Big Bad Wolf has just announced what almost certainly will be its grand finale event for 2019, its tenth anniversary year.

Big Bad Wolf Kuala Lumpur will run December 6-16 with 4.5 million books stacked high –

in what will be the second largest (by book volume) Big Bad Wolf event after Big Bad Wolf Jakarta, where an unbelievable 5.5 million books were up for grabs.

In October Big Bad Wolf took 3 million books to the United Arab Emirates for its second Big Bad Wolf Dubai event, where it partnered with Dubai Cares for its good causes engagement.

That was just before the Sharjah International Book Fair, where Big Bad Wolf co-founders Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng stayed around to open an office in the Sharjah Publishing City, and made one of the most remarkable publishing industry announcements of 2019: that it plans to ship 1 billion books to emerging markets over the next five years, coordinated through its new base in the UAE.

Big Bad Wolf Sharjah is a joint venture between Big Bad Wolf and the Sharjah Book Authority to bring books to MEA (Middle East Africa).

Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority Ahmad Bin Rakkad Al Ameri said,

This partnership is our new step towards making good books more accessible to readers locally and regionally, and increasing sales of Arab and African publishers. Through this new venture, we will also be jointly boosting the circulation and movement of one billion books produced by nations in the MEA region in the next five years. By doing so, our aim is to widely introduce the literary products of individual nations in the region to others to promote cultural exchange and appreciation.

For Big Bad Wolf Jacqueline Ng said,

We have always wanted to change the world, one book at a time and build a new generation of readers. We are constantly on the look-out for organisations or partnerships that support our mission to enhance our presence in a different region. The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is not just about selling books, but a reading advocacy organisation. Purchasing a book should not be luxury item or a privilege but a right regardless of status. Through the partnership with SBA, we hope with the network built, we will be able to bring the changes to more people from this region in a shorter span of time by creating the platform to inspire people by empowering them with knowledge to chase their dreams.

This year Big Bad Wolf will, once the Kuala Lumpur event winds up, have shipped new, printed books to 32 cities across ten Asian countries (Malaysia, UAE, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Philippines, Pakistan, Myanmar, South Korea and Indonesia, that over the past two years have attracted over 5 million visitors.

The logistics of organising events like these, where literally millions of books are shipped in containers to far-flung ports, each with its own customs hurdles, are daunting, so it should come as no surprise that this week Big Bad Wolf has announced a new long-term partnership with its regular shipping company DHL Global Forwarding to make things run smoothly.

A major Big Bad Wolf event might need as many as 70 TEUs (20ft x 8ft containers) of books to be unloaded and delivered to a particular venue.

In a press release Andrew Yap said,

In just 10 years, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale has grown from a single book sale in Kuala Lumpur into a regional literary phenomenon that has defied pessimism about the printed word’s future. When we started in 2009, we couldn’t have anticipated the huge demand and positive reactions given that digital e-books were all the rage. Our persistent efforts paid off culminating in more than five million attendees at our events over the past two years alone.

For DHL, Kelvin Leung, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific, said,

The unique nature of book imports requires our customs brokerage team to carry out intensive pre-work documentation and closely coordinate with several parties upon each shipment’s arrival at its destination.

Our expertise in and history of working with customs regulators around the Asia Pacific region have proved immensely useful in ensuring that the books arrive on time. We count it a privilege to act as Big Bad Wolf Books’ logistics provider as they strengthen literacy and a love for reading in communities across Asia.

Olivia Cashin, Head of Value Added Services, DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific, added,

The logistics of book sales aren’t as straightforward at first glance. Customs clearance services play a particularly crucial role in maintaining an efficient supply chain — an exact and detailed description of each book is required for customs clearance purposes due to differing laws and regulations governing the sale of books around the world, while most local authorities stipulate that books can only be delivered to event venues within strict time limits.

Now to wait for the new year and to see which Middle East and African countries will be first on the list for 2020.