Surviving the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale with a P 1,000 budget

Petsa de Peligro is a Spanish phrase meaning “the day of danger.” But here in the Philippines, it’s also a metaphor used by young professionals to convey how broke they truly are. And honey, I am incredibly broke for the biggest book sale in the country. 

For those who aren’t in the know, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is an annual event in selected cities nationwide. It’s a 24-hour book sale with over two million books and 20,000 titles to choose from. They’re offering big discounts up to 90 percent  too. So it’s not rocket science that an event like this will attract eager bookworms like me. 

But here’s the deal: The last payday of the month happens after the sale’s grand opening. I shouldn’t worry that much since the sale will last ’til March 4. Although here’s the thing, I want to get first dibs on some titles they have. So how can I enjoy the sale’s first days without making my wallet cry?

Read more: The Manila International Book Fair just announced this year’s date

Well, having a strict budget and some self-control is great for starters. That’s what I had to run with. For the VIP day of the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, I promised that I wouldn’t spend beyond P 1,000. The lower my expenses are, the better. I toured the fair with this strict discipline in mind. With titles ranging from classic literature to pop culture reference books, I tried to make my purchases as diverse as possible. To my surprise, the small budget I had was enough to satisfy my bookshelf. 

Here are some titles I got first dibs on with some commute money to spare. With these purchases, I can assure that young professionals and students can find good quality books that are affordable. 

Modern Classics/Classic Literature

From hardbound books to paperbacks, books under classic or modern classic fiction are easy on a broke bookworm’s budget. Expect these titles to be priced under P120 to P190. The authors range from Franz Kafka, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, Emily Brontë, and many more classic fictionist of your fancy. So if classic lit is something you are into or if you need some material for your English class, it will probably be in this pile under an affordable price.

Cash left: P810 

Autobiographies/Biographies

Roaming around the book fair, I stumbled upon what might be the holy book. This is How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky. It’s a compilation of essays he wrote filled with cynicism, brutal honesty, and humor abound. It’s also apparently his autobiography. Clearly, a lot of people my age will find a title like this relatable. Lucky for us, books like these are priced under P190 to P320. People can find biographies of other pop culture figures they want to know more about like David Bowie, Princess Diana, Hilary Clinton, and many more. Now if you excuse me, I’ll take a pause and read something from this holy scripture.

Cash left: P 620 

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Music/Film References

What can I say? I’m a frustrated music journalist trying to diversify music journalism in our own scene. In other words, I’m a sucker for books like these. Now here’s the thing, for music and film enthusiasts or just plain old pop culture junkies, books like these are quite pricey in the fair. But if you look hard enough, you’ll stumble upon gems like this one right here. I got Guitar World Presents… for P 190 only—the price range for these kinds of books is from P190 to P1,000. Some of them are worth splurging for like this one right here.

Resisting John Riordan’s Sound and Vision: A Guide to Music’s Cult Artists required some intense self-control. It’s modestly priced under P 390. If this title is found in another book store, it will be priced way more than that. This book is only on wishlist for now. Rest assured, I will come back for this one.

Cash left: P 430 

YA Novels

I can’t deny that as much as I sell myself as a sci-fi junkie, I love me some good old fashioned YA. Who can resist a good fluff story? I sure can’t. So I didn’t shy away from coming-of-age/slice of life novels like this one. The blurb reads that The Best of Adam Sharp is like a hybrid between Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity and Peter Howitt’s Sliding Doors. Lucky for YA fans like me, novels like these are priced modestly under P190. I haven’t had the chance to see other YA Novels with a higher price point. But as I browsed, the novels I found range from P190 to P390 and nothing above that.

Cash left: P 240

Read more: 5 hidden bookstores in Manila that fit your back to school budget

Humor

For my last purchase, I stumbled upon another holy book or at least it is for me. Everybody Dies is a children’s book aimed for cynical young adults like me. It’s an illustrated book with pages filled with macabre ways that a person can die. This is from the same author that wrote Everybody Poops, All My Friends Are Dead, and of course Go the F**k to Sleep. So when I saw that this was only for P230, I grabbed it without a second thought.

Another book I almost purchased under this category is The Art of Swearing. As a person who cusses like a sailor, I am looking for new ways to express my pent up emotions without hurting people around me. It also has a very cheap price tag of P190which seems to have caught on as the average low price point at this sale.

Cash left: P10

So let’s answer this: Will P 1,000 satisfy a book worm’s thirst in this book sale? The answer is a resounding hell yeah. With my purchases, I had five books from different genres. It’s not really the cheapest book sale a person can go to. But for brand new books and amazing titles, they have some good prices in store for their visitors. God knows that I’m incredibly satisfied with what I have bought. I didn’t felt copped out nor cheated on. It was good day for purchasing books for the shelf at home. And if you’re as nerdy as me, you’ll be glad that some self-control and a strict budget can satisfy your needs in this book sale.

Photo by Marx Fidel

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