Dubai: People pushing cartloads of books, while some could barely carry their hoards in their arms; individuals lining up in long queues at the counter and children running around, picking up more books to add to their pile.
These were the scenes as packs of book hunters thronged to the 3rd edition of ‘Big Bad Wolf Books’ on Friday night and Saturday morning at Dubai Studio City.
The 11-day event, which runs 24 hours daily until April 24, is known as the world’s biggest book sale. There are more than one million (English and Arabic) books on offer, with discounts between 50 to 80 per cent off the recommended retail price.
Welcoming the huge turnout of visitors, Andrew Yap, co-founder and managing director of Big Bad Wolf Books, told Gulf News: “It’s really amazing to see families from all nationalities coming here and kids getting excited with books. You see them running around excited and choosing books on their own. That’s an amazing scenario that never happens. Kids having a free reign to choose what they want and how many they want. That alone will shape the future of our world.”
Yap said the queue at the counter led all the way back to the entrance. “What we’re seeing today is a testament to what the market wants. It’s not true that nobody wants to read. People – and children specially – want to read. Just put the books in front of them and make them accessible,” he added.
Yap told Gulf News his mission was to go around the world and offer “affordable and accessible” books. From a humble beginning in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (hometown of Yap), back in 2009, Big Bad Wolf Books today is present in 34 cities across 13 countries and territories, including Malaysia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, and the UAE.
Global reading movement
Yap is proud the success of Big Bad Wolf has “defied pessimism about the printed word’s future”.
“We have always wanted to change the world, one book at a time and build a new generation of readers. The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is not just about selling books, but a global reading advocacy organisation. Purchasing a book should not be luxury item or a privilege but a right regardless of status,” he added.
Why Big Bad Wolf?
The ‘real’ Big Bad Wolf is a recurring villain character from children’s fairy tales. Yap said the name was “creatively adapted to attract young readers with the iconic fairy-tale character that their parents are familiar with".
The name struck a chord among customers and became a global brand. Over the years, Big Bad Wolf Books has served more than five million happy bookworms and sold more than 30 million books worldwide, and the fairy tale antagonist was turned into a global reading advocate.
Hunt is on
Big Bad Wolf Books premiered in Dubai in 2018. There was, however, a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. This year, the book sale is back with a bang – with over one million books on offer. Entry to the event is free and the venue at Dubai Studio City is open 24 hours, until April 24.