Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng – the founders of the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, known as the World’s Biggest Book Sale are a husband and wife duo behind the brand.
Andrew and his wife Jacqueline started their journey in 2006 with BookXcess, a small bookstore dealing in remaindered books from international distributors. A few years into the business, the founders realized that the demand for physical books was rising and people were more inclined to buy a book when the price is right. Being in the remainder book business, they were able to keep the prices of the books low and affordable.
In 2009, the founders decided to go big and host a pop-up book sale that would offer books of various genres, up to 90% off their recommended retail prices. Thus, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale was born.
The Sale became an instant success, becoming an annual event that managed to cultivate a growing interest in books among its visitors. In 2011, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale rolled out its largest offering yet, with 1.5 million books on offer in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia over a span of 11 days, gaining the title of the World’s Biggest Book Sale.
In 2016, the Sale began to venture outside Malaysia, with its first international sale in Indonesia and Thailand.
As of 2018, it has been to 16 cities in 7 different countries, including Malaysia. The sale has had a presence in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates. This year (2019), the Sale was also introduced in Myanmar for the first time.
The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale believes in changing the world one book at a time. Could you give us a little background about how the idea to organize a Book Sale came about?
The idea came to us while we were running our bookstore. BookXcess sold remaindered books at 50% – 80% discounts.
We realized that there was a high demand for quality English books, but buying a book can be expensive, especially if it is a hardcover book. We believe that everyone should have access to knowledge.
Statistics say that only 3% of the world population can access or afford books and we wanted to change that. So in 2009, we decided that we’ll organize an event that sold books at up to 90% off their recommended retail prices.
After an instant success that year, we decided to organize it as a yearly event in Malaysia. Over the years, thanks to the support of our customers, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds. We’re now able to bring the book sale to different parts of the world, with Lahore, Pakistan as our next destination!
How did you decide to make this book sale a 24-hour event?
We decided on a 24-hour concept when customers shared their feedback that they are unable to make it because of work and other commitments. By the time they are able to make it, the sale is almost closing. As a result, they don’t have the opportunity to drop by.
We then decided to introduce a 24-hour book sale and see how our customers respond. Surprisingly, many customers thanked us for making the sale run 24 hours. Yes, it wasn’t easy and it was quite a challenge at the beginning. In most countries that we’ve been to, we do see customers coming through our doors late at night or in the wee hours of the morning. Some even come in their work uniforms after working the graveyard shift. So, the 24-hour concept gives all visitors the opportunity to enjoy the Sale at any time of the day, at their convenience!
What are the things you hope to challenge or overcome by bringing this event to Pakistanis?
We are on a mission to change the world through books. We hope to see an improvement in the English literacy rates wherever we go. While staying true to our mission, we want to continue to provide affordable, brand-new English books here in Pakistan.
We noticed that original books are not always easily accessible here, and not usually in great variety. On top of that, there are many copies of fake and pirated books in the market too. We want to provide Pakistani readers with a larger variety of book choices ranging from fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books. That’s why the books at the Sale are all original and new, available at heavily discounted prices – 50% – 90% off their recommended retail prices.
What are some of the type of books that parents can expect at the Sale that can encourage children to read more?
There is a huge collection of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books available at the Sale, 1 million books, to be exact. For infants, toddlers and young children, we’ve got board books, puzzle books, activity and sound books, Augmented Reality books and others. Young adult readers at the Sale can look forward to titles on topics like architecture, engineering, history, science, accounting, self-help, cooking, arts and crafts – we have something for every age group.
Augmented Reality (AR) books is a new technology used in books to make it more fun and interactive especially now where most children are at ease with using mobile devices. We call them “magic books”. Children who are born in the digital age today are often captivated by the movements, colors and music they see on their devices. With the introduction of AR books and the “come-to-life” feature, these books give children that “magical” feeling to see their favorite characters interacting with them. The children are enriched and entertained as they read these books. This is also a way to get children to love books from a young age – by rekindling the joy of reading because books can be fun too.
Book prices are generally increasing around the world as well as in Pakistan, where there isn’t a wide variety of quality English books available. What can book lovers in Pakistan expect from this Sale?
The Sale features the best from the world’s literary market. Visitors to the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale Lahore 2019 will have over one million English Language titles to choose from. The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is the biggest book sale in the World, successfully attracting hundreds of thousands of book lovers, occasional readers, students, families and avid shoppers around the world. The book sale also offers generous discounts to delighted book lovers, ranging from 50% – 90% off recommended retail prices. Readers can find bestsellers, fiction, romance, crime, thriller, non-fiction, novels, business books, art and design titles, cookbooks, and many more.
Book lovers should also be on the lookout for books by famous authors such as J.K. Rowling, Paulo Coelho, Rick Riordan and many more!