to see such negativity. I just hope people would be more open-minded about these rules so the hate goes away.

  3. Cassidy Wang on February 22, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    I can see why the rules upset people but I agree with you. It saddens me that the store got so much backlash for something that wasn’t their fault.

    • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on February 24, 2016 at 11:18 am

      Heck, I’m upset too. But the store doesn’t deserve the hate they’re getting, nor does Sarah or her publisher.

  4. Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic on February 22, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    It is so disappointing that the bookstore have received so much backlash. I can see why people are upset but people really need to try to respect rules and people’s decisions. <3

  5. Britt on February 22, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    I know this totally seems unfair but these are the exact same rules she had at her Queen of Shadows touring and Heir of Fire if memory serves me correctly although that event was much smaller so they weren’t strict in the picture thing. I also get that it’s different cause she never comes there but she is probably on a certain time crunch as well. The only reason I was able to “sneak” a Pic with her last time is cause my friend and I decided to wait to be the very last people over 290 signing and even then the bookstore people gave us a hard time. It was almost 9:30 and it started at 6 (There’s an idea right there…. Just sayin). I guess what I’m driving at is please don’t feel upset by this or feel like it’s coming down on this tour in any way. It’s just her stands rules of operation cause she is awesome sauce and has so many fans. Like you said there is a reason for everything and she is all over Asia. I hope you do get to meet her cause even thoug it may be brief she will make it feel special.

    • Britt on February 22, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      Also not meaning you as in just you, just as in the general ya know. :-)

    • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on February 24, 2016 at 11:03 pm

      Thank you so much for enlightening us all about this, Britt! I’m so looking forward to meeting Sarah. <3

  6. irena_bookdustmagic on February 22, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    It sounds dissapointing. But when you said everything, it does make sense.
    However, I can’t be blind to the rule that all books signed must be bought there, or with receipt and price tag. That’s bull….
    What if you had a first edition, bought from TBD, you can’t bring that one with you.
    And who keeps their book receipt anyway?

    • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on February 22, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      I’m glad what I said made sense, Irena. They’ve had that rule for all their signings the past years so it’s nothing new. The store spends a lot to bring huge YA authors to Manila- everything about their visit is on the store’s tab. They treat the authors like the international rockstars they are. So it’s only fair that they’d like to earn from doing these signings. It WOULD so suck to have a first edition and not be able to get it signed, but for me, it would be better to spend a get signed book than have none. And anyway, Filipinos are resourceful. They find a way to work out the receipt/tag thing. Ha.

  7. Deborah Kehoe on February 22, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    I think t’s got to be pretty hard to make all sides happy. I do think the bookstore should be a little more forward thinking. True readers can’t step into a store without purchasing something. They would make their money regardless of whether it was from her book or not.

  8. Jayvee @ Writer For Misfits on February 22, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    I actually was quite angry at first when reading the mechanics and it was awful. I actually wanted to see Sarah and have a photo with her because I loooooooved ACOTAR so much. And I’m afraid I won’t be able to come. But seeing it in perspective now, I’m a lot calmer about it and probably less livid and got jaded by the whole thing. As for NBS, there’s some talk, like why didn’t they asked Bloomsbury sooner so people could’ve known? That’s the only thing I’m quite frustrated about. But I’m not angry at them than I am with the mechanics. I’m not angry at Bloomsbury too. It’s just…frustration. And being part of not just the blogging community but the group of readers who are so pissed at this, I’ve been seeing my timeline LIT up with angry people and I kinda want to calm them down. Personally, I’ve never been invited to any forums and I don’t actually mind. It doesn’t make me side with NBS but it does make me feel for them because of all this backlash. That’s just how I see it.

    It’s so true that it’s so hard to speak up to the reading community when you’re part of the “press” and you kinda want to keep the relationship with like, say NBS, as solid as possible but in cases like this, it’s not just NBS getting all the sht. The hate definitely has to stop. It’s the alignment of the universe. I’m sorry I kind of ranted here, Hazel.

