Book Fairs: How to Have the Best Experience

Who doesn't love sales and discounts?

And us book lovers? I believe some of our magic words are book sales and book fairs! Aaaaah!

Personally, I am a sucker for book sales and book fairs. Give me an event here in the metro, and I will surely attend.

In line with Big Bad Wolf's comeback here in the Philippines (this time in Cebu), I want to share some tips I have "acquired" over years of book fairs. I know these may not be new, but for those first-timers, let me help you.

1. Bring your own bag

Tote bag is our best friend. And if tote bag isn't enough, box is another option. Some book fairs provide their customers with boxes. So if you'll be hauling tons of books you can ask if they have available boxes.

Another option is a trolley/cart. I have seen so many folks with those during the event. Luggage even!

2. Have a list of books to buy

Having a list is helpful if 1) you are on a budget, 2) if you want to avoid impulsive buying i.e., you want to be mindful of the books you buy, 3) if you're in a hurry, and 4) if you want to be organized with your shopping.

Note: Those are the ideal situations. 😂 But if you have a book hauling problem like me, feel free to disregard this tip. 😂

3. Be there early

If you want to avoid the crowd so you can browse conveniently, you should go early. Another perk of being early is that you get to see the books actually organized. Haha! And you don't have to worry about running out of stocks.

This one's taken during Manila International Book Fair. This was on a weekday evening. See the crowd there?

4. Go on a weekday

In relation to tip #3, if the fair runs on a weekday and if you are/can make yourself available, I suggest you go on a weekday. The reasons are the same as tip #3: less crowd, and good stocks of books.

Note: Big Bad Wolf book fair will be open 24 hours! 😱 For my photo diary, click here.

5. Bring cash (and extra cash)

Personally, I bring cash to any fairs because 1) not all stalls or events accept card and 2) it helps me control my spending.

Extra cash is also helpful just in case (translation: always), you find books not in your list but you really, really want.

6. Wear comfortable shoes

There could be shelves and shelves of books. There would be a lot of standing and walking, so better wear comfortable shoes.

7. Eat before the event

Before going to a book sale or book fair, make sure you had your meal first. This will give you a more convenient shopping experience, and you'll have more energy to browse and carry your books.

8. Tissues or wipes can be handy

Warehouse sales, especially, have dusty books. Some books can be in storage for quite a while, so expect your hands to get dirty. 😁

Note: With this, do not wear white or light-colored shirts.

9. Have a starting point and be organized

To ensure that I get to see every book in every shelf, I always have my starting point- the first shelf/table/aisle I will peruse. Again with this, you'll have a convenient shopping experience, and you will not waste your energy and time.

What I do usually is start from the farthest right. If there are columns of shelves/tables, I go aisle by aisle.

This photo is from Big Bad Wolf  (BBW) book fair.

10. Bring back 'unlucky' books into their proper places/shelves

Okay, here's an example: When I go aisle by aisle and whenever I choose to ignore my list, I get the books I want off the shelves/tables first. Then after I went through every section, I go to the corner and decide on those I want to keep. The unfortunate ones go back to their proper places or to a box/area designated for them.

Some book fairs/book sales have a sorting area where you can put those books that didn't make the cut. But if there aren't any sorting area, you can put those books back in their proper places. Or if you can't remember where you got them, you can ask a staff to help you out.

It doesn't take much to be responsible folks.

Each table in Big Bad Wolf book fair has this reminder. BBW also has a sorting area.

11. Do not leave your cart in the aisle

Especially if the fair's crowded already, don't just leave your cart in the middle. You can leave your cart just outside the aisle for a while so you won't get in the way of browsing book lovers.

But if you are paranoid of someone getting your books out of your cart, you may bring the cart with you but push it to the side, not right in the middle. People need to pass too.

Note: Of course, do not leave your valuables in your cart when leaving it in a corner. Or better yet, bring a pal! 😁

12. Be kind to your fellow bookworms

Just be courteous folks. First, of course it's alright to talk about books, but please do not spoil any plot. Your friend might not mind the spoilers, but other people might overhear you.

Second, be patient. In a crowded place it's quite inevitable to bump or be bumped by other people. We all know that's not intentional. So be patient, and say sorry if you are the one who bumped the other person.

Third, do not get books from someone else's basket/cart!

Last, expect a queue. Sometimes loooong queue. Patience my dear.

13. Be nice to the book fair people

The book fair people/staff are working so hard to cater to our bookish needs and hunger. So, it's just right to be respectful to them and be nice whenever asking for something.


So there folks, my 13 book fair tips. I tried thinking of two more to make 15 tips. Haha! But I ran out of ideas. 😂

Do you already do the tips I mentioned above? How's your book fair experiences? 😁