I went to a library book sale today, my third in the last two weeks. This one was a relatively small one, it was definitely not as large as the one at the library in my hometown, but it was still big enough for me to buy eight books – some of which have been on my Goodreads ‘to read’ shelf for a while now, and others that I only just discovered recently, or today at the sale. There were a few others that I thought about getting, but they weren’t of a good enough quality for me to buy. I don’t have many turnoffs when it comes to buying used books, mainly just the smell, how ripped the pages are, and if there are any mystery substances on the book. And the cost of these eight books, half of which look like they’ve never been read at all? A dollar. One. Dollar. I’ve heard people say there’s not much you can buy for a dollar these days, I’ve probably even said it myself, and today I bought eight books for exactly that much.
When I go to used book sales, I don’t go with my ‘to read’ list in mind. I don’t have authors or titles that I’m going to actively search for. I just go to look and see what catches my eye. Maybe it’s a book I’ve wanted to read for years but never picked up a copy for whatever reason, or maybe it’s a book I’ve never heard of before. And sometimes, on the rarest of occasion, it’s a book I’ve heard of before, but one I told myself I’d never buy , except who can pass it up at that the price?
The reason my book bag gets filled so quickly at these things? The price. I don’t tend to go to sales where they sell the books for more than 50 cents. I also don’t tend to “seek out” book sales, so it usually comes down to when I hear about one, I drive past one unexpectedly, I’ve gone to that one in the past, or my mom has heard about one. That’s probably one of my favorite parts about living with my parents (which is a necessity at this point and time) – my mom likes going to these sales too, but only for cookbooks and CDs and she’s done. Me? I look at every single section of interest. Except when I go with my mom – then I look at whatever I have time to get through before my mom is ready to leave. Thankfully she takes her time flipping through the cookbooks so it usually takes anywhere from half an hour to an hour, sometimes longer.
My favorite section to look at, however, will always be the area with children’s/young adult books. It’s not even just about the books anymore. It’s also about the smile that will cross my face as I’m looking through the books when I hear some of the children asking their parents for books or telling their friends why they liked one they just spotted. A few times I’ve even stopped and recommended a book to an adult, some of them are parents searching for books for their children without them there, and others are teachers trying to fill their classroom library. I don’t get that much fun from the other sections, where I hear people bemoaning the books they had to read in school, or tearing apart a book with their words because of what they heard about it or the author. I’ll take screaming, laughing kids, running all around me over that any day.
But what is the absolute best thing I love about book sales? The history. The books that were once loved, the books that were abandoned half way, and the books that were never read at all. They’re all together in one place, and I get to look through all of them, looking for, and maybe finding, the next one I’ll love.
And not having to worry that I don’t have enough money in my bank account.
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