Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 10/365 One of My Obsession.......Book Sales


It was book sale day.


We *did* donate 5 boxes to the sale, but then somehow managed to come home with another 5.

For those lucky enough not to enjoy this particular family hobby, here's how it works, for an ebay bookseller.

The night before, I load empty boxes in the back of the van, then the boxes of books we are donating to the sale, then our own two-wheeler to move the boxes. Then I remind child that we'll be getting up very early the next day to get to the sale.

The next morning I spend approximately 45 min dragging child out of bed, because she stayed up late in spite of needing to get up early.

Then we make a quick stop at the post office to ship books and another quick stop to get breakfast and something with either caffeine or sugar (or both) in it. Then we drive anywhere from 20 min to an hour (this morning's sale was the one with the hour drive).

Sometimes we are just attending a sale, but once a month we set up the sale for our local library, and twice a year we set up a sale for another county 's library (DH works in that county system, so we got drafted). That sale is this morning's destination.

Now, the last sale was at the end of March, so we thought there couldn't possibly be that many books donated already and it would be a quick set-up.


Someone's house apparently exploded with books and they sent them all to this branch. There are boxes and boxes and boxes of books, possibly the most they have ever had at one of these sales (and we've been doing this set-up for the last 7 years). Two hours into the setup, there are still 69 boxes of books remaining in the storage shed.

The first step is to set up all the tables and guess-timate which way the
wind blows with the donated books: will there be more fiction this month, or more non-fiction, or more paperbacks? Tables are designated, signs are made, and the sorting-of-the-books starts. Every box appears to have at least one of every type of book in it, so you either run all over placing books on their tables, or you make tall piles of teetering books, and everyone walks in the little paths between them.

Usually we have some "volunteers" from the local jail to help haul books in but not this morning. My daughter commandeers (and those of you who know her totally understand the use of this word) two 12-year-olds and trains them in on how to pack boxes on the 2-wheelers, how to maneuver it over the ramp, and how to drop the boxes off in the sale room and come back out in an orderly manner. She is the Stalin of the book shed, the Napoleon of the 12-year-olds and the Churchill of the labor force when negotiating for snacks and cold water. All 150 boxes are moved inside in an efficient manner, pretty much because she expects nothing less.

Unfortunately, the boxes are unpacked and sorted in a much less efficient manner, partly because book lovers are doing it, and we keep seeing books we like and paging through them, and talking about them, and recommending them to the other book lovers, who are busy paging through other books, and talking about them, and recommending them to us.

As a result there are books filling the tables, books filling the chairs,
books still in boxes, books that have been sorted and put into new boxes, which are then triple-stacked underneath their appropriate tables, which are already loaded with books.

Plus this sale has tons of VHS videos, books-on-tape, boxed sets of records, all sorts of magazines, but oddly only three sets of encyclopedias, only one box of National Geographics, and no boxes of large-print Harlequins.

And there's still people walking in with more bags of books to donate.
I'm thinking someone should lock the door.

Today's volunteers are all old-timers - everyone knows what they are doing, and it gets done, more or less. About mid-afternoon, someone mentions how odd it is that the sale profits are going to pay for the children's summer reading program, but everyone volunteering actually lives in another county and none of them even have little children. This leads to a spirited discussion of why none of the parents of the benefitted children have bothered to show up. No resolution of the topic, just a spirited discussion.

So why do we volunteer to do this? Simple. My name is Carole and I am a book addict. I am also an ebay bookseller, but if I am totally honest, I would still go to book sales even if I wasn't a bookseller, because I simply cannot resist a book, any book. History, biography, gardening, romance, philosophy, homeschool stuff, non-fiction, horror, science fiction, fantasy, old leather-bound books, you name it, I'll suck it up. Daughter grabs all the military, weapons, martial arts and religion books (that combo just begs for a psychological evaluation I know).

One of the perks of doing the set-up (other than the chance to get up early and drive for an hour and move 150 boxes of books) is getting to shop and buy while sorting books. Translation: we get all the good stuff.

That's how we ended up bringing home 5 boxes of books. It's all the good stuff. That's where it is. At our house.

Along with the other zillion boxes of good stuff we already had.


  1. Very interesting read. I haven't been to many large book sales -- but I've loved each one I've been lucky enough to find. I'm not sure I'd like the sorting part tho!

  2. Gosh Carole - that makes me tired just reading about your day.

  3. Sounds like you all had a great time! Sorry that I wasn't there to help out:)

    Well done, Jessie!

  4. Wow. Phew. exhaustion. But hey, you're 10 boxes of books richer! :)