The Big Bad Wolf book sale: Mission before profit


TO CHANGE the world one book at a time—that is the mission of the Big Bad Wolf (BBW) book sale, the largest and arguably cheapest book fair in the world today.

Named after a popular children’s book character, BBW was established by Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng in Malaysia. It has been gaining excellent public response ever since, and rightfully so, after selling millions of books for low prices in different countries like Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines.

The first time the sale hit the metro was in 2018, when about two million books were sold to thousands of Filipino book lovers.

This year, the same amount of books were up for grabs at the World Trade Center in Pasay City from Feb. 22 to Mar. 4. The book sale was once again open 24 hours a day and free of admission fees.

Upon entering, the scent of book pages will greet customers as they scan long tables full of organized selections, some of which are rarely seen in mainstream bookstores. The venue was wide enough to host thousands of people; even though it was crowded, everyone still had room to breathe.

One would see families, lovers, and friends bonding excitedly over books. Witnessing numerous people still clinging to books—physical ones—despite the rise of e-books was definitely an enchanting experience for the bookworms.

Behind the Wolf

Before opening their doors to the crowd, the BBW team buys volumes of either overprinted books or those distributed but unsold, and resells them with discounts ranging from 50 to 90 percent off. There are also new books and exclusive titles that can only be found in the sale, making it a true bookworm paradise.

Aside from the cheap prices, the BBW also hosted contests and gave away vouchers, ensuring that the experience was more exciting for the customers.

The BBW team also made sure to constantly restock with new selections of books so no two visits will be the same.

The Wolf’s mission

Yap thinks the Philippines is similar to their home country, Malaysia, where “a lot of people want to read, but they can’t afford to read.”

“Why the books are affordable is because the mission comes first before the profit,” he explains.

Yap says books are brain food, which is why it is important for people to read.

“I never grew up with books. So, when I went to a school where everyone grew up reading, I saw a huge difference […] That’s why I’m such a big advocate of children reading at a very young age,” he adds.

He also mentions how one of his favorite books, Outliers by Michael Gladwell, helped him organize and navigate this big event. Gladwell is a self-help author who talks about the trends in the modern world.

Yap says the trend today is that millennials are now going back to books as “they find that there’s too much noise in the internet, there’s too much noise on their phones.”

BBW’s long-term goal is to build more good relationships with other countries. This year, they are aiming for 16 countries and 30 events, a big leap from last year’s seven countries (namely, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and United Arab Emirates) with 16 different events.

In this age, the image of a big bad wolf running around no longer scares people, but sends a message about breaking boundaries around the world and eradicating ignorance—one book at a time. F by DOMINIQUE NATHANIELLE M. MULI

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