  9. Geraldine @ Corralling Books on February 22, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    When I first read those rules, I was pretty outraged, even though I’m not in the Phillipines, because I felt so bad for the 351st or 352nd, and so on person who wants to see Sarah! But then when you broke it down like that, explained everything from the different parties’ perspective, it really makes more sense. I love this post, how polite you were, as well as well-reasoned :)

  10. JM on February 22, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I woke up to this inspiring post of yours, Hazel, and I could not have said it any better! I’ve been so quiet about this whole fiasco, and just like you, I too feel for the readers who are devastated of the news. Last year, as I’ve discovered the greatness that is Throne of Glass, I immediately thought of the possibility of one day meeting her in person. I’ve had countless dreams of meeting her, and I was glad NBS was the one to do so, seeing that they’ve done it with other authors before. Upon hearing the mechanics, my dreams, among with the others, came crumbling down. What’s sad about it was that I certainly couldn’t blame anyone. No one really is at fault here. We can’t blame the fans for verbally showing their outrage. They were hurt and upset. We can’t blame Bloomsbury for setting restrictions because they want to take care of their author. After all, their authors are their assets. And lastly, we certainly can’t blame Sarah for all this. She’s the whole reason why we’re here in the first place. Our love for her and her works certainly must outshine this issue.

    Being able to experience both the public signing events, and the forum, I have to say I can feel for both parties. I know how unfair it is for those who have to line up at around 8pm the night before the signing just to secure a signing pass. I know hard it is to think about your personal hygiene while at the same time asking for the author for a selfie. At the same time, I know the additional work bloggers exert just to get an invite to the forum. I know the additional perks of being a blogger since I am one. And, I have to say, both parties should just be a lot more open-minded about this in order to sustain a bibliophile-friendly community. Right?

    Now, I hope this issue just dies down. I, too, don’t like seeing the tremendous amount of hate NBS is getting, when they obviously didn’t do anything wrong. I just hope one of these days, everyone understands that.

    See you in a few weeks, Hazel! This is such a lovely post! I hope you don’t mind me sharing it! :)

  11. Trisha on February 22, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    I totally understand that some people may be upset with only 350 slots and no photos. But I can’t help but wonder if they’ve ever thought about the things you’ve expressed here. Can you imagine signing your over 1000 times in one day, meeting 350 people on that day, shaking hands and smiling and doing this day after day after day on a tour? There has to be a limit for things like this for the author’s health and wellbeing. Being socially and mentally on for that is super hard.

    To jump to the no photos with her. Again, I understand the disappointment for some people who would love a photo with their hero. But photos are even more taxing. At comic cons they are separate from signings and are something you often have to pay for.

    I’m sad to see so much negativity and neglect for Sarah’s experience and well-being, especially from her fans. Come on team, let’s do what we as readers do best (and what Hazel has done here) and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes for a chapter or two.

  12. Ella on February 22, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Coming from someone who had experience, and endured long lines just to meet my favorite authors, I was more surprised with how much I hate there was yesterday, rather than these mechanics NBS shared. I thought seeing, meeting, or having books signed(at least one) was okay enough especially if the author took time to visit our country. Yeah taking selfies with them would be awesome too, but that’s the thing it’s not allowed and rules are rules. So would you rather boycott an event and miss seeing this author you claim you love because of said limitations? *smh* I’ve gone to signings and events where I’ve only seen authors from afar without getting my books signed because I hate lines, but still I felt good because I saw them. I saw how considerate they were no matter how many people they meet and how many books they sign, and it made me love them more. No one can deny that our country is far as heck from where they’ve come from, so please stop the hate and start appreciating the effort people behind said events give.

  13. Godwin. on February 22, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Hi, Hazel. I would just like to give some fresh perspective on the current issue at hand, coming from one of the ordinary who are not invited to blogger’s forums. First there is no prejudice or hatred against the blogging forum group in particular. Most already understands that as in any social institution, there will always be a clear demarcation between the privileged and the ordinary people – in this case it’s the blogger’s forum. What raises the ire of the people however, is how some bloggers blindly defend NBS for their own sycophantic purposes, and how they tru to empathize with the others when the bloggers don’t know first hand what we are experiencing.

    The second issue I would like to point out are some of the mechanics of NBS. Do understand that the bulk of the reader’s community are not annoyed about the set book limit; however, they are annoyed at the lateness of this news when most of them have spent a fortune trying to complete SJM’s book. Though i wiuld like to commend NBS this time for the “early” announcement, since in the previous booksignings, a book limit would only be announced at the time of registration. Granted it is partly our fault for assuming that SJm would be able to sign our books, however it doesn’t excuse NBS’s late announcement of the book limit. If it was the publisher who had indeed imposed this rule, it would follow that NBS already knew the book limit the moment they received a go signal that SJM would come to the Philippines.

    Third issue, is the overall hate towards some staff of National Bookstore. I have been several signings hosted by NBS, and been to some selected blogger’s forum signings too. I have no qualms with the privilege the bloggers are getting, such as having all of their books personalized with their name, to have all their books get written a special message from SJM, or the amount of face time you can have while talking with her. What the hate is centered upon on the bookstore is their lack of respect to the patrons when it comes to the ordinary, non-blogger signings. I see people getting pushed by the NBS staff because their 20 second talk with the author has elapsed. I could hear the snide remarks of the some staff when a person asks SJM a special request. It would seem that some of the staff thinks it alright is alright to be rude the patrons because, one, they didn’t invite us, two, because some of us didn’ xome from a prestigious school or a prestigious blog. The fact remains that you do not treat your patrons that way.

    There are a lot of issues people have with NBS, however these are some of the more salient issues the people have with this current booksigning.

    • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on February 23, 2016 at 3:55 am

      Hi Godwin.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the issue at hand. I’m not gonna lie- it’s sad that you feel that way, that you believe there’s this demarcation between bloggers and readers. Also, it feels to me like you don’t think we’ve earned this privilege. We all work hard on our blogs to promote books and if I were being really honest, I feel like we’re being trivialized here. To hear that you think we blindly defend NBS for our own gain hurts. It’s like you’re saying I only get invited to events not because of what I do on the blog but because I suck up to them. And how can we not empathize with others? I’ve lined up for public signings before- Lauren Oliver’s, Kiera and Tahereh’s first event here, Melissa/Maragaret/Alyson’s and Michelle Hodkin’s signing. As a reader yourself, I think you can understand how it’s possible we can easily empathize and put ourselves in the shoes of others.

      On the matter of NBS’ mechanics, I do agree that they should have announced at the earliest time. But again, like I emphasized in my post- I don’t think NBS knew that Sarah’s publisher would set limits to both the crowd and books signed. It’s possible that both parties still had to negotiate these terms just recently. You can’t blame them for taking a while, since Sarah’s first signing in Manila is a huge deal. Sarah’s signing is obviously a game-changer for everyone.

      It sucks to hear that there’s hate for some NBS staff. Having worked with them closely, I can say that they’ve always been cool and friendly. I’d like to point out that Sarah’s signing hasn’t happened yet, and we don’t know that bloggers will be able to get a special written message from Sarah in all of their books or that there will be snide remarks to the customers from the staff.

      In my experience with public signings before I was a blogger, I’ve never felt disrespected by the store’s staff even when they were hurrying the signing along. But if others have, I’d like to point something out- did these people show any respect at all for the rules NBS have set? If they did and still received such bad treatment, I’d encourage them to tell that staff face to face that they’re being rude. But if they didn’t show any inch of respect for the set rules, well I think the treatment they get is on them. Obviously, NBS can still handle things better, be the bigger person. But they’re not perfect. They’re just trying to do their job.

