Big Bad Wolf has barely had time to sweep up after the gigantic Malaysia Big Bad Wolf sale in Kuala Lumpur, which ended December 17, than the team are unloading the first containers in Myanmar for a debut in Yangon.
If you learned your geography way back in the twentieth century you may know Myanmar better as Burma, and Yangon as Rangoon.
And if you’re in Yangon between January 8-18 you are in for a treat as Big Bad Wolf lays out one million English language books for eager crowds of booklovers.
U Myo Aung, the Myanmar organiser of the Big Bad Wolf sale on behalf of Jacqueline Ng and Andrew Yap, said,
Myanmar is experiencing tremendous socio-economic changes and there is an increasing demand for affordable books due to the growing importance of English proficiency. We understand that establishing a knowledge-based economy, nurturing the next generation of readers and embracing change in Myanmar, in-line with the government’s policies and goals can be achieved by igniting a reading movement in Myanmar.
Burmese (aka Myanmar) is the official language of Myanmar but English is widely spoken as the second and aspirant language and this presents an opportunity for the Big Bad Wolf team.
Jacqueline Ng explains,
Many people, especially in Southeast Asia we do not have or grow up in an environment that encourages reading. We chose countries where English is not the first language. The primary market for the audience like this will be children, because when the parents do not read or understand English, they will want their children to be interested in the English language.
This year Big Bad Wolf has staged book sales (sometimes several trips) in Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and homeland Malaysia, with individual events ranging from 1 million to 5.5 million books.
Myanmar has a population of 53 million, of which 18 million are online, meaning a potential ebook market comparable to the Netherlands, but with no interest from the big western ebook retailers there has been no incentive to digitise.
That may be about to change, as we’ll see in a separate TNPS post later this weekend on Myanmar’s digital libraries.
As reported here in November, Big Bad Wolf is aiming for 30 city sales in 2019.
The level of success of the Yangon event will determine whether the team go back to Myanmar for follow up sales in 2019. After the debut event in the Philippines earlier this year Big Bad Wolf ended up making three trips to keep Filipino booklovers happy, and also ran three sales in Indonesia this year.