Library Book Sales (which I still refer to as book fairs for some reason) are like the floating craps games of the literary world – except everyone’s a winner. Despite my arguments against coercive funding of public libraries in general and my problems with my local President of the Morgan Hill Friends of the Library I’ve been haunting library book sales since I was old enough to leave the house on my own. And I don’t think I’ve ever walked out of a single one without new reading material under my arm.
This afternoon I stopped by the Friends of the Milpitas Library Fall Book Sale and walked out with my wallet $25 lighter, but my bookshelf 13.2 pounds heavier (and those were all paperbacks!) At a price of $1.50/inch I managed to find 25 new books for my personal library. Everything from the 1977 In Search of Myths and Monsters by Alan Landsburg (with a foreward by Leonard Nimoy!), to The Analects of Confucius as translated and annoted by Arthur Waley, and from Look and Learn French by Anna Balakian to help Zaira withe her French lessons which are entirely online) to What’s the Number for 911? America’s Wackiest 911 Calls by Leland H. Gregory III (because Z’s mom used to be a 911 dispatcher). Not to mention more than a dozen “classics” including To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee which is required reading for Z’s English class this year, but we’ve been unable to find in a half dozen rips to vaious used book stores.
Speaking of used bookstores… I still have that fetish as well, and since I’m home schooling Zaira now we’ve been making more trips then ever. But the last time we visited Book Buyers in Mountian View we picked up 10 books for $65. We regularly have the same experience at my favorite local used book store: Recycle Books in downtown San Jose. As much as I love them, they just can’t even come close to the bargains available at library book sales.
I just today discovered a great new resource for book sale lovers such as myself. It’s called, simply enough, Book Sale Finder. They list literally thousands of library and private book sales around the country all organized by location and date. Best of all is their Sale Mail feature which will send you an email whenever a book sale is coming up in your area (defined by the number of miles from your zip code you’re willing to travel). I just discovered the site today so can’t provide any feedback on how well Sale Mail works, but the site’s been around for more than 15 years now and was written up in Woman’s Day magazine a few years back so I’m guessing it works pretty well.