Meeting with Big Bad Wolf Committee (Guides for First-Timers Who Want to go There)

It was a fine Saturday, April 9, and six of us were excited. Jakarta Book Club was invited to see a number of books that will be sold at the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale which will be held for the first time in Jakarta… well, in Tangerang, to be exact – from April 30 to May 8, 2016. UPDATE: BBW Jakarta is extended until May 9, 2016.
With Bisma, Astrid, Dipa, Andri, Dina, and Michel  

Astrid and Andri were already at Starbucks Lotte Avenue when I arrived, not long before Dina showed up sporting JBC attributes – our favorite black tee and white tote bag. They are still available for sale, by the way *all proceeds will be used to support JBC community*. LOL. Her bag looked heavy cuz she was carrying one serious book. “In Praise of Hatred” is in the size of a coffee table book, but the content is much heavier than a recipe book. It was one of the books given to us as gifts from the Big Bad Wolf committee, so that we know the genres that will be available at BBW Jakarta. This is the first time Big Bad Wolf book sale comes to Indonesia.

I’m still currently reading “A Song from Dead Lips” by William Shaw, a lighter novel with similar size and thickness. Both books were already labeled with BBW price tags; Rp 50,000 and Rp 60,000. It’s a heavy discount if you compared them to their original prices. That’s why we got more curious about this book sale.

If you've never heard of Big Bad Wolf before, it is a book sale that brings imported books from Europe to Southeast Asia. As quoted from its old website, the Big Bad Wolf book sale was established in 2009 at Dataran Hamodal (Malaysia) as “a warehouse sale by remainder bookstore BookXcess, dealing in various genres from best-sellers and children’s books to specialist titles and deluxe coffee-table tomes”. For seven years, the event has helped “thousands of Malaysians each year” in discovering the joys of highly affordable, accessible reading.

When all of us finally arrived at the meeting venue, we were escorted to a room full of books from at least seven different genres; from biography, novel, design, to children’s books. In Indonesia, every book at the sale will be sold 60% to 80% off its retail prices.

“In Indonesia, the proportion of children’s books are higher than other (genres),” said Alex Ritchie, a representative from Big Bad Wolf who accompanied us during the book preview. He further explained about the full-week event by showing us a behind-the-scene video which covered the process of unloading 45 containers filled with more than 3 million books into a warehouse. "It took us 3 days just to unload," he laughed.

After that, we had a small talk about the books, how the book sale began, and what kind of situation we should expect at the event. FYI, the book sale will be open from 11am to 11pm on regular days, but it will be open for 24 hours throughout weekends and the long holiday that falls on May 5-8. The only downside of this event is that they picked the location at IndonesiaConvention Exhibition (ICE) in BSD City! Well, according to Mr. Google, that’s about 13.5 km (8.4 miles) or two-hour drive from CBD Jakarta without macet. So, if you’re planning to go there, do plan ahead. We still don’t know about the parking facilities there, but you can stay tuned on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as we’ll report the situation from there.

Yes, we’re lucky enough to get 30 passes to attend the pre-opening sale on April 29! If you want to get the passes, we still have 2 passes to give away ;) Simply let us know why you want to attend Big Bad Wolf and send us the answer by mentioning us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. Of course, we would pick the lucky winners who have followed us on those social media accounts.

For us book lovers, going to a book sale like this is like going to a candy store, where you get to pick all kinds of fancy sweets...but without breaking the bank.

“We need a game plan, for example if we want to shop there at midnight,” I said humorously to everyone, without knowing that one of JBC members, Michel, actually works for one of the biggest local online travel agents. LOL. Alex told us that there is a nice hotel located in the area of ICE-BSD. Michel quickly typed on his mobile and showed me an approximate room price around those dates. Not too expensive. Booked!  

So, we have our game plan. We don’t want to lose an opportunity to buy good quality books with super affordable prices. We are willing to “fight” to get those discount books! But, since you are reading this article, I think it won’t hurt to tell you some tips from “experts” who have gone to BBW in Malaysia before. Promise me, you won’t tell anyone.

“I remember when I visited BBW in KL, they provided a cardboard box and – for a couple of RM – we can grab books as much as we want within a few minutes. In the end, I went home with an excess baggage, a total of 40 kilos!” said Emi, who won 2 free passes to BBW Jakarta during our JBC meetup last weekend.

Well, I don’t know if there is going to be similar deals like that in BBW Jakarta, but I’m sure it’s going to help if you bring a luggage with wheels. Like Alex said, there will be an area where you can store your belongings safely. That way, if you want to have a break from your book hunt and go to lunch or pray at the nearest facility, it won’t be a problem at all.

Here are our preliminary conclusions about the Big Bad Wolf book sale:

1. There will be more than 3 million books available – they will re-stock the books every other day, so it’s OK to visit BBW more than once. You might find different books! Why am I writing this blog in English? Other than the fact I like writing in English, most of the books that are sold in BBW will be in English. You can still find a small quantity of Indonesian books, because Mizan publishing will have a section there.

2. There will be a place where you can put your stuff (books, bag, suitcase, etc.) and return to pick it up later.

3. ICE-BSD is not an isolated area. There are F&B places nearby, so finding meals won't be a problem. In terms of price, I’m not sure how cheap or expensive they are. So, if you want to save your money for books, you can bring a lunchbox and some drinks for your own convenience – especially if you are planning to bring kids.

4. Jakarta Book Club will have two groups leaving from Central Jakarta on April 29. Some of us will go there again on May 5. If you want to join, just leave a comment below (we’ll split the transport cost among ourselves).

5. If you want to go there after work, use Google Map to estimate your arrival time. You don’t want to arrive there at 9 or 9:30pm when the place is about to close! Some of our members who live in BSD actually suggest people to take train rides from Jakarta. If you come from Karet, take the Commuter Line (KRL train) to Tanah Abang, then alight from the train and switch to the green line to reach “Serpong/ Parung Panjang/ Maja”. You can alight at Rawa Buntu and continue with a cab to reach ICE-BSD. Another station closer to ICE is Cisauk, but I’ve been told that it will be easier to find taxis at Rawa Buntu. If you insist of going with a car, the fastest route is through Jakarta Outer Ring Road (JORR) Bintaro-Serpong. 

6. Big Bad Wolf accepts payment with cash, Mandiri debit card, ecash, or any credit cards. Since they are partnering with Bank Mandiri, there might be an additional discount (up to 50%) if you are using the Mandiri prepaid card (e-money). Better prepare the card! As far as I know, the maximum balance in the prepaid card is Rp 1 million. UPDATE on Apr 29: Big Bad Wolf doesn't accept payment with emoney, but you can redeeem Fiesta Poin or pay with Mandiri ecash.

Oh, Bank Mandiri will also provide installments (cicilan) for payment with credit cards… but you don't want to do that, do you?? The price range of books is between Rp 40,000 and Rp 250,000.

“We think it’s about time to expand our event in Indonesia. Next year, we can bring the book sale to other cities,” said Alex, who “promised” us that the location for BBW next year will be closer to Jakarta (not Tangerang or Bekasi) and 1-2 other big cities. We’ll see ;)

 written by Shirley, JBC founder


  1. thank you for the full information on this book sale!! :)

    1. You're welcome, Yenny, are you planning to come? ^^

  2. Hi, what time are you leaving from Jakarta on the 29th and from where? :) I have the pre-event ticket but not sure if I'll use it 'cause I work in Depok 😂

    1. Hi Halida,
      Sorry, I just realized that my comment wasn't published. Did you manage to come to BBW at all? Join us tomorrow if you haven't!

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