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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 November 2018

A young child reads all about boxing great Muhammad Ali during the opening day of the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale. Reem Mohammed/The National

World's biggest book sale in Dubai: Literature lovers flock in thousands

The world's biggest book sale is set to be a huge success story yet again - with hundreds of thousands of literature lovers expected to flock to Dubai.

The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale opened up a whole new chapter by heading to the Middle East for the very first time on Thursday.

Children were running in the alleys between books, while some filled their parent’s trolleys with engaging reads of their choice, as a passion for prose took over the emirate during the opening day of the event.

The event is being held in partnership with The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF), the National Media Council (NMC) and Dubai Production City, is open 24 hours a day until October 28 at the Sound Stage Venue in Dubai Studio City.

The sale boasts three million books - many of which are on offer with big discounts.

Mohamed Al Aidaroos, the organiser of the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, said he brought the sale to Dubai because he wanted to share his love for books with the nation.

At the sale, there are Arabic books that have been provided by the Mohamed Bin Rashid Knowledge Foundation.

“It was my idea to bring the event here to Dubai,” said Mr Al Aidaroos.

“We feel that there is a need for such an event. There is still a demand for books even though many people prefer reading online.”

Qindeel is the only local publisher represented at the sale while the books in English have all been imported.

A young child enjoys some quiet time with a good book. Reem Mohammed/The National
A young child enjoys some quiet time with a good book. Reem Mohammed/The National

Andrew Yap, the founder of Big Bad Wolf, was at the sale and said he is on a mission to change the world through books.

“Profit is not the main agenda. We are in between a social enterprise and business,” he said.

“English has never been as important as it is today. There is a huge hunger from the majority of the world to have better English comprehension.

“If we look at it purely commercially there is no way we can price it so cheap. When we buy from publishers, we get it cheap as we buy in huge quantities.”

The Big Bad Wolf Sale started in 2009 and has travelled to far-flung destinatons such as Jakarta, Bangkok, Cebu, Manila and Taiwan.

“Dubai is the gateway to the Middle East and Africa. Coming to Dubai will open many doors for us,” said Mr Yap.

Millions of books are on sale at the world's biggest book sale, which is being held in the UAE for the first time. Reem Mohammed/The National
Millions of books are on sale at the world's biggest book sale, which is being held in the UAE for the first time. Reem Mohammed/The National

300 college students are working as part-time employees at the book sale, giving them vital experience in helping to run a major event.

Kirsty Noble, a mother-of-three, shopped for a trolley full of books.

“In Dubai, books are expensive and I have three children, so I’m buying Christmas presents and birthday presents. I’m prepared,” said Ms Noble.

“We don’t find a lot of the books we find here back home. We can send these books to our friends back home. For us this is awesome, It’s like Christmas.”

She was at the sale with her husband and her three children aged nine, five and three.

The mother was purchasing story books as well as educational ones.

“I think it’s a wonderful selection. Back home, we only get the Disney books but here we get different kinds of books,” she added.

She pointed out that classics such as Shakespeare’s plays or The Iliad and The Odyssey have been remodeled for children to pique their interest.

“If they carry on with it, every single year, I will be here,” she said.

“When you see books For Dh15 and Dh20 I will buy it as I get one book for four times that price outside,” she said.

The massive sale is expected to attract 300,000 visitors. Reem Mohammed/The National
The massive sale is expected to attract 300,000 visitors. Reem Mohammed/The National

Leyu Yang, a Chinese entrepreneur, was at the event with her daughter, looking for books on phonics.

“When you compare it to bookshops it’s much more affordable here,” said Ms Yang.

Bianca Kabrun was at the sale with her daughters.

The resident who works as an assistant teacher said there was no order in the arrangement, making it difficult for her to find books.

“We like reading and the prices are better so we came here,” she said.

“My daughters like reading different things, so it’s good for them to explore here,” she said.

Ms Kabrun believes the sale should arrange books according to the authors’ names.

Sapna and Yashesh Thakkar, Indian residents who work in the petrochemical industry, bought a trolley full of books.

“There are some classic books. We got something on writing and some picture books and we got a lot of children’s’ books,” said the couple who were shopping for themselves and their two-year-old son.

The couple believes the prices could be lower but used the opportunity to shop for their nieces, nephews, and cousins, too.

Noor Arnaoot, a high school pupil, was at the sale looking for reference books.

“There are special books here and the pricing suits me as I can buy more than one book,” said Ms Arnaoot.

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