All items must go!

Book clearance sales can be messy, hit-and-miss affairs. One company aims to make clearance sales a more comfortable and rewarding experience.

CLEAR your diary and save your pennies. And if you don’t already own an SUV or MPV, this might the time to be friendly with your neighbour who does.

You are probably going to need it this Thursday when what is, probably, the most remarkable book clearance sale Malaysian readers will experience opens in Petaling Jaya.

“What we would like to offer Malaysian readers is a genuine clearance sale where they will find really cheap books, with no gimmicks or catches,” said Andrew Yap of Big Bad Wolf Books.

“Hopefully, this will be the start of a new experience for Malaysian readers, when they discover that there is more to what is offered by the usual bookshops and book distributors in this country.”

Book clearance sales are not always enjoyable affairs. They can be hot – for some inexplicable reason, they are usually held in venues that do not have air-conditioning – and messy.

Books are usually dumped in haphazard piles with little effort to classify them, while the prices are arbitrary and, sometimes, the books are so badly damaged they should be binned rather than be flogged off to some desperate buyer.

One main peeve about book clearance sales, though, is the prices. With the prices of new fiction paperbacks starting from RM30 each, discounts of 50% at clearance sales are hardly what you would call bargains.

After all, if you were a book distributor looking to clear your stock, you would want customers to be carting them out the door rather than picking and agonising over what to buy.

There is no debating what Yap would like to see, though.

“Our paperbacks will start from RM5 each, while our most expensive items, the large coffeetable books, will be RM20 each,” he said.

Couple that with an air-conditioned venue, thousands of the latest magazines from around the world priced at RM5 each and free bookmarks for customers (while stocks last), and you just might give credence to the Big Bad Book Sale’s claim that they are “gonna eat up the competition this May.”

The books – around 120,000 of them – arrive this week and only then will Yap know exactly what titles and publishers are on offer.

Still, he knows enough to be confident of the books’ appeal to the public.

“Thirty per cent of the books are fiction titles with non-fiction making up the rest.

“We can promise, though, there will a wide variety of books for all ages, regardless of what your ages or interests are.”

For kids, there will be terribly popular and entertaining Horrible Histories series – as well as its spin-offs like Horrible Science and Horrible Geography – all going for RM8 each.

As for teens with a penchant for Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries, you can find the whole series here for just RM5 each.

There will also be plethora of cookbooks and business books, while the fiction selection should please chick lit, crime and sci-fi fans.

Still, Yap admits to being a little apprehensive about the public’s response.

“Book clearance sales have been held regularly here but this is our first time doing it.

“We hope customers will be patient with us novices, but we do have some ideas that will, hopefully, make it a more comfortable and rewarding experience for readers.”

More importantly, he is determined to make the sale a real bargain for book lovers.

“We would like to make this an opportunity for people to indulge in books without making too great a dent in their wallets. Reading can be an expensive habit in Malaysia and this is our little way of making it more affordable.

“This is a learning experience for us as well and we are hoping to do this on an annual or biannual basis.

“Hopefully, we’ll do a well enough job that people will remember the Big Bad Book Sale as something to look forward to.”

The Big Bad Book Sale opens on Thursday at Dataran Hamodal, Jalan Bersatu 13/4, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. It will run for five days until May 18. Opening hours are 10am to 9pm. For details, visit