      If there are anymore issues, please feel free to let them all out. It’s important to resolve things like this. Thanks again for offering your perspective on things.

  14. Bec @ Readers in Wonderland on February 23, 2016 at 2:56 am

    The rules put quite the downer of things but they are there for good reasons. I met Sarah J Maas at Supanova last year and her line was INSANE (there was no maximum limit of people but she was there for three days at selected times). We had the same limits and rules and without them there was no way Sarah would have been able to sign everyone’s book in the times she was there.

    Overall it sucks that I couldn’t spend more time talking or get all my books signed, but Sarah did a great job while she was there. She has a little conversation with every person who got their stuff signed, and we were allowed to get someone to take a photo as we were getting a book signed.

    In the long run I was just happy that I got this opportunity to spend even 30 seconds meeting one of my favourite authors. That is so much better than never meeting her at all.

    Anyway, I hope you get a spot! I had such a great time meeting Sarah, as lightening fast as it was.

  15. Beatrice @ Confessions of a Pinay Bookaholic on February 23, 2016 at 5:33 am

    First of all, wonderful thoughts Hazel and thank you to all the bloggers who clarified about these rules. I am completely surprised and mad about these rules since this is the first time EVER wherein there’s no photo with the author. Since I’ve attended most of the signings that NBS hosted, I’m just not used to this. I had an outburst and I apologized after it was clarified to me (I hope you understand my feelings). I’m used to the limited books to be signed, so I just buy maximum of three just in case it happens. If I exceeded, well… let’s say “there’s a will, there’s a way.” Still, the rules must be followed and respected unless, there will be considerations. It looks like everyone will be fighting for the 350 slots. (Let there be no “Fish Bowl of Fate” because I bet some will cry over this)

    I’m crossing my fingers these rules will be taken consideration and the only hope is Sarah J. Maas’ call to break it. (I’m still gutted by these rules until now)

  16. czai on February 23, 2016 at 6:05 am

    the 350 limit really disappoints me. I, honestly, have never been to any book signing before because no author came that I am genuinely interested in (except for Marie Lu, I guess). And the photo with the author is even more disappointing. I do see the reasons behind all these – her Asia tour.

    I’ll just be here then and cross my fingers for another signing in the next year or so.. (in the meantime, I’ll try my best to go to Victoria Aveyard’s signing)..

  17. Raffy Perez on February 23, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Wow. Thank you ate Hazel, I really appreciated this post. As for me, I’m in the neutral side. My reasoning goes like this: I haven’t read Miss Sarah’s books, and I don’t think that I’m gonna be able to attend her signing, BUT when people start interjecting with wrongly-framed argumentations (more on this later), I get iffy.

    It’s not my duty to “adjudicate” this case/situation, but being in the neutral side, I feel that it’s just fair to state some things about this issue. This is as objective as I can be.

    Firstly, I agree with you that NBS doesn’t deserve the treatment that it is getting. They want to satisfy the demand of their consumers, and personally instigating the rules in questions will in no way help their interest, moreover the interest of the buyers. And of course, as you stated, that Bloomsbury needs to take into consideration the author’s welfare as she will be touring across Asia.

    Secondly, I also definitely agree with you that bloggers don’t get to be attacked just because of some fallacious remark that we’re lapdogs. We aren’t. If we were, we should’ve started earning pays and salaries right from the start.

    The last thing I’m gonna say in this comment will focus on the drama that’s been circulating. It is, indeed hurtful to see negative remarks about National Bookstore such as “National BS” or other cuss-flocked declarations. And that is because of their wrong idea on how to express their opinions. For me, I don’t believe that their motive or purpose of negation is generally bad. Why? It is because I was convinced from an episode in the Oxford Union Debates dealing on the motion “This House Believes that the freedom of expression must always include the right to offend.” When we deal with liberal democracy (what we’re actually trying to achieve in our country), it’s a great big debate on the extent of this said freedom. But by setting rules such as “Ouch, that’s offensive.” in the context that someone’s implying that they can’t say things like that (since it’s different if the purpose was to just express an opinion objectively), then what’s actually happening is that we’re prioritizing political correctness over academic freedom. The inclusion of the right to offend in that freedom will actually foster the entirety of the democracy that we’re aiming for. Note: it’s a right, not an obligation. This is apparent because some statements might come off as offensive even if the speaker’s intent was just to express.

