More than selling books

Font Size

IT ALL began in 2007 when bookstore founders Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng established a 500-square-meter bookstore called BookXcess where remainder books from international distributors were sold. It was located in a neighborhood mall in Malaysia, “where you hardly see any customer walk pass,” as Ms. Ng described.

Ms. Ng explained that books are a luxury among families in Malaysia where there is a small reading population.

“Everybody knows that anything important is expensive,” Ms. Ng said, during the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale press launch on Jan. 30 at Y Café in Makati City.

“The mission at that time was to bring the price of books as low as we could, so that you will not be a barrier for parents who wanted to buy books for the kids — to encourage the kid to read,” she explained.

Despite a limited budget, the couple started the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale in 2009 with 120,000 books. Today, it has grown to be the “world’s largest book sale.” In 2019, 750,000 visitors flocked to the book sale in Manila.

This year, the 24-hour book sale returns to Manila for the third time, from Feb. 14 to 24 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

This year, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale will be selling more than 2 million books with 33,000 titles — 17,000 of which are new titles. The books will be available at 50% to 90% off their recommended retail price. As part of its Crazy Deals promotion, markdowns as low as P60 will be introduced for the first time in Manila.

Returning in this year’s book sale are the Magical Books series with Augmented Reality (AR) technology. Twelve new titles will be available including Frozen: A Sleepover Party, and Winnie the Pooh: Fun with First Words. Two “come-to-life” puzzle sets will also be available for the first time: Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. There will also be a “buy five get one free” promotion on selected Magical Books. The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is the exclusive distributor in Asia for the Magical Book series.

For the duration of the book sale, one person will win the grand prize of a trolley full of books, while 20 daily winners will get P700 cash vouchers by joining social media contests and posting creative images on Facebook and Instagram.

As a part of the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale’s partnership with Gawad Kalinga since 2018, the book sale returns with the Red Readerhood program in bringing aid to communities in the Philippines. Visitors are encouraged to donate books at the Red Readerhood corner — the books will be distributed to communities, barangays, and public schools in Mindoro and communities affected by the Taal volcano eruption in Batangas. The 2020 Big Bad Wolf Book Sale will kick donations off with 1,000 books.

“The partnership is really built on our common desire to inspire greatness from each other. Doing good is not good enough. We need to do good with others so we can do greater things together,” said Jose Luis Oquiñena, Executive Director of Gawad Kalinga (GK). “So the whole idea of unleashing the imagination of the poorest, for us, was a critical step towards ending poverty.”

Last year, the Red Readerhood program was able to collect 16,123 books which were distributed to orphanages, public elementary schools, GK communities, and reading centers across the country.

The 24-hour book sale is also collaborating with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) for the first time “in a bid to foster a culture of respect for the copyright system while encouraging reading amongst Filipinos through accessible and affordable books,” a press release said.

With a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in December, IPOPHL and the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale will jointly launch programs and projects “to raise awareness and appreciation of the copyright system among authors, publishers, users, and the general public.”

During the 11-day sale, the IPOPHL will conduct information activities on how to maximize the value of copyright works. Creators and authors of various copyrightable works may register and deposit their work at the IPOPHL booth located at the lobby. They can fill up the copyright deposit form (provided at the booth), submit two hard copies or a digital copy of their original work, and pay a fee of P450 (

“One of our main goals is to develop the publishing industry in the Philippines, by providing them with the tools and knowledge to jumpstart their business,” said Emerson G. Cuyo, director IV of the Bureau of Copyright and Related Rights, during the press launch.

“With the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale being an international platform, we hope that we gain exposure for our information campaign for copyright enforcement and protection to spread awareness to the public,” he added.

“We are not about selling books to readers. We are talking about changing the whole society, and hopefully changing the mindset, and empower and inspire a child or even an adult to pursue a dream,” Ms. Ng said.

This year, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale aims to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and countries in Africa. Meanwhile, they also hope to expand to a fifth city in the Philippines after having held the sale in Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Angeles, Pampanga.

“We will continue to look at suitable cities and a venue if possible, to be able to benefit more Filipinos from this country,” Ms. Ng said.

The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale runs from Feb. 14 to 24. Admission is free. For more information, visit, and its official Facebook page at and Instagram @bbwbooksph. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman