After much anticipation, the Big Bad Wolf finally returned to Sri Lanka. All you bookworms out there can now get lost amidst the mountains of books. The vast hive of books has already got the readers swarming at the SLECC. But one might wonder, is it really worth the effort? Well, here’s a closer look.
The not-so-exclusive preview day
A moment of silence to all those who felt special when they got their preview passes (including myself). Once inside the SLECC, I’m pretty sure all of us would have wondered why we even bothered with those passes at all. Now, in case you’re confused, preview day is where a selected group of people, i.e ones with preview passes, get the opportunity to visit the book sale before its open to the public. The whole point of preview day is the sheer exclusivity of being able to visit the book sale in a less crowded setting.
Unfortunately, the preview day proved to be inconvenient if anything. The SLECC was packed with so many people. You could hardly move about let alone select a book in peace. Clearly, too many preview passes have been circulated. Don’t get me wrong though. I was still able to scrape through all the selections and get a few good picks for myself. But I would have actually preferred to have done it in peace. So perhaps next time, maybe not give every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Somapala a preview pass?
Now that the sale is officially underway, what about the books? Is there anything in stock? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for. The Business & Economics section mostly had the same titles as last year. Although there were a few additions here and there. On the other hand, the fiction section seemed to be packed with quite a few selections. Just like the previous one, fiction books looks to be the most demanding. I did find the biography section a bit disappointing though. Really hoped to see more titles in this section this time.
Don’t worry. The Big Bad Wolf has something on offer for everyone. Cookery, Sports, Religion, Young Adult, a lot of the genres are here in plenty. Even the comic book section looked to have a better selection this time as well, particularly with more DC Comics titles. Unfortunately, you will be disappointed if you’re hunting for technical books. The closest I could find were ones that relate to accounting and economics. But even these were more general than technical.
On a positive note, it does seem like new books are being added as the sale progress. So in case you’ve already made the visit, perhaps a second time wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Can we talk about that food court?
Not sure whose bright idea it was to have the customers pay for everything to two cashiers. Tiring as the book shopping can be, the last thing visitors would want is to wait in another line just to get a beverage or two. What was promoted as a convenient streamlined process turned out to be a disaster.
But on the bright side, the situation looks to have improved with 2 more counters added to the food court. What’s refreshing is to see organizers pay attention to customer feedback. Kudos for the effort. Then again, for the love of all the good books at BBW, let’s not do this again.
So is it really worth it?
All the little kinks aside, the BBW sale this time certainly didn’t disappoint in terms of getting good books at dirt cheap prices. You can find plenty of good ones in the 400 – 650 range. Even the hardcovers are around 700, some cheaper. Then again, if you’re looking for something specific, chances are you might find certain titles actually cheaper at the local bookshops.
“Keep your expectations lower, enjoy the experience and you’ll leave the place a little tired, your wallet lighter, but, ultimately, happy” – Safiyya Akram, member of the Book Swap Colombo group
Regardless, if you even remotely enjoy reading, the Big Bad Wolf sale is sure to have something to offer you. There are some amazing stuff here if you know where to look. For example, my colleague Mazin found a book about Istanbul in 1750, that taught him barbers also acted as surgeons, offering haircuts as well as circumcisions.
So, do check out Big Bad Wolf. Let us know what you think. Was your haul as fruitful as you hoped it would be?
Update: The above quote was added in anonymity of Safiyya Akram. However due to the misinterpretation of the quote being plagiarized, the name has been added.