Updated: Aug 5, 2021
A Philippine-published book has made it to the top of Amazon’s list of “Hot New Releases.” Vibal Foundation’s Boxer Codex: A Modern Spanish Transcription and English Translation of 16th-Century Exploration Accounts of East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific entered the number-one slot in “Hot New Releases” under the historical study reference category on August 2.
The Earth’s Biggest Bookstore
Amazon, the world’s largest online marketplace and bookstore, has an algorithm that showcases the recently released titles that are most bought. To be included in the Hot New Releases, which is essentially the Best New Sellers list, Amazon’s algorithm looks at the paid sales of a recently released title. Aside from being the number one new release in Historical Study Reference, Boxer Codex has also reached number 19 in the Southeast Asia History top list as well as number 38 under the History Encyclopedias category.
A New Hope for Filipino Publishers
In an interview, Vibal Foundation Executive Director Gaspar Vibal expressed his surprise as to how an academic book rose to the top of the Amazon list. He attributed its startling success to the pan-Asian appeal of a late sixteenth-century Spanish text that not only concerned itself with early modern Philippines but also China, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia. “This goes to show,” he added, “that it is possible after all for a Philippine publisher to be seen worldwide and to ride to the top of the Amazon lists.”
Boxer Codex, transcribed and edited by Isaac Donoso and translated and annotated by National Artist for Literature Carlos Quirino, together with Ma. Luisa Garcia and Mauro Garcia, is a sixteenth-century codex that was eventually named after its last owner, the British scholar Charles R. Boxer. The sumptuously bound and illustrated manuscript contained a collection of eyewitness accounts of various cultures and places in East and Southeast Asia, including the Philippines. These accounts—rich with anthropological detail about precolonial customs and beliefs and lavishly illustrated with depictions of native peoples in their traditional costumes—were compiled into a book with the purpose of convincing the king of Spain to launch further expeditions in the region. In the decades since this manuscript was discovered in 1947, a constellation of scholars has expanded our understanding of this valuable document, which gives us perhaps the clearest depiction of the lives of early Filipinos as well as the culture and politics of early modern Asia.
In addition to presenting the Spanish text and English translation side by side for comparison, Vibal’s edition contains an insightful and synthesizing introduction by Isaac Donoso that situates the codex within global and historical context at the time it was written.
Interested readers may purchase Boxer Codex and other Vibal books at Amazon https://www.amazon.com, Lazada and Shopee. The Boxer Codex 2nd Edition is also available for preorder at the Vibal online shop at https://shop.vibalgroup.com