2018 Apr 24
Good news for all reading buffs out there across the country – the world’s biggest book sale, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, is coming back to Sri Lanka for the second time! Last year’s inaugural sale took place in October, and to eager readers’ joy, it has been brought forward to June 2018 this time around.
The sale brings with it an awe-inspiring selection of books for all ages at fantastic discounts. It promises to be even bigger and better this year, no doubt delighting avid readers who look forward to shopping to their hearts’ content. Below are excerpts of an interview to check out what the sale has in store this June with Big Bad Wolf Books Founder/Managing Director Andrew Yap, Director of ProRead Lanka Ltd. Nishan Wasalathanthri and Big Bad Wolf Books Malaysia Partner Dipak Madhavan, who are all behind this mega initiative.
Q: Everyone is excited that the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is coming back to Sri Lanka this year. Can you tell us how the Big Bad Wolf was formed and how it got its name?
Andrew Yap – We launched the very first Big Bad Wolf Book Sale in 2009, and ever since then it has really taken off, gaining popularity for our large-scale events across the region, in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. Following its success, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale was officially recognized as the world’s biggest book sale in 2011. For us, however, it is more than just selling books to the public. It’s about empowering a whole new generation, reviving their confidence, and improving their English and level of knowledge with our books. We want our readers to realize that they can make a difference in the world.
The Big Bad Wolf got its name by being the ‘biggest’ and ‘baddest’ sale around. We created a bold, larger-than-life character to encourage children to come over with their families and explore the sale, with the aim of getting them to read more. There’s always something for everyone at the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale.
Q: The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is very unique in its own way and is a very successful event in countries across the region. What in particular makes this sale so special and well-loved?
Nishan Wasalathanthri – The highlights of this event are manifold – for one, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is the biggest of its kind to have ever been initiated in Sri Lanka. It’s also the only one of its kind to offer books at very affordable prices, with discounts between 60%-80%. The sale runs for 24 hours a day, non-stop for close to two weeks, making it one of the most exciting book events in the world today. It’s about the range of books as well – readers and book lovers will find over 1.5 million books covering 20,000 high-end English titles across all genres; from children’s books, fiction, non-fiction, literature, science and rare collector’s titles, to name a few. We’re also pleased to announce that it has received recognition from the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka.
Q: Last year, you noted that it was a challenge bringing down this event to the Sri Lankan public. Can you elaborate more on the challenges that you had to face?
Nishan Wasalathanthri – An initial challenge was the venue. If you’ve noticed, the Big Bad Wolf events that take place in other countries are held in mega venues, with the ability to accommodate huge numbers of books while allowing abundant browsing space for the visitors. Finding a place of that caliber was a challenge for us in Sri Lanka. However, this didn’t phase the Big Bad Wolf founders, as they were very encouraging and determined to ensure that the Sri Lankans would experience this sale in all its glory. We finally held the sale at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre (SLECC), where the sale will take place again this coming June. Another challenge last year was the logistics part of the entire initiative. We had to ensure that a huge number of books from various publishers could be brought over within a short time span, an as well as work out a pricing strategy to match local spending patterns. It was all very involved, and so was satisfying to see such a great turnout at the sale.
Andrew Yap – Nothing is a challenge if you have the passion and the vision to see it through. We really believe in the Big Bad Wolf Sale and see it as an important platform for general public to access high quality books and reading material at very affordable prices, so we always see it through the end that people get to enjoy reading with our sale.
Q: Since last year’s event was clearly a success, what highlights did you witness from that event, in terms of consumer demands in Sri Lanka?
Andrew Yap – We noticed a record number of visitors making a beeline for the Fiction Books section, which ended up being sold out! It was refreshing that Sri Lanka showed the highest demand for fiction books among our customers around the region. Of course, there was also a great deal of children’s books, which was another highlight of the event. We’re bringing an even bigger and better collection of books over for the sale this year, and hope to attract the same fans, along with new readers from all parts of the country to check out the sale in June.
Q: The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale last year also conducted a CSR programme in the process of the sale. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Andrew Yap – While we see the purpose of the sale itself as social responsibility; we also do what we can to empower our visitors with educational opportunities. Last year, we gifted school books and educational materials to Grade Five top scholarship scorers. Other institutions such as Promowatch, Nations Trust Bank and DSI also joined in and contributed to the donations. The young top scorers arrived with their parents and respective principals to witness their children receive this recognition, and it was a truly fulfilling moment. Another special thing we arranged was to let the children fill up a trolley with any books they wanted from the sale! It was a dream come true for some of them, and we were happy to be able to provide that opportunity for them. We look forward to carrying out more of these programmes in the near future.
Q: For the BBW Sale this year, do you have any tips you would like to share with those who anticipate visiting the venue in June?
Dipak Madhavan – We encourage all BBW enthusiasts to check out the books they can expect at the Sale on our Facebook page here. For those who not familiar with last year’s event, be prepared to do a lot of walking as you roam through the books! Dress comfortably and wear comfy shoes such as sneakers or flip-flops. In line with our focus on social responsibility, we also encourage everyone to be environmentally friendly and bring their own carrier bags, so as to refrain from using plastic. Another tip is to get special prices at the sale by registering as a member of the Wolf Pack on our membership page.