First Timer at the Big Bad Wolf 2020

I'm no stranger to book fairs; and this year, I've decided to give Big Bad Wolf a go. So, for Valentine's Day, Val and I braved the travel to the city to score new books despite the burgeoning novel coronavirus (COVID2019) threat.

First timer, on the first night of Big Bad Wolf 2020. Excited much!

Although this event is open for 24 hours, I bet you won’t have the entire day go around it because it genuinely is expansive. This year, sources tell me, the venue’s bigger to accommodate more titles. Some of my friends had told me they went back for a second or third time because of limited time to check everything out.

Since this is my time attending Big Bad Wolf, I can only share with you how the night went on inside this "massive book event".

Photo by Big Bad Wolf
Bigger, better books — one day is not enough. Photo from last year's Big Bad Wolf 2019 event.

Safety first

The news of the novel coronavirus is causing a stir around the world, in the Philippines though not so much yet. There are no stopping book lovers to attend this event. But as a precaution, we brought a supply of wet wipes, alcohol, and masks (which I accidentally dropped). Venue marshalls will check your temperature and sanitize your hands with alcohol. 

Busy reading those book cover blurbs.

Dine-in before

Can't stress this enough, but you really need to eat beforehand. With all the walking, standing, and reading, you'll lose track of time, as we did. We left the venue around 5:30 am because we don't want to get stuck in the morning rush hours. But before that, we grabbed breakfast and coffee at the food stalls by the east corner of the building entrance.

If you feel like you need a pick-me-up, you can have your hand stamped at the exit points and return inside when you're full.

Go in at the right time

Choosing dead hours seems like an ideal time to drop by at the event, but no. It’s midnight, and yet it’s still crowded. But I reckon there’s more on weekends and around day time.

Dress right

With the venue as big as World Trade, you’ll be walking and standing for hours, and those heels will not do. Wear your rubber soles. Those cashier queues almost seem like never-ending. If you must, bring a shawl or any thin outerwear if you get air conditioning shivers (like me).

Anti-shiver jacket, comfy shoes, sling bag — dressing right on point.

Know your books

Big Bad Wolf boasts over 30,000 titles to choose from — from fiction novels to comic books, to self-help, to business books, to reference books, to autobiographies, to cooking books, to children's books boxed sets.

The books are neatly stacked on the tables. If you've been to Costco in the US, the setup looks the same. And as you enter the venue, you can see the book category banners, so you know where you're heading to (or back).

This year I'll invest in non-fiction and some novels. I have a running Books To Buy list, and I never found any of them when I dropped by.

Most of the fiction titles are European, and I've never heard most of the authors. But I am open to buying those books, especially the indie authors and publishers.

There are some great selections of advertising and design books that Val and I liked, but they are quite expensive.

If you are up to buying reference books, I would want you to consider checking the copyright edition first, since, as reference materials, it should be up to date.

Also, with the last two events (and for all book sale events I've been to), "stray books" are a piling problem. This year is no different. The event organizers even hired additional workforce just to sort out thousands of unwanted books left on carts — of which I'm also guilty of doing.

Stray books discarded on carts near the cashier posts. I am guilty, but those aren't mine.

You can say I am one of those jerks who discarded books on carts and left them in the corner near the cashier posts. But I would like to argue that doing so saves me time. I go around the tables and check the titles and cover blurbs. If I see something I like, I drop it to my cart, so I can easily sort it out before heading out to the cashier.

And trust me, I arrived at the Big Bad Wolf doors exactly 11:45 pm, decided to pack up around 5 am, and yet we haven't covered the entire venue. As in literally, we haven't gone to the travel and children's section. Now I know why some of my friends decided to return another day.

Photo c/o M. De Guzman, Phistar
More books are added every day!

Set your “book haul” budget

Because it is a sin to buy books and not read them, I try to limit my splurge. So I reserved 2,500 Pesos for my Big Bad Wolf book haul.

It’s also worth noting that just because this event boasts huge discounted book prices be wise in spending your book budget. The Harry Potter paperback boxed set costs 3,900 Pesos, but did you know that it costs less than 3,000 Pesos when you buy the paperback boxed set at the Manila International Book Fair? The same goes for the Paolo Coehlo boxed set that requires between 1,050-1,950 Pesos when you can buy it cheaper on Book Sale. I also saw some classic lit around 350 Pesos, but that same book costs a lot less on National Bookstore.

My Big Bad Wolf 2020 book haul. 

Now on its third foray to the Philippine bibliophile market, Big Bad Wolf will run from February 14 to 24, 2020, at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. The entrance is FREE. Bringing eco bags are recommended.