Sunday, 9 October 2011

Big Bad Wolf Eated Me

My first time, and it was not gentle.

This year, they held the sale at Hall A, the Agricultural Exposition Park in Serdang, within the sprawling grounds of Universiti Putra Malaysia. It was a bit hard to get to from Puchong, with a bit of a crawl and bottleneck en route. Got a bit lost too.

I'd parked a bit farther down the hall, which was located up a hill. A five-minute hike from my car to the entrance left me winded.

But what an eye-opener.

Abandon all inhibition, ye who enter here

It was Saturday, and it threatened to rain (which it did, briefly). There was already a crowd in the hall when I arrived. They were probably expecting a huge turn-out; Pizza Hut had a truck outside the entrance.

One thing for sure: they know the kinds of venues that'll work, and they know how to market. Even the music set the mood - no downer tunes, so patrons feel good ... and maybe set aside their inhibitions.

Yes, it'll be a horrible shame not to buy these... and these,
and these and THESE and...

I imagine one visitor weighing the pros and cons in the head: "I probably don't need that Manicka, and my to-read pile is threatening to breach the ceiling-"

Then Beyoncé comes on. Yes, that song. What Kanye West said was "the best music video of all time".

"...never mind, it's RM8! I'll put it in the office and read it later!"

I suppose that it's ♪ cuz if you like it then you shoulda put your ringgit on it ♫ if you liked it then you shoulda put ya ringgit on it woo oh ooh... ♪

People mountain, people sea; Big Bad Wolf so, so happy

Packed, packed, packed! This was perhaps almost an hour later. Visitors were carrying books by the boxful. Not enough boxes? Dump your full box at one of the several service counters and get an empty box to fill.

Parents came with their kids, and their prams, and- look at the size of the children's section! Kids and young adults occupied nearly a third of the floor space.

Just wondering: Will all these people actually read the stuff they've bought? Because as far as I know, our reader cred hasn't gone up a lot in the past few years. Still, it's as if a whole town turned up today.

Perhaps it's a Malaysian thing: price something cheap and we go bananas, oranges and mangosteens. Case in point:

Evening is a Whole Day, so spend it here in the Wolf's lair.
Look! Only RM8! Don't you just want to... take it home? Maybe
get some for... friends? It's almost Chrissstmasss, after all...

Evening may be the whole day, but the Big Bad Wolf will not be deterred! Chomp! Munch! Gulp! Slurrrp...! And just like that, a novel that used to cost over RM50 now goes for RM8. What's not to like?

I suppose there is something to be said about such warehouse sales. There are half a ton of books right now that I want but can't afford in terms of time, money and space.

My haul at the end of the day was modest: about ten books. The two biggest books in the pile were last-minute purchases. I loved these big big books of ostensibly useless facts as a child. As a pay-drawing adult, however, I found these to be quite expensive. But at a price tag of RM20 each? Mine, mine!

Perhaps, for their trouble they took to get there, Big Bad Wolf gave away these bookmarks, and an offer of three years' free membership at BookXcess, to be claimed 90 days from the date of the receipt.

For an arm, a leg and your first-born, the Wolf thinks you should
get more than just cheap books and a bookmark or two

I'm not sure if a minimum purchase amount is involved, though. But hey, whatever. Besides, would it make sense to drive all the way to Serdang for less than ten books, at such high discounts?

Not sure if I like the title selections for this year. I wanted some Haruki Murakami but they gave us Ryu Murakami instead (are they siblings or the same person?)

At the risk of sounding awed, fawning or impressed... see you next year, Big Bad Wolf.


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