Bookworms, take note: the world’s biggest book sale, featuring more than three million new books, is coming to Dubai next month. And for those of you hoping to pick up enough books to start a small library, don’t worry: trolleys will be provided.
The Big Bad Wolf Books Sale, which runs from October 18-28, will be held at Dubai Studio City (soundstages 2 and 3) and is open to public 24 hours a day for the duration of the sale, which means you can pop in before work, during your lunch break, or even after a night out.
Added to this, all books will be available at discounts of 50-80 per cent below recommended retail prices. A wide variety of genres will be on sale, including fiction, art, design, cookery, business and self-help, while there will also be an extensive selection of titles for children and young adults.
“Our books are high quality and very affordable,” says Mohamed Al Aidaroos, managing partner of Ink Readable Books, organisers of the sale. “We hope our presence in the emirate will encourage more and more people to cultivate a culture of reading with their families and communities.
At a press conference held in Dubai on Tuesday morning, Al Aidaroos added: “The discounted prices mean that people from all walks of life – white collar; blue collar – have access to books.”
Big Bad Wolf Books was founded in 2009 by married couple and business partners Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng. Concerned by the low rate of literacy in Malaysia, the pair opened a book store in 2006 in Kuala Lumpur to try and encourage more people to start reading. They soon realised, however, that in order to make a real difference, they would need, in Yap’s words, “to cast a bigger net”.
It was too expensive to open further book stores, though, particularly at a time when the publishing industry was experiencing a slump. So Yap and Ng launched Big Bad Wolf Books as a way of trying to re-brand the book-selling market. They have since held sales in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Manila, Cebu, Colombo, Bangkok and Taipei.
"We wanted to make book selling exciting again because the industry has not been very healthy recently," says Yap, in an interview with The National. "Children are reading less and less but Big Bad Wolf Books sales offer more than just books. We have food stalls, a playground and events such as colouring competitions."
It was this desire to do something different that led to the idea of running the sales for 24 hours a day. “Our core mission is to promote reading and to promote the English language," says Ng, who didn't start reading until she was 14. "But we realised that if you don’t read already, you don’t walk into a book store, no matter how much it is promoted.
“We started the 24 hour concept in 2011 because we were not selling many young adult books. And we knew why – young people don’t read as much because they are out with friends, they have too many distractions. Young people also associate books with study.
“So we began trying to promote our sales as part of a night out. It was like, ‘If one of you is interested, bring your whole gang along.’ At some of our sales, we have seen people arriving in high heels after a night out clubbing.”
How do they keep the prices so low?
The books come from what Yap calls the “remainder market”, which consists of books that have been overprinted and unsold by publishers. Recently, though, publishers have also been selling directly to Big Bad Wolf Books. “They see us a way of re-igniting the reading culture,” says Yap.
Al Aidaroos goes one step further and describes the Big Bad Wolf Books sales as “a paradigm shift” for book sellers. “We are the Uber of the book industry," he says.
The Big Bad Wolf Books Sale is at Dubai Studio City (soundstages 2 and 3) from October 18-28. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/bbwbooksuae