    The one thing that I’m mad about here, is the extreme vulgarity of the social activists going against National Book Store. Again, I vehemently understand all sides to this story deeply, but their negations would have come out as pleas had they phrased their statements in such a way that will clarify their actual intent on the situation and not just act rashly. Being thorough with analyses would’ve yielded them more substance to the case, which is greatly needed by everyone concerned, even neutral actors, such as myself.

    P.S. I have no interest in causing offense in this comment. However, if I have, I must apologize to anyone who felt that my remarks were inappropriate. My commiserations.

    Again, thank you for posting this!

    • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on February 23, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      Raffy, I love your thoughts here. I understand why you’re neutral about things but I’m really glad you decided to share your opinion as objectively as you can. I’m glad you agree with me on the first two things- those are honestly the main focus of this post and discussion and those are the only two things I’m trying to make people understand.

      I also believe that the upset came from genuine hurt and that people probably don’t mean to cause such an uprising. But the thing is, when those disappointments aren’t properly or respectfully expressed (I agree with you that the vulgarity is extreme), more hate goes around. I’m not imposing that people can’t say what they want to say, like you said it’s their right. I’m only encouraging that we all try to be more understanding and less hateful. Because really, all the hate is exhausting and does no good for anyone of us.

  18. Daisy on February 23, 2016 at 9:52 am

    I don’t know where to start so I’ll just enumerate them, yeah? In no particular order.
    1. Number of slots + number of books signed. It may not have been written in the initial announcement word by word, letter by letter, but it is very well /implied/ that Sarah J Maas will have one-shot book signing in PH and she have six books. It is implied that /this is our one chance to have them all (6) signed at the very least/. The number of slots, I understand, having read a lot of blog posts about Sarah’s previous signing; I know how she wants to communicate with her fans and it took a long while.
    But what I don’t understand is this: why would they announced it this late? I’m sorry but unless I hear it from them themselves, I won’t buy the they-are-still-arranging-it-with-bb. Nope. This is a contract, as I see; there are already rules and regulations and mechanics imposed by the publisher and NBS should have told them to us. Then add that THOSE are the rules/mechanics that are subject to change. But have they done this (which is a more considerate move for their patrons)? They haven’t.

    2. Posed photo. If you’ve seen the initial announcement, they said that there will be /an official photographer and one POSED PHOTO will be allowed/. And oh, they still haven’t put this down. You can still find this. One more thing, I haven’t seen that THOSE initial faqs are subject to change, only that they’ll announce mechanics.

    3. I agree, there should totally no, nada, nothing, not one single hate towards Sarah J Maas. She’s my favorite YA/ YA high-fan/writer person ever. I know her Asia schedule and considering the tour comes RIGHT AFTER her birthday, it’s quite stressful. But coming back to my point: why haven’t they announced it earlier? Here’s I think why:

    4. NBS IS A BUSINESS. I dare put it here, yeah. I’ve seen businesses work, but not to this point of monopolization. (Maybe a half of what they are doing, but not to this point). They know what everyone will think and they know many would think all six books will be signed. They already did this limited-books rule in previous signing but they announced it on the day itself. And from your presented statement of, “For other signings, NBS always posted the mechanics right away. This time around they didn’t post immediately,” I’m betting you haven’t experienced those last minute announcements, yeah?

