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Philippines interesting market for readers, says Big Bad Wolf founder |

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Philippines interesting market for readers, says Big Bad Wolf founder

Kathleen A. Llemit -
Philippines interesting market for readers, says Big Bad Wolf founder
Big Bad Wolf co-founder Jacqueline Ng (left) with Philippine partner Carolyn Chuaying at the launch of Big Bad Wolf on June 7, 2023, at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. / Kathleen A. Llemit

MANILA, Philippines — The strong reception to the news of Big Bad Wolf (BBW) returning in the country after three years confirmed the notion that the Philippines is a huge market for book fairs and sales.'s Twitter post that announced the return of Big Bad Wolf generated engagements, with 3,453 likes, 476 retweets, 624 quotes, 163 bookmarks and 584,000 views. 

Before Big Bad Wolf holds its fair this year in Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Forum Tent in Pasay City from June 23 to July 1, Philippine readers already went to the Philippine Book Festival (PBF) last June 2 to 4. In September, bookworms can once again buy their favorite books (if they have not yet from BBW and PBF) at the returning Manila International Book Fair, happening from September 14 to 17 in SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. 

Big Bad Wolf co-founder Jacqueline Ng said during its recent launch at the  that PICC that the Philippines has always been consistent with its reading preferences. 

Ng co-founded Big Bad Wolf with her husband Andrew Yap in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2009. In 2018, they brought Big Bad Wolf in the Philippines. 

"In the Philippines, our statistics is very unique. It's very equal. It's 1/3 fiction, 1/3 non-fiction and 1/3 children's (books)," shared Ng. 

Their overseas data showed that 75% of their sales are children's books, while the remaining are non-fiction and fiction. 

"Because they're non-readers," Ng said. "But in the Philippines, since day one, its 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 and it's just a very unique market for us."

As an advocate of English literacy and reading, Ng is excited to hold the anticipated book fair after three years.

She also noted their struggles while the pandemic was happening.

"The biggest thing for Big Bad Wolf is that we are in 15 countries. We never knew one day... When this thing happened, overnight we became zero. Everything that we have grown, accumulated since 2009, overnight it became zero, like it never happened," Ng recalled.  

"It was not a three months' thing. We don't know when will people come back to events again, but the wolf spirit is always there... Big Bad Wolf started with the mission to change the world one book at a time. We can't afford to just call it quits," she added. 

Nothing beats a physical event

At the time of the pandemic, they learned to cut costs by slimming down their teams. 

They also faced a big setback in December 2021 when their warehouse in Malaysia was ravaged by floodwaters. Several states of Malaysia fell victim to a tropical depression that passed by the country where it let loose torrential rains for three days. Her warehouse was flooded and they lost three million books. 

That may be the case, but Ng said they continued to persevere because they had to sustain their business with advocacy. 

At a time when some people are into e-books, Ng was asked the importance of physical fairs. 

"We never were online. Big Bad Wolf is always a physical event. We're not a normal bookstore where we have normal launches," Ng said. 

The process involves a "tremendous effort" to source books at price points that they prefer and which will translate into accessibility for book lovers. At this year's Big Bad Wolf, book price starts at P20. 

"We want to buy at particular price points that our customers can afford. The good thing about Big Bad Wolf is because it's at a price point that you don't mind paying. At Big Bad Wolf, you are willing to try and pay for the price. That's how you discover your favorite author and new genres and it only happens during the physical sale," Ng said.  

She also shared her experience where she herself can be an impulse buyer. She may not be particularly fond of a certain genre, but when she is in a book fair, she tends to buy books that she would give away and send as gifts. 

"I saw many people meeting up at the sale, friends making appointment, strangers queuing up becoming friends, mothers sharing stories and parenting tips. All these experience you can't get sitting online. So we will do the physical event. We will always do the physical event whenever we can," Ng said. 

RELATED: Big Bad Wolf 2023: 6 things to expect

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