A couple of weeks ago, I noticed some Facebook friends clicking “Interested” on the Big Bad Wolf PH event. I didn’t have an inkling on what it was until I checked the event page. The words “Book” and “Sale” immediately caught my attention so I clicked on the “Interested” button as well. Over the following weeks, Big Bad Wolf page kept posting updates which filled with excitement.

Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is to open on February 16, a day after my company’s 30th Anniversary. Prior to the opening, a preview sale was made to those who won during the event’s online promo. I wanted to join the promo but due to the said company event, I had to defer my plans. Instead, I opted to attend the first day of the sale. I just hoped that the best books won’t be sold out before I get the chance to scavenge its bookshelves.

The sale will take place at the World Trade Center and will operate non-stop for 24 hours until it closes on 11:59 PM of February 25. This gives an unlimited opportunity to cop the best books, from a wide array of genres, both fiction and non-fiction. Please note that THERE IS NO ADMISSION FEE.

A throng of people has already gathered in the Fiction section.

February 16. The day couldn’t come any quicker but it finally came. It is the day that I have been looking forward to for the past couple of weeks. Thankfully it was a holiday. I have also been tightening my finances in order for me to buy as much books as I could. The sale opened at 9 AM and I planned to be there for the opening. Unfortunately, I was still strung from yesterday’s festivities.

I was at the event at place at around 10:30 AM. It was just an hour and a half since it opened but the place is already teeming with activity as bookworms and families alike converged to scour every bookshelf. Unsurprisingly, the busiest section of the sale is the fiction section, which astounded me because of the selection of titles. There are a lot of books categorized into General, Crime, Fantasy and Horror, Romance, Graphic Novels and Comics, Young Adult and Literature.

The Young Adult, Literature and Romance sections were overflowing with buyers so I began with the General section. Unfortunately, very few of the books in this section caught my attention. But when I moved to the Literature section, I began grabbing as much book as I could. This section, is filled with classics and award winning books like Isabel Allende’s The House of Spirits, Ha Jin’s Waiting, Nanjing Requiem, and War Trash, Henry James’ The Ambassadors, Joseph Conrad’s Nostromo, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, and a lot more.

Wow! There are so many books to choose from!
And there are even more book!
I spent more time at the Fiction section than I did with the other sections.

I felt at home at the Literature section. Before I knew it, the load on my hand began getting heavier as books I wanted to buy began piling up. Although most of the books are in the trade paperback format, there were some hard bounds as well, with the price ranging from PHP 160.00 to PHP 480.00. What I liked about the Literature section is that it was filled with regional literature as well. Some of the authors in these section include Egyptian Nobel Peace Prize Winner Naguib Mahfouz, Korean Kyung Sook Shin, Korean American Ha Jin, Chinese Yin Lu, and a bevy of African and South American authors as well.

Avoiding the Young Adult and Romance sections, I scoured the Crime, Horror and Fantasy section where I was able to avail a copy of Patricia Highsmith’s The Amazing Mr. Ripley. I also spotted copies of William Burrough’s Naked Lunch, and Conrad’s The Secret Agent. There were so many books that it was tiring going back and forth. The crowd is getting thicker and it was a challenge navigating through the hallways. Thankfully, the area is well air conditioned. Otherwise, I would have bathed in sweat just a couple of minutes into the sale.

Simple reminders were placed. Buyers, be mindful.
Some of the colorful chick literature books found in the Romance section.
Just some of the books in the Crime, Horror and Fantasy section.

After I have filled my shopping cart to the brim, I lined up for the cashier. And whoa, the queue is long. Since there are nearly 40 cashiers, the queue easily dwindled down. However, unlike the book warehouse, the cashier area is not air conditioned, and with a lot of payers, it was hot in there. Thankfully, payment options are very flexible. You can pay in either cash, credit card or debit card.

Overall, I had a great time at the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale. I began my adventure at around 10:30 AM and ended at around 2 PM. There are a lot of great titles which are sold at bargain prices. I was able to spend a couple of thousands on over 20 books. I maybe a few bucks poorer but the pleasure that I can derive from these books cannot be measured by any pecuniary value.

A long queue at the cashier area just goes to show that reading is still a big thing.

Here are some of my tips to prospective buyers:

  1. Prepare a list of the books you want to buy.
  2. Know what genre the books you want to buy to easily locate them. For instance, Anne Frank’s Diary is in the Biography section and NOT in the Fiction Section or John Green’s books are in the Young Adult Section.
  3. There are facilitators but they are not familiar with all books. Don’t be surprised because there are a LOT of books and we can’t expect them to know every single one.
  4. Be courteous and patient. At numerous times I wanted to push the carts of other buyers because they blocked the passageways. I don’t know why there are so many insensitive individuals. Please, let us be courteous to others.
  5. Return the books where you got them. There are signs all over the place reminding everyone to return the “unwanted” books where they originally got them but heck, they barely heeded the call. I mean, it was a very simple request but  buyers are too adamant. I ended up arranging some of the books.
  6. Do not unwrap books covered in plastic cover. There are sample books you can use to check out these wrapped books. Again, there are buyers who simply cannot comprehend simple instructions.
  7. Bring a friend. The more, the merrier. It will also cut the time looking for specific books. Moreover, it can help to have one friend queue in advance at the cashier section.
  8. Visit the place on a weekday. If you don’t like the crowd, visit the sale on a weekday or, if you can, on the wee hours of the morning (i.e. 12 midnight to 4 AM).
So what do these plastic bags contain? Do watch out as I unwrap them.

What is the Big Bad Wolf Book Fair?

According to the book sale’s official Facebook Page, Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is an annual Malaysian book fair event showcasing a wide array of books from BookXcess stocks. BookXcess is a book store selling excess books from international distributors. BookXcess and the Big Bad Wolf Book Fair were founded by Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng. The Big Bad Wolf Book Fair is also an annual event in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia.

For Philippines, part of the proceeds will be donated to Gawad Kalinga, which will utilize the fund to build homes in Marawi and Bicol. By buying books at the book fair, you’ll also be helping you fellows.

More pictures from the book fair.

There is a wide array of selections that range from..
To romance..
To award-winning books…
To comics and graphic novels…
To reference materials…
To some of my favorite books…
To children’s books…
To more reference materials…
And even more children’s books. Safe to say that you will never run out of choices.