Posted by: Kristi Tuck Austin | November 8, 2010

A day at the Richmond Public Library fall book sale

Money to spend and titles to buy

3 hardbacks, 2 paperbacks, 7 comics = $7.70

Saturday, Adam and I went to the Richmond Public Library fall book sale with a list of titles and $10.  Two hours later, we left with three hardbacks, two paperbacks, seven comic books, and $2.30 in change.  It was fantastic.

Highlights (in no particular order)

  • Finding a book by almost every author on my list
  • The young woman with an armful of books that reached from waist to chin
  • People carrying grocery bags full of goodies to feed the mind, not body
  • The lady behind me humming “Yankee Doodle Dandy” as she browsed
  • Meeting Susan Hankins, book sale chair, and Ellen F. Brown, local author and RPL Friend, both women I’ve talked to online and admire
  • Seeing the enthusiasm among volunteers and shoppers
  • Finding Chaucer mixed in with the Left Behind series and Shakespeare beside John Grisham
  • Finding titles that made Adam and I smile, like Your Pregnancy from Capital One and This Book Will Save Your Life, which made me want a doughnut.

Come here with $20, and you go home with a library.” -Overheard

Hardbacks for $2

My suggestions for shopping the book sale (again, no order)

  • Give yourself time to browse the boxes of paperbacks. Hardbacks are shelved by genre and author (fast and easy to search), but the paperbacks are boxed.
  • Bring bags, boxes, carts, suitcases, or a friend who doesn’t mind heavy lifting. You will want to take so many books home, you’ll need a transport device.
  • Bring a list of authors and titles. A list is useful if you’re as forgetful as I am.  My list also made shopping faster, because I could have spent an entire day going over the 20,000 titles.
  • Bring cash or check. The book sale cannot accept credit or debit cards.
  • Check a couple of sections before giving up on a title. The sale is well-organized, but volunteers handle many books, so Jeffery Deaver ended up in both the fiction and mystery sections.
  • Don’t wear a coat. It felt a little warm after browsing for a while, and my hands were so full of books I couldn’t carry a coat.
  • Check out the freebies. There are lots of National Geographic Magazines you can take home free of charge.  Don’t stress about cluttering your house.  If you’re a writer, they can inspire you for National Novel Writing Month.
  • Don’t forget special collections. Head down the stairs, around the corner, through the special collections section, and into the stacks to find gorgeous old volumes and rare books for a fraction of what they sell for online.

The Richmond Public Library fall book sales continues until 6:00 today.  If you cannot make it this evening, visit the spring book sale for more great titles.

A sample of special collections

More photos

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