The Big Bad Wolf Experience
I’ve been to the Big Bad Wolf (BBW) sales since they started a few years back in a small warehouse at SS17, Petaling Jaya. The hall was only 1,000 sqft but it was filled with good quality books – books that you would not hesitate purchasing because it’s of good value and condition. I remember returning home that day with 2 boxes full of books and my mom thought I robbed a bookshop. The damage was RM240 for 40 books. I was pleased, very pleased.
As the years go by, the BBW sales got bigger and bigger expanding the book ranges to a wider choice with more quantity of each title. It was amazing… for a while. Because last year (2012) onwards, I was starting to get disappointed with each trip. The book titles were not as new, the condition of the books was not as good, and having more than 10million repeated book titles at one spot simply wasn’t a good shopping idea.
The sights of people walking around with boxes of books could be inspiring. But when luggage bags started popping out on the aisle, knocking ankles as they were pulled along, I was agitated. Even more so when I saw people mistreating the books right as they went along shopping for books. They picked up one, put them down roughly, bending the pages and covers as they went along. Such disgrace! I think book sales are really meant for book lovers; they know how to respect the books more. These book lovers buy because they really want to read, not because it is cheap – which I think is important in respect of the authors.
During the initial years, each book was stacked up high with its cover clearly visible. I really liked that idea because with so many books lying around, captivating visual covers became the best eye catcher (that leads me to read the synopsis). Those are the ones I would potentially pick up to consider purchase.
Now the books are arranged side by side with only the titles facing up from the book spine. Screening through became harder and less captivating. So now, I ran my finger through each book spine to read its title and author’s name. I believe I do miss out on some good books by doing this because by the time I reached book number 10,000th, my eyes have gone lazy on me. So I chose lesser books than before.
I used to purchase 50++ books during the BBW sales a few years back, all of which would be my reading materials for the year. As they grew bigger, my purchase grew smaller. I was getting disappointed with the whole kiasu experience that comes with rushing mad shoppers who were there simply because there was a tremendous good deal for books. Where has the appreciation of good books gone? Are books simply to be purchased because they are cheap?
As a reader, if you are not going to read it, you may as well not have it taking up space in your room; someone else would probably appreciate it more than you do. And as a writer, I rather sell lesser books knowing that the books that got sold are not just sitting on a shelf but have been well read by readers who know how to appreciate my effort. With that, I hope that even as you pick up the next book at the BBW sales, you would ask yourself, “Am I getting this book because I really want to read it, or simply because it is cheap and it would be silly if I don’t buy it.” – because your intention makes a whole lot difference to other readers and writers out there.
Originally written by Gina Yap Lai Yoong