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Big Bad Wolf 2020 – Malaysia’s Largest Book Sale Goes Online

Since 2009, Malaysian bibliophiles and book hoarders have made their annual pilgrimage to the Big Bad Wolf Sale, which is held every year around Feb/Mac or Nov/Dec and is touted as the largest book sale in the region. The last time I went in 2018, they had over 3 million titles!

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Buang balik #2018

Due to the pandemic, many events have had to be cancelled – so the BBW won’t be held physically this year. They are, however, having an online sale, so you can still shop for books from the comforts of your own home. The sale went live at midnight on Nov 4, and will run until Nov 11 (which is shorter than the usual BBW which usually runs for 2 weeks).

Now, although BBW and BookXCess (BBW’s parent company) has been around for some time, they’ve always been more of a brick-and-mortar business – as evidenced by their bookstores, which are all beautifully designed as ‘lifestyle hubs’ where you can sip on a coffee, work, study, etc. There is of course nothing wrong with this; I personally prefer physical bookstores and the joy of finding an awesome book hidden in a corner shelf , getting to inhale the smell of paper, touch the sleek edges of the page. Hmm.

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The BookXCess store at Tamarind Square, Cyberjaya is the largest bookstore in Malaysia, and it operated 24 hours a day (pre-pandemic)

But we are living in uncertain times, and many businesses have had to accelerate their digital processes and shift to a more online-centric model to cater to shifting consumer needs/demands. BBW’s first online sale will be a test as to how well it’ll be able to cope. So far, there seem to be a lot of teething problems.

Since going live at midnight, many users have complained that the website is inaccessible – probably due to the sheer amount of web traffic which is overloading their servers. When they do get in, some have problems creating an account, while others can’t browse because titles are not showing up on the pages. Still others have said their cart turns up empty after they’ve selected the items they want to purchase, and some users haven’t been able to checkout at all.

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I’m part of a local book group on FB, and these are just some of the frustrated comments:

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Curious, I went to the website myself at around 11AM today. It loaded fine at first…

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But upon trying to register for an account:

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Tried again at 12.40PM and managed to get a form to fill up, but after filling it up and pressing ‘create account’, it cleared my data and requested for me to fill up my details again.

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BBW has at least acknowledged they’re having problems on their page.

Now I’m not trying to be mean here or say that they’re doing a shit job – I’m sure their IT department is working round-the-clock to resolve these issues, and despite how some people have commented that “Oh you should have been prepared knowing that there will be many people surfing your website”, I know Murphy’s Law applies – you can prepare for every possibility in the world, but things that will go wrong will go wrong.

But I also understand the frustration on the consumer’s side – one comment said it took them an hour to register an account, an hour to browse and select their books, and another hour to checkout because they had to keep refreshing the page – a total of four hours. In a digital-savvy world of instant gratification and convenient online shopping, four hours just doesn’t cut it.

That being said, there are also customers like these – which is when you know you’ve done something right with your brand:

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If you do manage to get in, BBW 2020 does have great discounts, up to 90% off on 40,000 titles and with over two million books on sale. They also provide free shipping on orders above RM180. If you’re buying above RM300, you’re entitled to a further 10% discount with the code BBW10% off.

Anyway, I hope they manage to sort things out soon because I do think that they are doing a good thing – which is bringing books to customers. There are also many pros to going online, namely avoiding the crowd of shoppers and the massive traffic jams that are a signature of BBW sales every year.

PS: I initially wanted to browse some of the titles, but perhaps this is for the best seeing as I have a TBR pile from AS FAR BACK AS 2013 LMFAO I HATE MYSELF WHY AM I LIKE THIS LOL.

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These were from 2018. I have only managed to finish the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time wtf. Kill me.

Have you ordered books from the Big Bad Wolf Sale 2020? How was your experience?

Why You Should Visit The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale : Kuala Lumpur 2018 Edition

Most Malaysians will be familiar with the name Big Bad Wolf by now. Founded in 2009, the massive book sale event sees millions of titles going for low, low prices, sometimes up to 90% off. The majority are remaindered books (ie unwanted new books sold by publishers to retailers at a lower price), in various genres – mostly in English, but also Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese.

The sale is currently ongoing until December 17 at the Mines International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Seri Kembangan. For book lovers, this is the perfect opportunity to grab as many as possible! 🙂 One unique thing about the BBWS? They are open 24 hours – so you can basically waltz in at 12AM for a spot of midnight shopping, when the crowds are less.

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I went on a Sunday and it took me well over an hour just to get into the vicinity, and even then I had to park two blocks away at The Mines 2. Be prepared for extremely bad traffic and a lack of parking spaces, because The Mines is in a neighbourhood area and the roads are ill-equipped to handle a large amount of traffic. Maybe try Grab instead to avoid getting stuck in the jam.

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Heaven.

There are over 3 million books on sale, stretching from one end of the gargantuan hall to the other. Books are separated according to language and genre, piled on smaller ‘islands’ for easy browsing. You can get a trolley or a basket from the entrance – some people even bring their own suitcases!

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I visited the sale in 2017 and got some pretty good titles, so I was looking forward to a new haul. A little disappointed as there were not many horror and science fiction offerings. Only saw one Stephen King book, the same one I got last year. 😦 They did have a nice selection of non-fiction though, especially history books. There’s also a section dedicated to graphic novels and comics.

