MANILA -- The biggest mobile book sale in the world is back in Manila!
This time, the folks behind Big Bad Wolf, which opens on Friday, February 22, and will be open 'round the clock until March 4, is bringing 2 million books to the enormous hall of the World Trade Center -- or twice the number they brought last year.
“After going to Manila, Cebu, and Davao last year, we got to know what the Filipinos want. This year, the sale is more exciting and more curated. We brought 2 million books specially chosen for the Filipino book reader,” said Jacqueline Ng, who along with husband, Andrew Yap, founded BookXcess, the Malaysian bookstore behind the Big Bad Wolf sale.
This year, there seems to be a bigger section for fiction titles with more tables allocated for young adult books. The children’s section takes up a whole third of the sale floor with more sub-categories as well.
Making their exclusive debut in the fair are the Hippo Magic augmented-reality children’s books. Readers download an app for iOS and Android, and fully interactive characters pop up on the device’s screen when pointed at the certain portions of the book.
A major problem last year was what the organizers called "stray books." These are books that shoppers put into their carts, but end up deciding not to buy, and are just left willy-nilly. The organizers ended up with pallets upon pallets of these books last year.
This year, volunteers have been given training to put the books back as soon as possible. However, the organizers are appealing to the Big Bad Wolf guests to help out.
“We would like to ask customers to help put back books that they don’t want at the proper place. We also try to speed up the process to spot the books and to sort out the messed-up books back as soon as possible. It takes effort ...to make it a better experience for everyone,” said Ng.
The BookXcess group is quite busy these days. Besides holding Big Bad Wolf events all over Southeast Asia and in the Middle East last year, BookXcess has also put up the largest 24-hour bookstore in Malaysia in the Cyberjaya district and christened their first branch outside of Kuala Lumpur in Penang.
This month alone, the team is holding three almost simultaneous Big Bad Wolf sales in Jakarta, Indonesia and Kuantan, Malaysia.
They hope to bring back the sale to Cebu and Davao this year and is working with partner, Gawad Kalinga, to look for venues to bring the event to smaller cities around the Philippines.
Big Bad Wolf even set up a Red Readerhood section for Gawad Kalinga. Big Bad Wolf visitors can buy selected books for donation to GK at special tables right outside the cashiers.
At present, there are no plans for BookXcess to put up physical branches outside Malaysia.
“Big Bad Wolf is doing the job of making books accessible, trying to create the excitement of reading, and generally to create more readers. We hope that the local bookshops will see the impact of the increase in readers,” Ng said.