THE BIG BAD TOUR kicked off with a parade at Parqal on May 16.

FOLLOWING a big comeback in 2023 after the pandemic paused physical operations, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is set to return to Manila with 2 million books — this time at a bigger, newer venue. It will be held from May 24 to June 2 at Parqal Mall, Aseana City, in Parañaque City.

Like previous editions, this year’s aims to offer more bargains for bookworms of all ages, according to founder Jacqueline Ng.

“Big Bad Wolf is expanding. Of course, we took a step back during the pandemic when events were not allowed, but now we are back,” said Ms. Ng at the media launch on May 16.

“The mission of adding 1 million new readers never changed from when we started in 2009. It began with the goal to increase readership in Malaysia, but now we bring children’s books at a low price worldwide so that kids all over will read,” she added.

On the move to Parqal, the Big Bad Wolf team explained that the brand-new mall (a stone’s throw away from SM Mall of Asia and Ayala Malls Manila Bay) has a vast, sweeping space that many have yet to discover. It also boasts over 1,500 free parking slots.

The book sale aims to nurture literacy, enhance reading comprehension, and instilling a love of reading among Filipinos of all ages. It will go to six cities in the Philippines this year, though the exact locations are not yet final.

Fatima Aliah Dimaporo, the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s legislative affairs undersecretary, who attended the event, emphasized the correlation of poverty and literacy in the Philippines.

“There is a clear correlation between education and poverty reduction. Studies around the world showed that increasing access to education can lead to better opportunities,” she said.

“This is why we have implemented programs to aid the members of underprivileged communities through education, in collaboration with Big Bad Wolf and the Malaysian embassy.”

Like last year’s comeback edition, the book sale will no longer be open for 24 hours like it used to be pre-pandemic. Now it will run from 10 a.m. to midnight and there will be meet-and-greets with authors, storytelling sessions, and interactive events peppered throughout the day.

Ms. Ng told BusinessWorld that, despite digitalization, the overwhelming social media landscape, and post-pandemic economic upheavals, they are optimistic that Filipinos will remain big readers.

“So far, Filipinos really like to read, so we have no issue with any category. This market reads wide, and every genre is well-received, from fiction to non-fiction to children’s books,” she said.

Compared to the other five cities that the Big Bad Tour will go to this year, Manila also has the largest volume of books since it is the capital city. Major cities like Cebu and Davao are a close second.

Big Bad Wolf is also not concerned with the threat of e-books. Ms. Ng explained that big readers and curious readers will still prefer paper: “Customers who use e-books still have physical books as well. E-books are more for convenience, but they will have physical copies at home.”

She concluded with the effect that reading has on children.

“It’s not just about knowledge; it’s so much beyond that. For a child, reading really opens up their minds and teaches them creativity, passion, confidence. They start to ask questions, and that transforms their lives,” said Ms. Ng.

The book sale is collaborating with Metrobank, which offers a 0% three-month installment promo for purchases worth at least P3,000 for Metrobank cardholders.

The book sale takes place May 24 to June 2 at Parqal Mall in Parañaque. — Brontë H. Lacsamana