Dubai: Groups of book hunters traveled to Dubai Studio City on Thursday for the 3rd edition of “Big Bad Wolf Books” in Dubai. Known as the world’s biggest book sale, the 11-day event which runs daily until April 24 has over a million books, with discounts ranging from 50-80% off the price of sale recommended.
The “real” Big Bad Wolf is a recurring villainous character in children’s fairy tales (The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf and the Seven Little Children, and The Boy Who Cried Wolf). But for Andrew Yap, 45, a Malaysian national, co-founder and managing director of Big Bad Wolf Books, the name has been “creatively adapted to appeal to young readers with the iconic fairy tale character their parents know” .
While the natural way for wolves to hunt is with their pack, Yap’s strategy for attracting more readers is to bring them together in one place and offer them the cheapest books available. Thus was born a movement that transformed the antagonist of fairy tales into a global advocate for reading.
Yap told Gulf News that his mission is to travel the world and offer “affordable and accessible” books. Today, Big Bad Wolf Books has a presence in 34 cities in 13 countries and territories, including Malaysia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Korea , Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. .
Big Bad Wolf Books was established in Dubai in 2018. There was, however, a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. This year, the book sale is back with over a million books on offer. Admission to the event is free and the venue is open 24/7 until April 24.
Cultural and cognitive diversity
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairwoman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and member of the Dubai Council, was present on Thursday to inaugurate the third edition of Big Bad Wolf Books.
She praised the cultural and cognitive diversity offered by the event and noted that the variety of books on offer “is consistent with the cultural diversity of Dubai and the UAE, where more than 190 nationalities live and work.”
Sheikha Latifa added that the presence of Big Bad Wolf Books reinforces Dubai’s position as a “preferred destination for culture and for those with a passion for knowledge, as it serves as a beacon of cultural diversity, a center of creativity and dialogue. cultural”.
She added: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, has always sought to spread a culture of reading in the community, making it an indispensable daily habit. and by instilling a passion for it, especially among future generations. Big Bad Wolf Books offers its visitors a world of books and knowledge and plays an important role in supporting publishers and platforms that encourage reading. .
Jacqueline Ng, co-founder of Big Bad Wolf Books and wife of Yap, added, “We launched Big Bad Wolf Books in 2009 to create a new generation of readers and increase English literacy around the world. . In over a decade, our event has expanded its footprint globally and our Dubai chapter is one of the most successful editions, as evidenced by its huge success and popularity, as well as a steady following increase and expansion.
The lonely wolf
Over the years, and having established its presence (or footprint) in 34 cities, Big Bad Wolf Books has served over 5 million happy bookworms and sold over 30 million books worldwide.
Its growth, however, looks like something out of a fairy tale. Growing up in Kuala Lumpur, Yap felt like a lone wolf. “I didn’t grow up in a family surrounded by books and I felt inadequate compared to my friends and classmates who grew up on books. They were more scholarly,” he said.
The problem was not lack of curiosity or passion for education, but access and affordability of reading materials, he added. This led to his awakening to make books accessible and affordable for everyone. He became an advocate for reading. “Because reading books can change people’s lives and inspire them to dream big,” he said.
fairy tale plot
Like a fairy tale, with a rags-to-riches plot, Yap also started from scratch. Yap and his wife, Jacqueline, started their business in 2003 from a small magazine kiosk in Kuala Lumpur.
“We named our store Nine-Ninety magazine shop because we used to sell magazines at 9.90 Malaysian ringgit (1 Malaysian ringgit equals 85 fils). These magazines were two months behind the publication date, but they were really cheap and they were the best American and British titles. The magazines actually don’t have an expiration date and when we sold them at a really cheap price, they quickly rolled off the shelves,” Yap told Gulf News.
Following the success of their magazine stand, Yap and his wife then ventured into selling books in 2007 at a very low price. Yap said, “We named our store BookXcess because our goal was to give people access and we were selling excess books.”
Yap bought books in bulk at a very good price, which allowed him to sell them at big discounts. Seeing that people liked to buy books, the idea then came to Yap to organize a big sale of books. He explained that he could sell more books at a book sale than he could sell in a year at his physical store.
By removing the cost of renting a store for a year, it could further reduce the price of books. Thus, Big Bad Wolf Books was born in 2009. “The catchy name got people interested because it sounded foreign,” joked Yap.
The first Big Bad Wolf Books was held in May 2009 at Dataran Hamodal in Petaling Jaya, and followed another event at Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya in November the following year, with over 150,000 books at massively discounted prices .
In 2011, Big Bad Wolf Book Sale doubled in size, offering 300,000 discounted books at South City Plaza, Seri Kembangan in Kuala Lumpur.
In September 2012, the Big Bad Wolf book sale became the largest book sale in the world with 1.5 million books on sale in Kuala Lumpur. The event also lasted 11 days at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park.
As Big Bad Wolf Books’ popularity grew, Yap gained notoriety for being a game-changer in the book distribution industry. “I became famous for disrupting the industry,” Yap said, adding, “The major distribution companies were affected and they even asked publishers to stop me with my business model.”
But Yap remained unfazed. He was like a hungry wolf, but also patient and cunning. Instead of bowing out, Big Bad Wolf Books left Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur in 2016 to bring affordable books to more Malaysians in six other states, including Kuantan, Johor Bahru, Kuala Terengganu, Ipoh, Penang and Malacca. .
The following year, in 2017, Big Bad Wolf Books went international and conquered Jakarta, Indonesia; Bangkok, Thailand and Colombo, Sri Lanka.
In February 2018, Big Bad Wolf Books reached the Philippines for the first time, opening a book sale in Manila, followed by another successful event in Cebu in July of the same year.
In August 2018, the world’s biggest book sale landed in Taipei, Taiwan, before heading to the Middle East – Dubai for the first time in October of the same year.
Yap said he found a home in Dubai. He said: “All of our partners involved are essential and have played an important role in bringing the sale back to Dubai and we very much appreciate their support and guidance. We are very grateful and touched to have Dubai Culture as a strategic partner; the great team from the Media Regulatory Office of the Ministry of Culture and Youth to be our logistical partner; our amazing venue partner, Dubai Studio City, for giving their wholehearted support to the event, our mission partner, Dubai Production City, for being part of our mission to increase English literacy around the world.
Open daily until April 24 — 24 hours a day
Over a million books available
Discounts from 50% to 80% off
Venue: Sound Stages, Dubai Studio City
Big Bad Wolf Books offers various contests, with exciting prizes
Pose and Win – Take a selfie of yourself at the BBW Book Sale Dubai 2022, post it on Facebook and Instagram, tag the location and hashtag #BBWPhotoFun. Enter for a chance to win an e-voucher worth AED 200.
Book Hauling Contest – Share a photo of your purchase at the BBW Book Sale Dubai 2022 on Facebook or Instagram and hashtag #BBWDXBHaul. Have a chance to win an electronic voucher worth 200 Dh.
A shelf full of books – A grand prize winner will be selected based on the creativity of participants in the pose and win and carry books contest. The winner is entitled to win all the books they can fit in one (1) shelf of the BBW Book Sale Dubai 2022.
Photo of Andrew Yap by Angel Tesorero
Photo of Andrew Yap by Angel Tesorero
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurated the third edition of the world’s largest book sale, “Big Bad Wolf Books”.
Third edition of the biggest book sale in the world, “Big Bad Wolf Books”. Taking place from April 14-24 in Dubai Studio City, the 11-day event will showcase over one million books. Photo: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News