Having visited the Big Bad Wolf book sale in Jakarta, I can't help comparing them. Many things are very similar but there are differences too. Talking about similarities, every Big Bad Wolf book sale is free for the public, i.e. the organizer doesn't charge any entrance fee. So, it feels like entering a huge bookstore :)
Initially, Big Bad Wolf opened non-stop during its event. So we could choose the most convenient time to browse the books. In most cases, we tried to visit when it had the least visitors, to avoid crowds and long queues at the checkout counters. However, after the Covid-19 pandemic, Big Bad Wolf book sale changed its opening hours. It is still open for long hours, but not twenty-four hours for several days straight. Now, it opens from nine in the morning to midnite.
As usual, the majority of the books sold are English books. Over the years, they also offer books in Bahasa Indonesia and languages books, such as Korean and Mandarin. There are many types of books, from self-help to children's books, history, references, graphic novels, cookery, photography, architecture, and designs. So, they cover both fiction and non-fiction. However, I noticed that over the years, young children's books such as board books, activity books, sticker books, and simple story books dominated the children's books section. At a closer look, although all of the books are brand new, they are old in terms of publication year, which means you will not find the latest New York Times best seller here.
Welcome to Big Bad Wolf Book Sale – Bandung!
Book hunting at Big Bad Wolf book sale Bandung.
Once you enter the venue, you will see a big room with many tables. Every table has a cardboard sign for the book category and the pricelist. Books are piled high on these tables. Usually, the books are neatly stacked, every book is individually plastic-wrapped, and on top is the sample book, which is free for us to read. Instead of a price tag, you can see a sticker on the plastic wrap. To know the price of the book, you match the alphabet on this sticker to the price list. On average, an English paperback novel is Rp. 80,000.
Since the space in Parahyangan Convention is not sufficient for all of these books, they also set up tables in the corridors and the tent (the tent is erected on the outdoor space between the convention center and the hotel). Hence, if you don't find books you like in the first room, move on to the next room. I don't think you will get lost if you follow the flow. At the end of these books labyrinth, you will find the cashiers. They are at the end of the tent.
Boxes of books waiting to be displayed at Big Bad Wolf Bandung.
Long queues to reach the cashiers at Big Bad Wolf Bandung.
Finish choosing the books? Be prepared to queue at the cashiers, which often takes a long time. Imagine people buying books in trolleys, and the cashier has to check out one by one. Finally, the last queue: securities will check and match your receipt to the books you buy. They will check your bag too. Therefore, you might want to find the best time for your visit, i.e. least customers so it is comfortable to find the books you like and short to no queue when paying. However, please consider your safety too. For example, when I visited Big Bad Wolf Bandung on Friday afternoon, the hotel parking lot was full, so I had to park on the street. Would you be comfortable leaving the car there at midnight and walking to the venue?
Tired of hunting books? Take a break at the impromptu cafe by Mason Pine Hotel. They are under the tents in the front yard of the hotel.