Friday, September 26, 2008


WOW! THANK YOU FRIENDS! Last night, the first evening of our Semi-Annual Used Book Sale, we exceeded our Spring Friends Night numbers by over 20%! We also saw new customers who traveled from New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

If you didn't get here last night, don't despair. Today (Friday) we're open 10-5, Saturday 10-4:30 and Sunday noon-3:30.

Based on last night's event though, I'd like to pass on a few things to remember.

1. BE KIND -- some people are here to find a cheap book that they can resell for a lot of money on the internet. We understand that and because we do, we allow those folks the courtesy of being able to bring in and use scanners. HOWEVER, we demand the courtesy in return that people will behave in a civilized manner. Not everyone who comes to this sale is a dealer. Many are gentle souls who love books and just want to be able to look without being harrassed, pushed or abused.

2. BE KIND -- behind this elaborate set-up is a fantastic army of volunteers. NO ONE is paid for all the work that goes into this sale. Many volunteers have given many, many hours to prepare for this event. When you make nasty comments about it not being a 'good' sale, you undermine their efforts and you undermine our ability to recruit volunteers. People don't want to serve where they're not appreciated. When you feel the urge to spout off, remember Thumper: If you can't say anything nice, don't say nothin'!

3. BE REALISTIC -- dealers and resellers are not the only ones with scanners. Yes, we use them too. It would be a breach of our fiduciary responsibility to our donors, our members, and our library and our organization for us to close our eyes to high dollar books when they are donated. Any high dollar book you find in our specials room is still way below market value. If you can find a particular book cheaper elsewhere, feel free to purchase from that resource.

4. FINALLY -- I got some good feedback last night about the blog and I want to clear up a misconception. The books that we feature on the blog are SPECIALS. The threshold for SPECIALS for our sales is $5 and up. The VAST MAJORITY of the books at our sale are below $5. Many, many of them are $1.50 hardbacks, and .50 and $1 paperbacks. Someone thought that our blog implied we only sell expensive books. Not at all! Come on down and find out!



Anonymous said...

What a great sale, despite the weather!

Anonymous said...

As you point out, some of the members are gentle souls who just want a few good books.

I found it incredibly rude that people with scanners were allowed to leave their containers in the very narrow walkways, and nothing was done about it until patrons complained.

I also was incredibly disappointed that people with scanners were allowed to remain in the room even when they were grabbing and throwing books around, blocking the "gentle souls" from looking at books.

How about allowing the first two hours of the sale to be open to members without scanners? Some people in the crowd mentioned this, and it sounded reasonable to me. It shouldn't matter to Friends who buys the books, and the scanner people won't lose that many books.

Besides, since the scanner people are using the same equipment and software and many used the same technique of scanning all of the bar codes, it really only pays to be first. When I saw the fourth scanner person reach in front of me to scan a box of computer books, I was not surprised that he found nothing of value to him.

I hope that the comment about Friends using scanners means that Friends are scanning the books at some point during the sorting process, not during the actual sale.

Another option is one that I saw working quite successfully in Delaware. The book sale was in a mall, and anyone who put a book in a box was committing to buy it. Dealers had specified times that they could access the books. It eliminated the snatch and discard problem, and kept the traffic flow smoother for both groups.

By the way, I have nothing against either Friends or the scanner people from making money. I retired from book selling a couple of years ago, and donated my antiquarian and modern stock to a non-profit book sale that had a good method for controlling the destructive book grabbers, and who could encourage the gentle souls.