The Dangers of Library Book Sales

Ah, Squiders, library book sales. Dangerous, dangerous things, aren’t they? One of our local ones, in celebration of Western Welcome Week, is having a week-long one where you can fill up an entire bag of books for $3.

Three. Dollars. For a bag of books! And they had a ton of old scifi and fantasy, authors I’ve wanted to read but haven’t gotten to because my normal library system doesn’t have them and they’re out of print.

(I also grabbed some mysteries because I love mysteries. Mmmm, mysteries.)

I come from a family of bibliophiles, and our local book sale was called the Whale of a Book Sale (I mean, it still is, but I haven’t been in forever), and they would take over the main building at the local fair grounds and fill it with books. My sister and I would indiscriminately go through the entire bunch, grabbing whatever had a cool title or a neat cover. Dozens of books each. I am still reading books that I picked up as a kid. I read one last month, in fact.

Of course, there are some who disapprove of such sales. These are the same people who dislike used book stores, because the author gets nothing from a resale of a book. The numbers don’t count toward their publishing record if they’re traditionally published and rely on such numbers to get their next book published.

As an author, I can understand that view. It would be nice to be able to get more money each and every time someone else paid for one of my books. But, on the other hand, I really really enjoy hoarding books and being able to pick up new books and authors that I might not otherwise. I have read some really excellent books that I might not have touched otherwise. I mean, I have also read some really strange and/or otherwise horrible books. But most have been good. And the hope is, if someone picks up one of my books, I’ll gain a new fan too.

(My husband misses the point. Every book he bought at the sale he checked out on Amazon first to see how they were rated. Where is the fun in that?)

(Also, I would recommend Barbara Hambly’s Dragonsbane, which I picked up at one of those library book sales when I was younger and really enjoyed a few years ago.)

Anyway, it might be fun to do a segment here on the blog about the library book sale books as I get through them. So look for that in the coming months. I’m reading Lost in a Good Book (Jasper Fforde) and The Martian (Andy Weir) at the moment and I think I’ll pick one of the new books up  when I finish one of those.

Do you love library book sales, Squiders? Can you control yourselves? Ever picked up anything really excellent at one?

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I love library sales! I remember one in New Orleans where you bought by the inch. They piled the books up and measured and charged a dime an inch. So a big 800 page book like Middlemarch or War and Peace you could get for forty cents. It was great. I was like a drug addict…I ran out of money and ran to the nearest ATM and got more on my Visa card…it was ridiculous, but I got a bunch of great classics. One I remember was Kazantzakis’s, Zorba, the Greek.

    Reply

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