The world’s largest book sale operation, Big Bad Wolf, kicks off the New Year with a debut event in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

Running for 12 days in all (the first day is a special preview event) Big Bad Wolf Phnom Penh breaks with tradition in not being a 24/7 event, just open from 9am to midnight. The event will be held at the Borey Rung Reung Market in Chroy Changvar district, from January 9-20.

Big Bad Wolf has come along way from its origins as a local book fair in home town Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This year – 2019 – was the tenth anniversary and Big Bad Wolf took tens of millions of mostly English-language books to 32 cities across ten countries, attracting 5 million visitors.

Originating in Malaysia back in 2009, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale has become a regular international event geared towards increasing an appetite for reading by offering affordable English language books.

The final event of 2019 has not long finished, and we now have two 2020 events confirmed – Yangon in Myanmar and the aforementioned Phnom Penh event.

Big Bad Wolf co-founder Jacqueline Ng said,

The best way to convert a non-reader is by putting the right books in their hand. We have a problem where books are viewed as middle class – something for the elite – but everyone has the right to learn, everyone has the right to read.

Addressing the challenges for the Cambodia debut, Ng explained that all books are subject to 10% VAT in Cambodia and that Phnom Penh’s population of just 1.5 million means footfall will likely be fewer than they are used to.

This means a higher cost outlay during importation before you even sell one book. Low population and low average income makes it a not very convincing market as Big Bad Wolf operates on economy of scale due to the low margins (adding) We are a reading advocacy organisation first, a commercial entity second. Education is the key to change and a second language offers more career opportunities and can help combat poverty and inequality.

Read more over at the Khmer Times and the Phnom Penh Post (both in English).

Big Bad Wolf has committed to delivering 1 billion books to the emerging markets over the next five years.