Dubai: World's biggest book sale opens; here's what's new at Big Bad Wolf this year

Since the organiser now has a warehouse in the UAE, there will be more discounts and the team will be able to replenish books better


Nasreen Abdulla

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Photo by Shihab
Photo by Shihab

Published: Fri 7 Apr 2023, 5:24 PM

Last updated: Fri 7 Apr 2023, 11:00 PM

Hundreds of book lovers turned up early in the morning on Friday as the world’s largest book sale kicked off in Dubai today. The Big Bad Wolf (BBW), which is selling over a million books with discounts of up to 75 per cent, will be running until April 16, from 9am to 2am at Sound Stage in Dubai Studio City.

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Member of the Dubai Council, inaugurated the exhibition.

The event, she said, embodies the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. “By promoting a culture of reading and intellectual exchange, the exhibition helps realise the vision of His Highness which is centred on building a society that is inclusive, dynamic, and full of possibilities for all,” Sheikha Latifa added.

Indian expat Jiya drove all the way from Abu Dhabi to check out the sale on Day 1 along with her sister-in-law Deena and their children. “We attend the sale every year,” she said. “I woke up the kids early today and we picked up my sister-in-law from Dubai before coming here. I am glad schools are on holiday or else we wouldn’t have been able to make it so early.”

Deena said she loved the variety of books at BBW. “We have kids ranging from 7 to 13 years and we shop from various places for them throughout the year,” she said. “What I love the most about BBW is that you don’t have to go to different stalls or places. Every genre and every kind of book from self-help to fiction is available in the same place. Over the years, I have noticed that the selection has increased.”

According to Andrew Yap, co-founder of BBW, they have about 60 to 70 per cent new book titles as compared to last year. As BBW now has a warehouse in the UAE, he said the prices would reflect it.

“Definitely, it will bring our overheads lower,” he said. “We will have more discounts and we are able to replenish books better.”

Taxi driver Jameel had taken a break in between his work to come and check out the exhibition. “I wanted to buy a few children’s books to gift to some friend’s kids,” he said. “Also, I want to pick up some books to help me improve my English language.”

What's new in this edition?

This year, there are several new things at the sale. Books have been arranged in an elevated format, as opposed to the stacked format of previous years, making it easier for shoppers to browse through titles.

An ‘Unbelievable’ section has been added, which has books and posters for as low as Dh2. Customers can also buy gift vouchers for their friends and family.

Polish mother Mongosha was at the bookstore to buy titles for her 3-year-old daughter Maria. Riding her little bicycle, Maria was excited to browse through board books. “She still doesn’t speak a lot of English,” said Mongosha. “We speak Polish at home so I think these books will help improve her language.”

Having lived in the UAE or only six months, this was the first time the duo had visited BBW. “I am quite impressed with the variety of books,” she said. “I also want to pick up some things for my older son.”

Like last year, 20 per cent of the floor space has been dedicated to local publishers who are exhibiting a mix of both English and Arabic books. According to the organisers of BBW, they want to continue working with local and independent publishers to give a bigger platform to local writers over the next few years.

New parents Dastonbek Kholmatov and Karalieva Mokhinur were at the sale to shop for their baby girl. “We have brought around 15 books for her,” said Dastonbek. “We want to motivate her to read and take it as a habit.”

The Uzbek nationals said that they looked for board books with bright colours and had interactive features to attract the attention of their baby.


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