    5. Blogger forum. I’m not against this and know the hard work of being a blogger. However, I, myself – even though I’m not a big blogger – have a few people under my responsibility. Why? Because I haven’t stopped talking about ToG ever since I read it about four years ago and people I personally know became quite curious and read it and became a big fan. My point: it’s not only bloggers who are spreading the word, literal talk of the mouth also does — I just put it because a lot people tend to forget these, I eman no offense.

    All in all, I’m super excited for #SarahJMaasinPH. However, that kind of abrupt announcement – without apologies or even replies to people? – would surely dampen our excitement.


    • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on February 23, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Hi Daisy. Thanks for enumerating all this!

      1. I personally don’t think there were such implications. I’d like to believe that this only Sarah’s first signing and that there is a chance, that if this event is a success, that there will be others. On the note of the late announcement, I won’t impose that you believe what I believe. But I think it’s only a problem for people who assumed that all six books will be signed. NBS isn’t to blame for that.

      2. Yup, the rule still stands as of the moment. But some of us do dare hope that it might change, or that there’s a way we can sneak a photo. #selfieninja

      3. I’m glad we agree on this note! Much love for Sarah!

      4. Like I said in my post, I know NBS is a business and they profit from the signings. But to accuse them of monopolization when all they’ve done is give in to people’s requests of bringing more YA authors here feels so wrong. Again, did it come to mind that maybe NBS also thought all six books will be signed? On my statement of the mechanics, I meant general mechanics- I do know about how some book limits have been set on the day of the signing themselves. But to justify, NBS has always added this disclaimer in their mechanics for such events: “Although we will take every effort to get as many books signed as possible, depending on the number of attendees, we reserve the right to limit the number of copies per person or limit the number of people in line.”

      5. I definitely haven’t forgotten that word of mouth also spreads the words about books. It’s the same for bloggers- our readers empower our blogs. The only difference between bloggers and readers is that the former have established themselves for what they do. No offense taken. :)

      I think you can understand why NBS has taken a step back from replying to people. They were bashed and I’m sure it hurt them a lot. At the end of the day, I completely understand that this news is disappointing for everyone and why the backlash happened. However, I still don’t think this is a reason for such hate to continue.

      • Ron on February 24, 2016 at 8:49 am

        Hey, just interjecting to sort of add to your point and say that NBS doesn’t profit as largely as you think from these signings. Consider that they pay for airfare in dollars, and they don’t fly these authors economy. They pay for their lodging, and if there’s a Cebu signing they even take them to the beach. Unless they pull in Nicholas Sparks kind of crowds, none of these signings bring a significant increase to their business. Maybe increased visibility, but that doesn’t always translate to profit, immediate or otherwise. Just something to consider.

        • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on February 24, 2016 at 11:14 am

          I’m absolutely glad you pointed this out, Ron! I would also like to add that authors as big as Sarah *probably* even get paid to go to such events, sponsored travels, lodging and vacations aside. So yeah, NBS spends a lot for these signings to happen and so that authors they bring get the best treatment and would be happy to come back to the Philippines.

  19. Eriele the mermaid on February 24, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Just going to add this here: NBS service sucks big time (eh, you may just read my review/rating of them in their facebook page) and I think that’s what drove people to be angry at them most. We can already anticipate how frustrating the event would be because of the limitations and then add the horrible service. The staff (in the events) have been rude to people and I’ve been a witness to this. One my friends already confronted the staff but they just shrugged. I’m not sure if you remember John Doe or Juan Doe or whoever he was, but he was one of the first to actuall speak with the bad service we as customers are getting. He pointed out that they shout (sometimes indirectly) to the person and even push them a little to get the next person on the stage(??) and all the other things I can’t remember well at 2am. We line up for hours or days only to be treated as if we had no purpose anymore. They used to offer some free coffee or something before (was the free coffee during Tahereh’s first event from her or from NBS? I remember Mitch Albom giving out coffee and cookies((?)) for the first few peoole in line), but now, they don’t even care who’s in the line and who’s gonna get sick for being dedicated. Customers don’t even care anymore of asking nicely for any changes because they’ve already learned what NBS does and that no matter what they say, it’s not like it’s gonna matter because they’re doing nothing. They should be even a little thankful that customers are speaking up because I learned this in class that you should be scared when people don’t give feedbacks because that means they don’t care and will most probably not come back. But these feedbacks, bad or not, must be welcomed because they mean that they still care and want changes and will come back when they see that things are getting better. (I was going to leave this post as it is because I don’t really care that much anymore because I’m already expecting the worst but then I had to speak for my friends.)

