I’m very lucky to have a clean, comfortable, well-stocked library in my hometown. They also offer a lot of great special programs and events. Every year, the library booster organization holds a book sale to raise money for these services. They sell used books (and CDs and DVDs), donated by people throughout the town, for bargain prices. This year I arrived early, right after the doors opened, and made a beeline for the travel section. A few of my finds were books that I’ve already read (and enjoyed) but never owned. Others were on my to-read list, and a couple of others just sounded interesting.
The book sale is a great event. The people of this town have wonderful book collections that they’re willing to part with, and (most importantly!) they keep their books in good condition. I can rarely ever get rid of a book, unless I hated it so much that I can’t bear to see it sitting on my shelves. That really doesn’t happen often.
It’s always interesting to see what other people choose to give away. I get a pang of sadness when I see one of my favorite books discarded among the masses. Poor little book! How could anyone not love you as much as I do?! Then there’s that little bit of shame and regret I feel seeing multiple unwanted copies of a book that I bought at last year’s sale. Apparently nobody wants to read that book. Except for me. Or including me, because you totally know it’s still sitting on my shelves unread. But the best part of the book sale is finding the gems. There’s nothing like a book treasure hunt.
The prices at the book sale really make controlling oneself difficult. When it’s clear your arms are getting tired, the volunteer staff gives you a plastic grocery bag to carry around your loot. When the bag gets too full, you can graduate up to a box. If the box becomes unwieldy, you can leave it at the checkout counter with your name on it. Believe it or not, this happens a lot. People in this town like their books, and they’re happy to buy each other’s hand-me-downs. I managed to leave the sale with only a grocery bag full. Eleven dollars for four hardcovers, three paperbacks, and a DVD. How can anyone complain?
Apparently one woman could. I overheard her arguing with the cashier over the price of children’s books, because they cost more than paperbacks. “Aren’t you supposed to be encouraging kids to read?” the woman sniped. She seemed to think the 50 cent difference in price (yes, 50 cents) was an outrage. The cashier was very patient and reasonable with the unreasonable woman, but I would like to have smacked this miserly curmudgeon. Books are expensive, and the library book sale – a charity event! – offers more than reasonable discounts. I really hope the woman was from out of town, because someone as ungrateful as that doesn’t deserve to benefit from the programs and services this event funds!