Crowds of book lovers flocked to the world's biggest book sale that officially opened to the public on Thursday, offering over 3 million discounted books to re-ignite reading culture in the modern digital era.
Residents can expect to buy books for prices as low as Dh14 at the 11-day Big Bad Wolf Book Sale that offers a variety of books at 50 to 80 per cent discounts for the first time in Dubai. With 50 per cent of stands dedicated to children's books, the event features a variety of book genres in English from fiction, Marvel comics, biographies and literature to self-help, bakery, business and sports books. A small corner is dedicated for Arabic books.
Works of major writers like Roald Dahl, Harper Lee, Stephen King and Paulo Coelho can be spotted at lowest prices of Dh20, and history books addressing events like the First World War are sold for Dh15. Tony Robbins' Unshakeable, sold normally at Dh104, is available at the sale for Dh25 and Stephen and Owen King's Sleeping Beauties is sold at Dh20, down from Dh130.
Andrew Yap, founder of the Big Bad Wolf Books Sale, said visitors can get even bigger discounts once they register for a membership on the event's website or the counter available on site at Dubai Studio City's Soundstage Venue.
Trolleys are offered on site for those willing to stock their library shelves with books, and 24 cashier counters are set up for the crowd of shoppers expected to reach 300,000 over the next week.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Yap said the event, open nonstop for 24 hours until October 28 midnight, aims to improve English literacy and drag children away from their gadgets. Organisers have been in contact with the Ministry of Education that will organise two school trips a day for students.
"The event targets people from all walks of life. While we don't have resources to go out to them, we make the book sale accessible and affordable with no entry fee, open for 24 hours," said Yap.
Starting from a small bookstore in 2009, the sale grew big for the last few years as it toured Asian cities, placing a special focus on children and young adults. "The fastest way to make a difference in the world is through books. Children are the future and that?s why we look to attract these lost generations of readers that were dragged away from books by digital media," said Yap.
The event's title "Big Bad Wolf" is dedicated to attract young people to search for their favourite characters through different books, noted Yap.
Offering books for adults in different fields like sales, design and management helps build the knowledge to contribute to the economy. Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, held in Dubai in Partnership with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Foundation (MBRF), National Media Council (NMC) and Dubai Production City, will be looking to expand to the GCC.
'Such events should happen more often'
Dozens of mothers and children were seen with trolleys packed with books. Among them was French Sophie D'Souza, mother of two children, who took the day off from work to buy books. She stood with a trolley packed with about 20 books and comics, and a written list in her hand.
"These sales are important and should happen more often since books are usually expensive to buy. At home, we focus on encouraging our children to read, and these events help us do that," said D'Souza. She noted that the sale comes on the run up to Christmas, opening up options for more meaningful gifts that will get children back to books away from technology.