Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Earlier this year, tidying up guru Marie Kondo sparked a hot debate online about hoarding and discarding books. Though the conversation has branched out into so many other discussions and prompted Kondo to speak up and clear her own stand (she says if you love books, you don’t have to get rid of them), one thing was made clear — a lot of people still have deep and personal relationships with their books. This was also evident in the turnout of last year’s Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, dubbed the world’s biggest book sale, where about 250,000 visitors flocked to score books at low prices. For such book-lovers, there is cause for celebration: the book sale is back in Manila, and this time it’s bigger and better.
Big Bad Wolf 2019 will be in Manila for 11 days non-stop from Feb. 22 to March 4, promising two million titles at 50 to 90 percent off.
“Learning from last year’s sale here in Manila, we’ve come back with better selection of books specially curated based on customer’s response and demand,” shared Big Bad Wolf founder Andrew Yap. “This year, Filipino readers can expect to find more fiction books from authors such as J.K. Rowling, Paulo Coelho, Rick Riordan, and more.”
Aside from novels, the sale also has a wide selection of cookbooks, architecture books, art and design books, business books, self-help books, music and entertainment books, and of course, like last year, children’s books.
“There's a saying that goes ‘a book is a gift that you can open several times,’” said Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines Deputy Director General Teodoro Pascua at the preview day for media and VIP pass holders. “It's a gift that keeps on giving you that desire, that excitement to open and read, commune with the one who wrote it.”
CNN Philippines Life took some time to explore the book sale that day and over the long weekend, and we have prepared a list of things to expect, and some tips to maximize your book shopping.
Expect a lot of children’s books again — including AR ones
Similar to last year’s run, the sale carries a lot of options in the children’s books section. However, a new addition caught our eye: Augmented Reality (AR) books. The Big Bad Wolf book sale is Asia’s biggest seller of the Little Hippo AR books for children, whose pages “come to life” via a free downloadable app for mobile phones and tablets.
It works like this: You download the Hippo Magic app on your phone, scan the front page of any Hippo Magic book with your camera, and download the “book.” Certain pages inside have a sticker which, when scanned, make the artwork pop into 3-D with characters talking to the user. We were actually a little surprised by how seamless and user-friendly the experience was, and we expect that a lot of parents will grab these titles.
Take advantage of the sale’s large selection of classic lit
Italo Calvino said that “Every rereading of a classic is as much a voyage of discovery as the first reading.” Whether you’d like to revisit the joy of reading a book that resonated in your youth, or are just starting to build your library, the large selection of canon and modern classics might be the best place to start. Here you’ll find titles from the likes of Aldous Huxley, Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemingway, Emily Bronte, Arthur Conan Doyle, Franz Kafka, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Oscar Wilde; the list goes on.
There are also tons of box sets, tin sets, and fandom books
Aside from several box sets from fiction series authors like George RR Martin, James Dashner, Rick Riordan, and many more, there are also lots of tin sets for Star Wars, Disney, Marvel, and Harry Potter fans that feature a mix of storybooks, posters, stickers, and activities. We found a lot of new books supplementary to the Harry Potter series, like “J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World: Movie Magic” series.
Time your visits right
With books priced so low — most novels cost around ₱190 to ₱230 — it’s no surprise to see carts and even maletas stuffed with titles from all genres. Last year, we checked out the book sale on the last day and found that there was a limited selection left, with almost all fiction books wiped out.
Though there will be two million books up for grabs this year — and we can attest to their promise of more choices in fiction — it’s still advisable to make it out as soon as you can. But be wary of everyone else who wants first dibs on new books: Expect people to head to the venue after work and school, meaning the crowd could swell from 8 p.m. onwards. Our suggestion is to visit the fair after 3 a.m.
We visited the fair a total of three times: first on the VIPs’ preview day, and twice over the long weekend. On the last day, we stayed until 4 a.m. Though there were still a lot of people at that time, it wasn’t as stressful as, say, the malls in December.
Bring a lot of cash
The book sale promises credit/debit card terminals, and with a PayMaya booth in the lobby shoppers can even pay through their phones. However, it’s always better to come prepared, and that means bringing a lot of cash.
There are two ATMs in the lobby; however, both machines were under repair the last two times we were there. Our debit card also wasn’t working with the cashier, and when we went out looking for nearby ATMs and banks, the options were a bit of a hassle to get to. Don’t let these little technology hiccups keep you from bringing home all the books you want.
Avoid bringing a car
Yes, a car is definitely helpful, especially if you’re planning on hauling bagsful of books and other items. But, although there is parking available at the venue, the influx of attendees coming in and out of the World Trade Center might cost you some time stuck in traffic — precious time you could be spending looking for more books.
Expect to be in line for a while
Speaking of time, expect to spend a lot of it waiting in line. Though the sale has an army of quick and efficient cashiers, the sheer volume of shoppers causes the payment line to snake across the entire venue. We spent about an hour lined up (and this was at 2 a.m.). It’s not all that bad though, since it’ll still give you a chance to go through the piles once more and add a few more books to your cart. You can also use the time to read the first few chapters of your potential purchases to determine whether you really want to buy them.
Watch out for contests
Don’t get too caught up sifting through the book piles — watch out for contests happening at the venue everyday, where 20 lucky winners will be selected. There will also be one massive grand prize: a bookshelf worth of books.
The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale takes place from Feb. 22 to March 4, 2019 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. The sale is open 24 hours a day. Admission is free.