This weekend I went to Big Bad Wolf book fair at Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE), BSD. And guys, it was AMAZING.
The fair took place in Hall 10 of ICE. Imagine a huge hall filled with books from every genre, discounted generously. I was hyperventilating when I entered the hall, and the smell of the books was so inviting that I screamed to my cousin, “Smell the book! Smell the book!” (Sorry, can’t help it).
People were wheeling around carts full of books, and I thought, they’re buying that many? Insane. But I spoke to soon, as an hour later, I looked exactly like them, dragging a cart full of books. No guilty feeling there.
The place was packed, but this was the first time I didn’t mind being in a crowded place. Maybe it’s just me, but I felt even with that many people, that place wasn’t noisy (I hate noisy places). There was just a nice buzz of people chatting, like you often find in a cafe or pub, and for me that’s perfect.
Another thing that made me happy was seeing that many people got so enthusiastic about books. I’ve always thought Indonesia isn’t a place with a strong reading habit. People reading is something I rarely see here, and sometimes when I talk to my friends, I’m astonished by the facts that they barely read, nor do they have any interest in books. For me, reading has become something important and habitual, it comes so naturally like checking Facebook newsfeed and Instagram updates. While I understand it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it makes me sad that people could be missing out on something they might actually like. I think one of the reasons why Indonesians struggle with reading awareness is the lack of exposure and encouragement to reading habit. Puty wrote an insightful article about this, and she even went the extra mile to raise the reading awareness by designing a set of printables including bookmarks, poster, stickers, and reading list templates (you should check it out!). And so, seeing these people there made me feel less hopeless about the reading situation in Indonesia.
It also made me ecstatic to see fellow bookworms there, with books stacked high in their carts. Guys, it felt like I’d been an alien all this time and I finally came home, to a place full of my people. It felt GOOD.
And the prices? Most novels are priced at IDR 60k, some 70k. Design and architecture books are priced for less than IDR 200k, a total bargain! All those prices sent me into a frenzy. Some of the books were not pristine, but I got no complain. That place was heaven.
After almost 4 (four!) hours, we dragged ourselves to the cashier and paid for our books. My book haul includes:
- Marly’s Ghost by David Levithan
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
- The Girl with the Dragon Tatto by Stieg Larsson
- The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
- The Girl Who kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson
- Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
- The Good Bride Guide by Matt Dunn
- An Introduction to Wedding Photography: A Guide to Photographing the Big Day by Lorna Yabsley
- Noah’s Ark, a children’s picture book for my friend’s daughter
All came with a sweet price of IDR 610k. There were many books that I took out of my cart and put back in their places, as I was telling myself to be sensible and not get carried away. But I kinda regret not buying those books, so I might visit again soon.
My cousin with a cart full of books by Enid Blyton. Would it be crazy if I say I’m so proud of her for grabbing every Enid Blyton book she saw?
Happy/tired faces nearing the end of our expedition.
The book fair is open until May 8th, from 11 am to 11 pm on weekdays, and 24 hours during the weekend and public holiday. What a dedication. For more info, you can check their Big Bad Wolf website.
I truly recommend you to visit, and when you do, wear comfy shoes and bring a big bag (or a cardboard box) for your scouts (I even saw a guy with a suitcase! Nothing is too extreme here).
Happy hunting, fellow book nerds! :)