Big Bad Wolf year-end sale goes virtual

The site will go live from tomorrow until Nov 11, featuring more than 40,000 book titles from a wide range of categories

by LYDIA NATHAN / pic credit: Big Bad Wolf Malaysia

THE Big Bad Wolf book sale is the most anticipated event among book lovers in Malaysia, with its annual year-end festival drawing thousands of fans to clamour through the vast number of titles available, while hoping to secure good bargains.

Beginning in 2009 with only 7,000 titles, the event has grown in strength across many countries, including Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Myanmar, the United Arab Emirates and more.

This year, the world’s biggest book sale will continue to go forward despite the global health crisis through the debut of its e-commerce platform.

Yap (left) and Ng say this will be a first for Malaysia and they are excited to hear what feedback may come after the 8-day fiesta

The site will go live from tomorrow (Nov 4) until Nov 11, featuring more than 40,000 book titles from a wide range of categories.

Its founders Jacqueline Ng and Andrew Yap said this will be a first for Malaysia and they are excited to hear what feedback may come after the eight-day fiesta.

“This is the book sale’s 11th year, but it feels almost like an entirely new business due to its digitisation. Going online was always part of our plans, and the Covid-19 pandemic really accelerated everything.

“Our mission has always been to change the world, one book at a time, and that is what we are hoping to do this year,” Ng told The Malaysian Reserve in an interview recently.

Malaysia will be the fourth country this year to experience the book sale through its online site, after Thailand, Sri Lanka and most recently, Singapore.

“The average spending in Thailand actually increased. We are hoping to do about 40% of sales from the physical event in Malaysia, but we know that this time around, we can reach more people as a large number of the population has access to the Internet.

“Fans will not need to make the trip down to the book sale or get stuck in traffic, or stand in long queues with their piles of books anymore,” she said.

Ng added that there were some hiccups with the site during the sales period in other countries, but everything has been fixed.

“A lot of things went wrong, but we managed to get them sorted. We know our fans are wondering if the site will be able to accommodate the huge amount of shoppers who will be online during those days or how the payment gateways will cope, but we are ready as we have learnt from previous sales,” she said.

The payment gateways will include credit cards, e-wallets and Internet banking transfer.

Ng added that the familiarity and convenience of shopping online will further enhance this year’s sale.

“Everyone shops online these days, especially since Covid-19 hit. So, we do not foresee any major issues with an online book sale.

“We have also revamped and redesigned our warehouse to support the packing process that will need to be done. It was a huge learning curve for us, as we needed new racks, new software and a team to do all this,” Ng said.

Meanwhile, Yap said the Big Bad Wolf book sale will always remain as a physical annual event, but there are plans for a more permanent fixture for the brand, like a resource centre for book lovers throughout the year when the sale is not on.

“We would like it to be a site where fans all over the world can read articles and interact with each other.

“It will basically be a website for everything related to books. We are trying to figure out how to make it socially interactive, instead of just being a shopping cart,” Yap said.

He added that after the event in Kuala Lumpur, the sale will be moving on to Taiwan before going back to Thailand again, and the Philippines before Christmas.

“Taiwan is a familiar market and it has been very supportive. As Taiwanese hardly read English books, there has been a huge push for children’s literacy books to ensure that they are not left behind. There is a risk of children becoming too addicted to screen time as well, because of how advanced technology is over there. So, we anticipate good things.

“We are heading back to Thailand because on the first day of the sale, the website actually crashed and we lost a day. Our customers there have been asking us to come back and we promised we would,” he said.

Additionally, Yap said it is also in the pipeline to have the sale more often in a year.

“We are looking at having the sale perhaps every quarter, if the feedback is good. The beauty of reading as a habit and passion is that books are not something you buy only once a year.

“There is a constant need for books, especially during times like these when people want to stay occupied and keep their minds active and healthy,” Yap said.

He added that some of the categories that have increased in popularity include self-help and hobby books.

“Our books are purchased from various countries like the US, the UK, Australia and parts of Europe. We have noticed, especially this year, a surge in books on cooking, baking, sports and other hobbies,” he said.

The Big Bad Wolf this year will feature some promotions, including free shipping within Peninsular Malaysia on orders above RM180, as well as offers of RM5 off with a minimum purchase of RM80.

“This year, because the sale can reach people far and wide, we have not left out our fans in East Malaysia, who can enjoy 30% off the shipping fee with no minimum spend. We are optimistic and looking forward to the sale,” Yap said.