    Also, some people are mad(??? meh I’m not really good at words at this time) at bloggers because you don’t have to line up and you get all the perks and all that shit and they know that you don’t know full well what they’ve experienced, blogger or not blogger.

    And then I think NBS already knew that there will be the limit of books because they said in their posts together with the SJM posters something like ‘full or more details to follow’. I was actually expecting the event to be held on someplace bigger than the one in Glo, but eh, seems like the limit would control the number of people attending.

    And then that is all for now.

    • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on February 24, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      Hi Eriele! So from what I’ve gathered here, people are upset not only because of the mechanics, but because of the how they’ve felt about the customer service in the past. Isn’t that kind of unfair- to hate so much on #SarahJMaasinPH because of how other signings have gone? We still can’t judge how it’s gonna be this time around. In my experience, smaller signings tend to be more chill and unhurried. That’s the actual reason why Sarah and her publisher probably limited the crowd. They want fans to be able to talk to her and have a great time, despite the no photo thing.

      I see no need for staff to shout or move people along unless they’re taking up time when other people lined up could be meeting the author already. And if the staff do raise their voice or rush, they’re not trying to be rude, they’re just doing what they were told to do: to make sure people get their books signed. So there’s that to consider. With a max of 350 people for Sarah’s signing though, I think participants will get ample face time with their fave author this time around. So instead of anticipating the worst, people should instead anticipate that things will be better.

      As for lining up for hours or days, that’s a personal choice for everyone. If authors/staff gave out free cookies for everyone who lined up way early, those people will get encouraged to keep doing so and as cool as it is to have such dedication, having people camp out is not very ideal. You said it yourself, people can get sick doing so.

      “Customers don’t even care anymore of asking nicely for any changes”- yes and from what I see now, as sad as it is to say, this just results to rudeness and hate from actual customers. You mentioned that NBS should be thankful for feedback, but how can they, when this feedback isn’t given in a dignified way? Feedback, positive or negative, needs to be expressed properly, objectively and respectfully. Like if you’re writing for a review for a book you didn’t like, you’re not gonna say “OMG I HATE THIS DON’T READ IT.” You’re gonna explain why you didn’t like it, which parts were weak and what could’ve been improved.

      As for some people getting angry at us bloggers, I just don’t get it. Do people feel the need to hate on media (from magazines, TV, etc.) who get a one-on-one with all the authors who’ve come here? No, they don’t. But us bloggers are considered press too, except we exist on the internet. And as for us not knowing full well what others have experienced, of course we don’t- we weren’t there at the same time with those same people to know the exact same experience those people had. What we’re only saying here is that we know a few things about having to line up and having to wait back since we had to do them back when we weren’t blogging yet. Once upon a time I was #233 for Tahereh’s signing back in 2013.

      If you read my post in full or any of the comments above, I won’t have to point this out again: If NBS knew the full details during their initial announcement, they would’ve just posted the general mechanics as they have with other signings before. They would’ve probably gotten less hate and backlash then for announcing early. But they couldn’t announce at the time since things were still being settled. Sometimes when people say “details to follow” it means they’ve yet to completely finalize everything. Would you rather that NBS announced early even though things weren’t finalized, only to change it later on in lieu with what Sarah and her pub have decided? Yeah, that would have been even more disappointing.

      Haha, would you blame me if I hoped “that is all” for ever? Aren’t you tired of the hate and drama too? Oh well.

