The annual event is taking a stand against rising book prices and shrinking bookstore
by AUFA MARDHIAH / pics MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE Big Bad Wolf Books Sale (BBW), the largest of its kind worldwide, is gearing up for a grand return at the Tropicana Gardens Mall from Dec 7 to 23, 2023.
Running daily from 10am to midnight, the event promises close to two million books spanning every imaginable genre, style and tone, and promises to cater to diverse literary tastes.
As part of the “Book Revolution”, BBW is taking a stand against rising book prices and shrinking bookstores by offering discounts ranging from 50% to 90%. Books will be available at prices as low as RM9.90.
To engage a broader audience, the sale will offer over 50 local publishers, striving to convert non-readers into passionate book enthusiasts and, as the group asserts, “Change the World One Book at a Time”.
Responding to the growing popularity of comic books, the sale will showcase over 2,000 graphic novel titles, more than triple the amount featured in previous editions, aiming to captivate book lovers of all types and ages.
Beyond books, the event promises additional attractions, including a “Movie Corner” that will be hosted by Malaysia’s leading cinema online and a multiplex cinema operator, Golden Screen Cinemas Sdn Bhd (GSC) with exclusive film-related merchandise.
Additionally, there will also be a “Candyland Carnival” for those with a sweet tooth and a Laiyan Land Rover Coffee Truck for caffeine enthusiasts.
Speaking at the press conference on Nov 30, Big Bad Wolf Books Sdn Bhd co-founder and ED Jacqueline Ng said the group’s mission is to change the world by ensuring books are affordable and accessible to everyone, particularly those facing financial constraints.
With the group evolving its business, the group realised that one of the issues Malaysia faces is the low reading habit.
“We would be unable to achieve our mission if we do not get to our non-readers as only 5% out of 95% Malaysians read.
“Thus, we plan to bring the books to the people right where the masses are, inside a shopping mall, through this event,” she said.
On the other hand, its CEO Andrew Yap noted that the event serves as a catalyst for transformation, challenging the traditional model in response to rising book prices and the diminishing presence of bookstores.
“We want to show to the publishers that if we have the volume, we can bring the prices lower and get the remaining 95% of the population to read. So, imagine if 90% of the world population reads, how big the industry can be.
“We took that revolutionary step and made an effort to prove to publishers that the volume is there,” he said.
Ng also clarified the differences between BookXcess and BBW, explaining that both serve distinct roles within the group.
While BookXcess functions as the group’s primary bookstore with 22 locations nationwide, offering curated experiences tailored to specific demographics, BBW stands out as the massive annual book fair accessible to individuals from all walks of life.
Addressing profit sustainability with discounted offerings, he said BBW effectively navigates the challenge through its specialisation in the remaindered book industry.
Engaging with overprint books and excess stocks allows the group to curate an extensive collection for its annual book fair event.
Despite its mission to make books affordable and accessible, BBW operates as a commercial entity rather than an NGO, without reliance on charity, foundation support or grants. The company strategically tightens its margins and emphasises cost management.
Having expanded operations to 15 countries, BBW’s significant market presence positions it as a top buyer, granting substantial bargaining power with suppliers. This leverage enables the group to negotiate reasonable reprint prices at a volume advantageous for both parties.
Addressing the group’s future plans, Yap shared that the current focus is on organising the sale at the newest venue, Tropicana Gardens Mall.
Looking ahead, the group envisions a return to the operational hours of the Big Bad Wolf Books Sale being 24 hours, reminiscent of the pre-pandemic times, once stability is restored.
- This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition