Big Bad Wolf eyeing push of local books, authors
Published on February 22, 2019
The Big Bad Wolf returned to the Philippines with a vengeance on Thursday and if its VIP opening is any indication, it will match (if not exceed) its massive turnout last year. But the world’s biggest traveling book fair has a trick up its sleeve: Big Bad Wolf won’t be just a book fest for readers, it’s planning to be a bigger force for authors too.
Ms. Jacqueline Ng, Executive Director of Malaysian bookstore chain BookXcess Sdn Bhd., and organizer of the Big Bad Wolf, said the very business model of the Big Bad Wolf is all about giving a second chance to authors and books overlooked at first sight.
“This year is our 10th year in business, and as you know we sell what you call ‘remainder books’, unsold and overprints. These books were those being removed from the shelves , but what we do is we push these out in the market again. We’re giving them a second lease in life but at a much lower price. With that very low price point, and by bringing these books to these markets, we’re allowing introducing these authors to new audiences, and readers are discovering new writers too,” Ms. Ng explained.
Ms. Ng, who runs BooksXcess with her husband Mr. Andrew Yap, explained the exposure of new and fledgling authors are significantly boosted because the price point is enough to expand readers’ taste in books and authors. Readers who are otherwise already set in their preferences are encouraged to risk trying new books because it’s so affordable.
But apart from being an extended platform for unknown authors in their business model, the Big Bad Wolf is looking at putting the limelight on local authors in a much bigger way.
“As we got bigger, we initiated collaboration with local publishers to encourage promotion of the local authors. In Malaysia where we started, we collaborated with a local publisher who featured 8-10 local writers during the Big Bad Wolf event. There was a book launch and signing during the event for them. These are local authors who may not be known so it really gave them a jumpstart,” Ms. Ng added.
The collaboration with Filipino publishers and authors may still be some ways ahead considering the book fair is just in its second run here, but definitely there will be a collaboration as ties strengthen.
“We believe that in every country we go to, we have to be involved. We’re promoting English literacy but at the same time we can never forget the local language and culture. We see the strong need to be able to promote that as well. We always welcome collaboration with local publisher but the extent of how well we collaborate depends on how they get to know us,” said Ms. Ng, citing the case of Indonesia where they already have that broader partnership with local publishers and authors.
For the 2019 run, BBW has partnered with two local publishers Adarna House and Phoenix Publishing for them to have their own pop-up store outside the main BBW sale area.
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines lauded this expanding support of Big Bad Wolf to authors, as it supports its mandate to ensure copyright of authors are upheld,and more creative and literary works are produced.
“This event, in partnership with the Big Bad Wolf, provides a rare opportunity for bookworms to acquire books written by wonderful authors at huge discounts. May this event promote a culture of readership, and stirs the desire to keep on acquiring knowledge,” said IPOPHL Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua.
While the massive book sale is still in its early days in the Philippines, it’s already a mainstay in other markets: apart from Malaysia, the BBW has made pit stops in Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.
Ms. Ng said they have a long-term commitment for the Philippine market.
This year, 2 million books are being offered at the World Trade Center in Pasay, from February 22 to March 4, at discounts ranging from 50 % to 90 %.