      • Tere on February 25, 2016 at 2:43 am

        First of all, I would like to say that I am a fan of you blog. I am a regular visitor of your site I love it but sadly I have to disagree with you on this issue. People are upset because it seems like as they continue to bring authors here, NBS’ service is getting worse. Let’s just say all the anger that we feel towards NBS has reached it’s boiling point. A lot of signings have passed and you expect us to believe that their treatment towards attendees will get better? No assurance even? Sorry but no.

        I can’t help but compare how NBS handle book signings compared to Bookstore F. Why is it that despite the number of attendees when Bookstore F holds book signings, their staff still keep their cool and no incident of shouting and shoving happens. It seems like NBS treats attendees as burdens and we feel like they just like to finish the day and get it over with. It seems like NBS doesn’t see the effort of the attendees lining up early and even camping out just to be their early. Not a hard thing to ask for a company where we buy our books right? And even if we don’t say it, can they not see what they’re doing and how they treat us? Are they that insensitive?

        Speaking of feedbacks, are we even sure that they can hear our side? Like this discussion for instance, for sure they are already aware of this hullabaloo and they didn’t even care to like give a official statement to clear our confusions and to answer our questions.

        “If NBS knew the full details during their initial announcement, they would’ve just posted the general mechanics as they have with other signings before.” This line is funny. Don’t be blindsided by the fact that NBS is still a company and they will still be after profit. If they are not sure yet of the details, why post it and announce it? Right? They would’ve probably gotten less hate and backlash then for announcing early, quoting you.

        “Would you rather that NBS announced early even though things weren’t finalized, only to change it later on in lieu with what Sarah and her pub have decided? Yeah, that would have been even more disappointing.” – THIS IS WHAT THEY JUST DID.

        At the end of the day, NBS will still bring authors here and people will still attend. If no one will stood his/her ground and be a strong voice to this, they will still continue what they do. Hoping that their service will be better is good but as an attendee of almost all the book signings they held, waiting in line for hours, tried to be pushed, shoved, shouted and irked upon numerous times, enough is enough. And don’t compare my experiences to yours because you only had been to one or two book signing where you were like a normal book signing attendee.

        Ending this with a smile. :)

        • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on February 25, 2016 at 3:38 am

          Thanks for reading the blog and sharing your thoughts on the issue, Tere. It’s normal for people to disagree from time to time. As long as it’s done in a respectful way, I’m good with it.

          From what I’ve heard from everyone’s comments, I definitely understand what you mean by how everyone’s anger reached its boiling point. However, I was not trying to reassure anyone that the staff’s treatment will get better. That’s on the staff. I said we should hope that since the crowd is limited, there’ll be enough time for people to talk to Sarah and maybe people won’t get as hustled.

          I do think NBS can still improve their customer service but I really don’t think their service is so horrible that they deserve the hate they’re receiving.

          “If they are not sure yet of the details, why post it and announce it?” – This is something I explained in my post if you read and absorbed it in full. They had to, because Sarah’s publisher announced the Asia tour. Also, here’s what NBS did: Announced the signing (+ date, time and place) early then announced the full details and mechanics later on. They did NOT announce the mechanics early, only to change them later on. Which was what I said would’ve been more disappointing. Just to clarify and so that my words aren’t taken out of context.

          I do think enough is enough. I get why people are disappointed with NBS. It’s okay to be upset. But it’s not okay to hate, bash and hurt others.

          PS: I’ve definitely been to MORE than one or two public signings. :-D

  20. Giselle @ Book Nerd Canada on February 25, 2016 at 1:03 am

    They usually have rules like this for super popular authors and sadly the more signings they get, the more rules accompany them. I get sad at first but when you get used to the signings like this then it turns out all right. Hey even in USA they have to PAY to go to signings so I’m super grateful we get some authors our way. I think people just need to accept that this is the way it is and just roll with it. Besides you’re getting the chance to meet your favourite authors! That’s the best part no matter how many restrictions there are in place.