What kind of bazaar is Big Bad Wolf book sale?
During my visit to the first event in 2016, my impression was:
Wow, it completely surprised me :) It looks like a book warehouse, where millions of books pile up high on the counters. All books are imported books in English; where else in Indonesia do we see millions of titles in English? Double wow. Then came the best feature: the price is much cheaper than in the bookstore! Triple wow :)
Fast forward to 2023, three years after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that paused many on-site activities, including the Big Bad Wolf book sale event. For the past three years, Big Bad Wolf sold books through an online platform (Tokopedia.com). But, this year, Big Bad Wolf starts to sell books on-site like it used to be pre-pandemic :)
At Big Bad Wolf, you can find a wide range of books catering to different genres, including activity and coloring books for children, young adult novels, fiction and non-fiction books, romance, thriller, reference books, self-help guides, cookbooks, graphic novels, picture books, books on architecture and design, business and economics, religion, and many more. Over the years, we have seen more books in Bahasa Indonesia. On the other hand, English books are dominated by activity and coloring books for young children. In the Young Adult section, you will find classic books by Enid Blyton, the author of Famous Five, and books by Rick Riordan, the bestselling author of Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, and Heroes of Olympus. These books are also available in Bahasa Indonesia. Interestingly, Big Bad Wolf also stocks many language-learning books, including books to learn English, Mandarin, Korean, and more.
One thing I noticed in the Big Bad Wolf book sale was most of the books were not freshly published books. On one occasion, I saw many old magazines (based on their issue numbers). I also found an interesting book on mushroom cultivation that referred to 2012 data and was still predicting the 2015 outcome when we were in 2023! On the other hand, we felt so lucky when we found our favorite book, the Bone Code by Kathy Reich, which is a book published in 2021!
How much is a book, and how to get the price info? Previously, the price was tagged on the plastic wrap of every book. But now they only put an alphabet code on the plastic wrap, which you match with the price list. It is easy to locate the price list since they are on a stand with a bright color. The price starts from Rp. 10,000/book! Of course, the average price is much higher than that. For instance, a paperback English novel costs Rp. 80,000, a thin Mandarin myth storybook is priced at Rp. 45,000, and a box of bedtime storybooks costs Rp. 630,000, which is cheaper than the book price in any bookstore. No wonder many visitors filled their trolleys to the brim. Some even bought more than one book for each title. Big Bad Wolf receives payments in cash or non-cash, such as QRIS, debit cards, and credit cards. If you pay with a credit card, the sponsored bank offers a 0% installment when you reach a certain amount. Therefore, it is best to budget your spending before coming to this book sale, as you are the only one who can put a cap on how much you will spend here. A difficult decision though ;-)
Big Bad Wolf also keeps the section where they don't sell books. In Mall @ Alam Sutera, every side of the hall is used by sellers from well-known brands, such as Pendopo, Toys City, and Ataru. They sell stuffed toys, pillows, bags, stationery, clothes, and fancy items.
Getting inside the Big Bad Wolf book sale is fun, but getting out is a challenge. For starters, it takes time to browse through so many books. Second, often we have to face a long queue for paying the goods we purchase, despite the many cashiers there. The confusing queue is not helping either. Once you finish paying, show your receipt to the security at the exit door, who will match the receipt with your purchase. Due to the many books each visitor buys, this procedure often creates another long queue.
One last thing: if you live far from Alam Sutera in South Tangerang, Big Bad Wolf collaborates with J&T – a shipping company – to deliver books to your home or your chosen destination anywhere in Indonesia. So you don't have to worry about bringing heavy books with you; once you have paid the books, visit the J&T booth and ship the books :)