Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sharks at Library Book Sales

The book sharks were out in force at my library book sale this week. When I arrived I saw them standing first in line at the door. These sharks own a used bookstore and resell at half the cover price (which is why I seldom buy from them).

When the doors opened they rushed inside and began pulling books from the table. I saw that I was in for a fight and did my best to keep up with them. What I needed was a strategy and someone to back me up. Maybe I could have bribed them with candy corn to create a diversion.

On the way home I started thinking about what happened. Is it fair to allow booksellers to attend a pre-sale and buy so many books before the doors open to the public? Would it be more fair to set a limit on books that can be purchased?

If you have any thoughts on this topic, please let me know. While you're thinking I'll share a photo of the books I brought home. They currently sit on the floor while I assemble more shelves.

If you see any title that look interesting let me know. I found a huge cookbook with over 1300 pages of Italian recipes. Then there was a Cary Grant photo book that got me thinking, "Judy, Judy, Judy." An interesting title was Tales from A Traveling Couch. It's about a psychotherapist who revisits his most memorable patients.

So many books and so little time to read them all. I better get working on my next review.


  1. That just stinks!! I don't know what would be fair...I think limiting the number of books they buy is a good idea.

    I think that happened at my library book sale...I saw a couple of women with at least 10 bags of books packed to the hilt...I wonder if they were from a used bookstore??

  2. Sadly, if you limit it for some, you limit it for all. Thus the dilemma. This has happened to me so many times, but what can you do? I normally just stew internally as I run through the sale.

  3. We have the same problem people here, and even more annoying are the ones with scanners who scoop up boxes of books, scan them to see what they are worth, and then toss the worthless (to them) ones back anywhere they please!

    Those of us who go for the pure pleasure of books, have a right to be annoyed.

    I haven't read any of yours Rob, but I do hope they are home runs!

  4. Our pre-sale is not open to dealers. Only members of the Friends of the Library are invited (ticket needed to enter), wine and cheese is served - a very low-key evening. Saturday morning is a different story!

    I see Back When We Were Grown-ups in your pile. I really enjoyed the audio version a couple years ago. Enjoy all the books!

  5. What a great haul! Love the sound of that cookbook. Too bad that bookdealers were allowed. That doesn't seem fair.

    I'm a book fair devotee. School and library fairs mostly but I did attend the largest one I've ever seen a few weeks ago. The Holland Hall Book Fair in Tulsa. I went to the main event but they do offer a preview party with no book dealers. Interested folks pay $25 and have a limit of 25 books.

    If you are interested here are links to my Holland Hall Book Fair posts.


  6. Are these library books that have identification stamped in them and such? and they sell these? I wouldn't buy them for that much. At one of my local sales, the used books stores are allowed in with everyone one else at 9am friday morning and they buy hundreds of books. then again they resell them for 1/2 the cover price. I would like it if they had to wait til noon to give use mere 'readers' a chance. guess I just have to use my shoulder more and push right in. This sale raised money for scholarships for young women for University.

  7. JoAnn, The wine and cheese added to your library pre-sale sounds very classy! I like that dealers are not on the invite list.

    Diane, The sharks were picking books without looking at them which made it hard to keep up. I like to scan first before placing the book in my box. It doesn't seem fair to pull a book and discard later.

    Nancy, I know what you mean but maybe if the limit was 30 books (for example) it would still allow non-booksellers to buy the quantity they normally do.

    Kara, It sounds like you met up with a few sharks too!

    Heather, Many of the books I brought home did not have a library stamp. I think you're right that an aggressive posture helps.

    CozyBookNook, Thanks for sharing the links to your posts. I'll take a look. Tulsa seems to have a good plan.

    Aloha from Rob

  8. I like JoAnn's idea...especially the wine and cheese part. :-D

    I think the dealers are taking advantage of the situation, but I'm afraid I don't have a solution. I don't like the idea of setting limits...unless you set a limit for each day. At least then the dealers would have to work harder.

  9. Rob, first I want to say I found your blog while read Cozy Boo Nooks. I am a new follower.
    I am sorry this happened. I help at our libray's book sale, and have to tell you this would not happen here in Carson City. The only people allowed to attend the pre-sale are those who helped put the sale together. We also have a rule for the first day. You can only buy 10 titles from nonfiction selections. We had to make this rule because we had a library member who would come early and buy up all the good history and science books only to brag he collected them, not read them. This was starting to stop people from coming in because they knew Richard would get there first.

  10. Oh, that's so annoying! I went to a library book sale this weekend, and don't think I saw any of the sharks. That said, I buy a ton of books at library sales and would be angry if there was a limit on the number I could buy.

  11. Our library sale banns bar code scanners, but not dealers. I try to to be zen about it, since I can't do anything to change it and I'm glad someone in Oregon has a job. I also convince myself that the dealers are not after the same books I am.

  12. Those book sales can be fierce in the begging!

    I must admit that I am one of those sharks even though I don't get them for resale. I go as soon as it starts to get any newly published books and tons of vintage. The I go back at the end to get the great deals on whatever is left. I find the coolest, new to me authors that way!


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