Big Bad Wolf has been in Dubai for its second year, bringing 3 million (not a typo!) mostly English-language books to the UAE for its famous 11-day 24/7 book sales.

This year Big Bad Wolf partnered with Dubai Cares, part of Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives.

The Wealthland explains,

As a charity partner for the “world’s biggest book sale”, which (took) place from October 10 to 20, Dubai Cares is hosting an on-site activation that focuses on the importance of reading as well as learning through play in the early years.

Visitors to Dubai Cares’ activation (enjoyed) a learn-and-play space that explores how learning through play is vital for the development of the brain and how it helps build children’s communication skills.

Visitors (also had) the opportunity to donate children’s reading books that (were) on sale at the book fair, by dropping them in the donation boxes after checkout. Collected books will be delivered to the McMillan Public Library in Nairobi, Kenya and hospitals across the UAE, in partnership with International Publishers Association and ‘Wanna Read’, respectively.

Big Bad Wolf, for anyone unfamiliar, is based in Malaysia but tours cities across southern Asia with massive book sales, typically eleven days long and mostly running 24 hours a day. Despite carrying mainly English-language books it attracts huge crowds.

As of August Big Bad Wolf had visited 25 cities in 2019, selling 25 million books to over 3 million visitors.

Speaking about the partnership, Dubai Cares CEO Dr Tariq Al Gurg said,

We are delighted to partner with Big Bad Wolf for the very first time, and we hope this collaboration will be the first of many more to come. This partnership with two entities committed to education and learning makes perfect sense on so many levels. I was very happy to visit the exhibition … and witness the enthusiasm among members of the community towards the wide array of books on display as well as the amazing deals on offer.

All told this year so far, Big Bad Wolf has also been in Myanmar twice (Yangon in February with 1 million books, Mandalay in May with 1 million books), the Philippines (Pasay City in February with 2 million books, with Cebu in August), South Korea (Seoul, 2 million books), Taiwan (Taipei, 2 million books), Thailand (Bangkok, 3 million books), Sri Lanka (Colombo, 1.5 million books), UAE (Dubai, 3 million books) and it has made at least seven events in Malaysia.

There’s also the big end of year event in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) still to come, and we cannot rule out further visits to the countries already mentioned, and possible further debuts in new countries in this, the tenth anniversary of the Big Bad Wolf events.

Big Bad Wolf never fails to surprise, and while of course these are remaindered books bought from mainstream western publishers and so offered at very low prices, the story here is not about price but about demand.

With every event, Big Bad Wolf is demonstrating the huge demand for English language books in countries where English is not the first language.

That’s something Arab publishers would do well to think about, as translations into English are likely to find a warm reception in the domestic as well as foreign markets.