FOR the first time ever, Malaysia’s Big Bad Wolf book sale has come to Manila to tempt book lovers with interesting volumes in many genres at low cost.
The sale is significant in many ways. Book fairs have been held annually for the past several years, but they are held over three to four days, perhaps a week, holding regular business hours, at retail or perhaps slightly lower than retail prices.
Big Bad Wolf is the first book sale that’s open 10 days, 24/7, at super-discounted prices. This means that call-center employees and other working folks, as well as those from outside Metro Manila, can come in at any time convenient to them. The low prices enable people to stock up and maximize their budget.
The reason the books are so cheap is because these are “remaindered” titles—unsold books that are being disposed of. So there weren’t a lot of bestsellers or new titles. I went at 10:00 p.m. about a week into the sale. I still found a lot of gems, particularly British imprints.
For fans of PG Wodehouse, I saw a few titles from his Blandings series. I didn’t see any of the Jeeves stories which are the more popular of his works. There were no Agatha Christies or other best-selling mysteries, but many works by lesser-known writers in the genre. There were quite a few classics, but the rather obscure ones—terrific if you’re looking to expand your reading repertoire.
I was happy to snap up two titles by Rumer Godden—“Coromandel Sea Change” and “The Peacock Spring”—on the Pan imprint that I haven’t seen for sale here in the Philippines in the past decade, though my mother did have many of their titles that she purchased in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
The first novel of Godden’s I read was “The Battle of Villa Fiorita” (1963), in a Reader’s Digest condensed format. “Two English children travel to Italy to rescue their wayward mother from her lover and save their family,” goes a Goodreads synopsis, and reading it as a child in the ‘70s I thought it empowering, as the young teenagers in the story had the agency to bring about the change they wanted. To have two more Godden novels to enjoy, thanks to the Big Bad Wolf sale, is a real treat.
There was a dizzying array of adult coloring books and craft and hobby books. I was glad to feed my other artistic interests, snapping up a stitch dictionary by Mary Webb—needlework books are few and far between here—and a drawing and painting guide by Hazel Harrison.
There are a great many children’s and young adult titles to choose from and this is a great opportunity for parents looking to set up their kids’ library. Fantastic bargains can be had in cookbooks, art, religious, and history books.
Writer Alex Alcasid and voice actor Jose Manuel Torres, both in their mid-20s, enjoyed their trip to Big Bad Wolf.
“What I liked about it,” said Alcasid, “was that there were so many books, so many selections, among them titles and authors I had not heard of before. The venue was spacious and everything was laid out by genre, which made it easy to browse. Every so often they would break open big boxes to restock so that there were no empty tables. The entire event was well organized.”
Torres was pleased at the affordability of the books. “I was able to get books I could not normally buy because of my budget.”
Today is the last day of the sale and if you haven’t gone yet, you have until midnight to do so. Happy book hunting!
Dr. Ortuoste is a writer and communications consultant. Facebook: @DrJennyO, Twitter: @jennyortuoste