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I have written a post about the excitement of Big Bad Wolf Indonesia bookfair last year, where everyone was suddenly becoming a booklover. I’m okay with that, of course, and I am actually happy that for once, books are considered cool 🙂

So I was pretty excited when Big Bad Wolf (BBW) has decided to visit Indonesia again, in the same venue at ICE BSD. I started to imagine the affordable import books that I can buy, and the excitement of shopping books not through online stores (I’ve been online shopping mostly for the past year).

Moreover, as a book blogger, I have received an invitation to attend the VIP Pre-Sale. Something that was highly recommended from my friends who attended the same event last year.

So I took one day off from the office and went to the venue early on that day, hoping to be there before it’s getting crowded.

Turned out, it was REALLY CROWDED. Like, in the market or something. I’m glad because at least the venue is bigger this year, so there’s still some space between the tables, and people can shop quite comfortably. But… still, I didn’t expect the so-called VIP event being that crowded, and it didn’t feel like an exclusive event at all.

The worst thing about the event was the online shop and the so-called “jasa titip/jastip”. They were like vultures who always hovered around the book stacks and grabbed them as soon as the BBW staff brought out new stuff. Some of them even made some kind of “base camp” at the rear of the room, where they stacked their “treasures”, and had some people looked after the stuff, so no one would touch the books. They could grab up to 10 or 20 books with the same title- for what, you ask? For selling them again, of course- with more expensive price, too. Mostly they took the boxsets for kids or activity books, the kind of books that would be easy to sell. But sometimes they also grabbed things like novels and non fiction books. Ugh.

Another thing that was terrible about the VIP Pre-Sale was the crazy line at the payment area. It was soooo crazy, people could be in line for hours. My friends from BBI, Ren and Mbak Threz, broke the record by being in the line for 5 hours. And this was because too many online shopping people shopped hundreds and hundreds of books. The cashiers were overwhelmed, the system was not ready, and simply said, it was a disaster.

I was pretty lucky because when I saw the crazy line, a Bank Mandiri staff approached me, offering a credit card application that can be exchanged with fast pass voucher to the cashier. Without thinking too much, I quickly agreed, and only waited for about 30 minutes in the cashier. Phew.

How about the books, though?

Well, it was not as many as last year, especially for fictions, young adults and middle grade books. Fortunately I found some of my wishlists there. And even though BBW also raised the book price compare to last year (from IDR 60k to 75k, from IDR100k to 130k, etc), they’re generally still ok.

The interior- not that bad compare to last year.

Some cute classics!

Another stack of classics.

Enid Blyton galore!

One of the base camps of the online shopping people!!! See their stacks??

Ibu Susi was also shopping!

My book haul 🙂

So… based on this first day experience, I decided not to come back to BBW, thinking that the situation will get worse.

Turned out, everyone who went to BBW after that day said that it’s not crowded, line in the cashier was manageable, and lots of new titles came up. So I started to consider coming back to BBW 😀

There’s this Narnia boxset that I kept waiting to appear in BBW, because it was advertised in their website. And finally, just a few days before BBW ended, I saw in their Instagram story that the boxset was out. Yeay! So that night, a few hours after I saw the Instagram, I went back to BBW. It was a Friday night, just before midnight, and the venue was not too crowded.

But after looking here and there, I started to get anxious. Where’s the Narnia???

I asked a staff and some of them just told me to keep on looking “over there”. After some time, a staff who helped me to ask around finally found out that the boxsets were sold out!!! Can you believe it? She said they were sold out just two hours after it’s been announced in Instagram. I can’t believe it. I mean, from hundreds of their stock, all were gone within two hours? These were Narnia books, not Coldplay tickets. I didn’t buy it that many people really wanted to read Narnia- and grabbed them like crazy.

So what happened? The staff told me that mostly the Narnia boxsets were bought by the jastip and online shops. Ugh! I knew it!!!!

I sent a message to BBW’s Instagram, ada here’s their reply:

They blamed me!

So instead of giving solution or promised to take a look at the problem, they BLAMED me because I came too late!!! And they denied that the books were bought mostly by the online shops and jastip, even though I got that information from the ground staff. So unprofessional.

For me, BBW has tarnished their reputation. Instead of being the fun, affordable bookfair that is loved by the bookworms, now they are just another business oriented company, who don’t care about their loyal customers and focused more on the profit. They let the online shops and jastip going crazy, without any consideration for other customers, who have to beat the traffic to reach the venue. If online shops and jastip are the ones who can standby for 24 hours at BBW, no wonder they can get all of the books including the most wanted ones. And that means, we- the ordinary booklovers- have to rely on them to get their books, even though that means they’ll be more expensive!

If this is the case, so why don’t BBW just have the bookfair only for online shops and jastip? Let them do crazy bulk shopping like those stores who compete shopping in Tanah Abang before Lebaran.

Sadly, these things only happened in Indonesia. Only in Indonesia, even bookfairs can be ruined because of money, business, and ego.

So, Big Bad Wolf Indonesia, congratulations for ruining your reputations and relationship with the bookworms!