Books

How to Make the Most Out of the Big Bad Wolf Book Fair

Your guide to navigating one of the biggest book fairs in the world.
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We’re not kidding when we say the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is a bookworm’s paradise. It sells everything from children’s books to coffee table books at 60 to 80 percent off, and is known as one of the world’s biggest international book fairs.

And when we say big, we mean massive—it occupies the entire first floor of the World Trade Center. The sheer volume and variety of books can be pretty overwhelming when you first enter the venue. Make sure to allot at least four to five hours, or consider visiting more than once—after all, the fair will be open 24 hours from February 16 to 25. They’ll be replenishing their stocks, so you don’t have to worry about all the good titles disappearing on the first day.

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Make sure to bring wheeled luggage. As you enter, you can grab a shopping cart and place your luggage underneath so it’s out of the way. We’ve said this before, but it bears repeating—these books are so cheap, you’ll probably go home with at least 10 of them, minimum. And the coffee table books are a highlight of the fair—you can find beautiful tomes for as low as P480. The paperbacks and hardcover book prices start at P190, and we ourselves wound up buying around thirteen books for a total of P2,700.

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Heaven for history buffs

It’s fairly easy to navigate the space—there are huge banners indicating where the children’s, young adult, fiction and non-fiction books are. Parents, do not miss out on this book fair—the children’s section alone occupies a quarter of the venue. Each table bears smaller signs indicating subgenres like history, romance, religion, reference, cooking, etc.

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The Big Bad Wolf Fair is designed to make you re-experience the joy of browsing and discovering new books. This makes things tricky if you have a specific writer or title in mind—while the books are sorted by genre, they’re not alphabetized by author. This means you’ll probably encounter different titles by the same author at different tables. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though—it’s actually fun to take your time looking around for once. 

That said, the fair is really very well-organized. There’s a customer storage area, so when your cart is full you can deposit your books and go back for more. Most shoppers tend to crowd around the young adult and general fiction sections. The shopping carts are useful when you’re browsing the non-fiction area for gigantic hardcover books, but if you try to browse the fiction section with them, you’ll feel like a car crawling along EDSA. You’ll find yourself bumping or being bumped into by other carts, and awkwardly reaching over your cart to look at a book.

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Our advice: Go for the coffee table books in the non-fiction area first. Once you’ve deposited them at the customer storage area, abandon your cart and just carry as many paperbacks as you can. This way, you can quickly weave around the carts without stumbling into anyone. Remember not to peel the plastic off books—most of the titles have sample copies you can browse.

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The coffee table books being sold for amazingly low prices are the highlight of the fair

Paying is fairly quick—the cashier area occupies the entire tent next to the World Trade Center, and there are staff who will point you to the nearest available counter. If you run out of cash, they take credit cards too. At the exit, there are porters to help you carry your purchases. 

So don't be afraid of the Big Bad Wolf Fair—it's an incredible event you shouldn't miss.

This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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Angelica Gutierrez for Esquiremag.ph
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