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Most of the books were wrapped in plastic, which I didn’t find environmentally friendly. Before, the books were sold ‘naked’.

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Satisfied with my haul, I then had the arduous task of lugging them back to my car two blocks away. First, a quick massage.

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What I got this year: a good mix of non-fiction and fiction! Successfully stayed under budget – RM97.20 for eight books. Most of the books were about RM10 or RM12. Still at least 70% cheaper than buying them from regular bookstores, which would cost upwards of RM40.

I was pysched to see a copy of the Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon – we used this for our Creative Writing studies in college. It’s told through the perspective of an autistic boy, who is determined to investigate the murder of his neighbour’s dog.

Other titles: 

  • Mafia Brotherhoods by John Dickie
  • The Pope & Mussolini by David I. Kertzer – attracted because apparently this won a Pulitzer prize
  • Dancing with the Tiger by Lili Wright – about drug dealing and artifact smuggling in Mexico
  • Time 85 Years of Great Writing – a compilation of Time articles
  • The Good Shufu by Tracy Satler 
  • The Art of Joy by Goliarda Sapienza
  • The Infidel Stain by MJ Carter 

Yes, sadly, no horror titles. But I still have a couple of them bought from last year’s sale that I haven’t read. 😛 Aiming to finish my H.P Lovecraft collection sometime in the near future lolol.

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Happy Reading!

Big Bad Wolf Sale 2017, The Mines Convention Center

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I think I have compulsive book buying disorder. 

… there’s no such thing, I just made that up. xD They should have a term for it though – that high feeling when you buy new books and smell the pages. Euphoric.

Yes, yes, I know I’ve said I’m not going to buy new ones until I’ve finished my previous purchases, but the call proved too strong for me to resist.

So it was that I found myself at the annual year end Big Bad Wolf Sales at Mines International Convention Center in Seri Kembangan. From 9 to 19 December, the place will be open 24 hours – so you can shop at any time of day (or night!). There are loads of choices, from fiction to non-fiction, children’s books, Chinese/Malay language books, biographies, encyclopedias, references and more at up to 70% off. Granted, the prices are higher than before (now books cost Rm10 and above; a couple of years back they were RM5-8), they are still way cheaper than bookstore prices.

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My haul this time around – a good mix of horror, historical fiction and drama. I’ve already started reading Ha Jin’s War Trash. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish these and not add them to the growing list of books I have but haven’t read xD

If you’re looking for a bargain sweep, head on down to Mines for the BBWSale 2017! It ends on December 19.

 

The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2015

The BBW Book Sale (that’s Big Bad Wolf, you…) is an annual book sale held on a massive scale, where thousands of titles go for cheap.

I’ve been attending them religiously for the past few years, but as I still have many books left unread, I decided to skip it this year….

Or so I thought.

Bestie C wanted to go check it out, so we hopped on over to The Mines International Exhibition and Convention Center (MIECC) in Seri Kembangan after work yesterday.

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Maybe it was coz it was a weekday evening, but it felt more quiet than usual. Past events have always had long queues of people even before entering the hall, and you’ll see crowds of people sitting cross-legged on the floor with their luggage bags containing their purchases. The first few years, they asked you to bring your own cardboard boxes but now they provide small trolleys for visitors, which is much more convenient.

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A heaven for book lovers!

They rearranged the layout, which had me confused. The counters were at the far end and the fiction/non-fiction section had been switched from last year. You can tell they’re way more ‘commercialised’ now. I used to be able to walk around in peace without getting accosted by credit card staff asking me to sign up every 10 metres. :/

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Upstairs is the F&B section for those wanting a quick break between shopping. Did I mention that the fair is open 24 hours? You know… for when you get the urge to buy some books at 3am.

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Guess it isn’t just tolls, bills, electricity, water.. (and everything else) that’s increasing. Even my beloved book prices have increased too. 😦

Although they are still relatively affordable, most of the books are now priced at RM10 -12 instead of RM5-8 like in previous years.

I was disappointed at their non-fiction selection, because there weren’t many titles to choose from. The columns of books stacked on neat islands were mostly the same books. Fiction was slightly better. but I couldn’t find many good Horror titles. They had upwards of 8 columns dedicated to Romance alone.. guess chiclit sells more than some gory Stephen King (who, incidentally, is my favourite author :))

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After three hours, I got just two books. I wouldn’t put it down to better self control: I think it’s because this year’s titles were just not attractive enough. I didn’t find many books that I liked or where I felt like OMG-I-HAVE-TO-HAVE-THIS. Last year I bought almost 30 in one go.

Titles: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory – historical fiction on the Plantagenets, who ruled before the Tudors. I love stories from the English middle ages, and Gregory writes it in a style that is easy to understand and match with actual events and characters in history. This book centers around Elizabeth Woodville, grandmother to one of the most infamous kings in England: Henry VIII.

Collector’s Book of Science Fiction by H.G Wells – I’m sure most of us have seen War of the Worlds, but I’m ashamed to say that I still haven’t read the famous novel. The book I got has a few of his stories thrown together, so looking forward to reading them. 🙂

 

 

The Big Bad Wolf Sales will be on until Dec 14. So if you’re looking to fill up your library, here’s a good place to get some bargains.