Mastering the ABCs of the book business


Rex Book Store Inc. is one of the largest suppliers of textbooks to major schools across the country. It is celebrating its 70th year in 2020 and here, Rex Book Store chief operating officer Don Buhain shares his thoughts on the competitive book business.

Q: Rex has chosen to focus on the school segment instead of going retail. Why?

A: For the past few years, we have been focusing more on our B2B segment. We have been structured that way ever since and we have effectively been reaching out to many learners this way.

However, this is bound to change with all the initiatives that we have been mounting in recent years. This is anchored in our mission to reach out to more learners wherever they are and however they are through the learning solutions that we develop. These also include the different duty bearers (those who are mandated or morally obligated for ensuring human rights including the right to education—UN definition) who play a pivotal role in the learner’s success. We are united in the conviction that in order to build a stronger nation and a better world, we need to ignite in each Filipino the passion for lifelong learning.

Q: How is Rex differentia­ted versus other textbook suppliers in major schools?

A: I can proudly share that the Rex brand has always placed the learner at the center. Rex understands what this mission entails and encourages the nation and its citizens to stand up, level up, and be part of the process in preparing our learners for a progressive future. This is why we are inviting everyone to join us in our advocacy to prepare a globally competitive Filipino learner who is enjoying a healthy, safe, engaged, supported, challenged, and values-oriented environment, in every stage and touch point of his/her learning journey.

This means that for every learning solution that we produce with the help of our community of experts, we ensure that all these facets are taken into consideration.

This is part of our Edukampyon agenda, where we help bring out the hero in everyone by building a community of education champions that work with the best interest of the Filipino whole learner in mind and in heart.

Q: Rex Book Store has come a long way as a marketer of secondhand books in 1950 to a major integrated textbook supplier today, what will the future Rex Book Store be like?

A: Despite the disruptions happening all over the world and in every industry, specifically in the categories that we are in, we remain excited about the shifts happening within the company and outside of it. I can’t spill the details yet, but Rex will soon be in new spaces where it can effect a meaningful change among different kinds of learners. We are working hard toward better understanding the needs of our market—yes, we hear your concerns, our dear partners—and we will soon launch a lineup of learning solutions that will ensure the success of every learner.

Right now, we are closely studying the shifts that are taking place in the market and are identifying the opportunities where we can play in. These shifts focus on the learner—ensuring that every initiative considers what’s best for each of them.

The exciting update is that Rex will soon rebrand to capture the spirit of these shifts while ensuring that our every action will benefit every learner across the globe.

Through this initiative, we hope to position the refreshed brand as more inclusive and more empathetic. It also signals the renewal of our commitment to place the learner at the center as our way of thanking everyone for their unwavering support to the company for the past 70 years. —CONTRIBUTED

Josiah Go is chair and chief innovation strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc. For complete transcript of this Q&A, follow




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