When I was about ten or twelve, I remember going to a huge library sale and being so excited to browse and buy so many books at a super low price. So recently I’ve been looking at the http://www.booksalefinder.com website for such a sale in my area. Although there are a few small library sales, in the Central Florida area, there was nothing that was really as amazing as I remember. Then I noticed that the sale for Alachua county (Gainesville) said HUGE next to it on the book sale sight.
The Friends of the Library of Alachua County have it’s book sale twice and year, in the spring and fall. Since the spring sale, this year, happened to be on my birthday, I decided I had to make the 2 1/2 hour trip.
I talked my mom in to going with me since my husband had to stay home with the kids. My mom and I decided to get there near the beginning, as I absolutely hate the idea of not getting first dibs . We ended up getting there about fifteen minutes after the sale started. Let me tell you that those people who think physical books are a thing of the past,never saw this book sale.
Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, so it’s basically a college town. On a Saturday morning the streets were pretty vacant until we got close to the book sale. There were people and cars everywhere. My mom ended up having to drop me off while she looked for a parking space.
The sale has it’s own warehouse space that they use for the sale. The rest of the year they store and sort the books there. By 9:15 it was packed full of people and by packed I mean Walt Disney World on New Years packed.
Everything was amazing well organized. Trade fiction, mass market fiction, mystery, young adult, classics, and children were all separate. Non-fiction was divided up by very specific categories. They also have DVD’s, games, comics, art, and puzzles. The busiest sections were classics and young adult. Also ,the DVD section was crazy but since I didn’t have much interest in DVD’s, I stayed away from that section.
The sale is run entirely by volunteers. As books are snapped up volunteers restock from categorized boxes. I figured this must be because they don’t have space to fit all the books on the shelves at the beginning.
Within each category books seemed to be more of less randomly ordered. However, each authors books were grouped together and popular author’s books were in trays under the book tables. This made it easier for me to look for some Clive Cussler books for my dad. In trade fiction and hardcover fiction female authors were on one side with male authors on the other. They do say that as the sale goes on that the books become less and less organized.well
When my mother and I got around to getting in line the line was looped around the building. It took less then 20 minutes to get through the line though. It was super efficient at check out.
My mom and I decided to have lunch and come back later after the initial crowds died down. When we can back around eleven it was much easier to get a parking space and it was a lot less crowded (even though young adult was still packed). I found more books but soon realized that the really really desirable books were pretty much gone.
All totaled I ended up getting three huge bags of books for under $80.00 (my arm hurt for days afterward from carrying them around). I would say I got close to 100 books, almost entirely fiction. I bought everything from brand new releases to vintage books from the 1930’s- 1980’s.
I wanted to point a few things out and give tips to anyone going for the first time..
-You need to bring your own boxes or bags. We found large bags work much better as boxes get awkward.
-Expect to have to look for a parking space for awhile. Police are there to direct traffic but it’s still tough to find a spot Saturday morning.
-It says no kids under 12. We followed this rule but there were still kids there. I personally would not bring my kids to the first day of the sale. It’s impossible for them to browse and they will be shoved, pushed, etc.
-Get there early if you want the very desirable books. If you just want to browse, go later when the crowds die down.
-Make a list ahead of time, it’s hard to remember while your there what books you already might have.
-They only take cash/checks and you must have ID for a check.
-There are no strollers or carts allowed on the first day.
-Most books are color coded for .25,.50,.75, and 1.00. They have signs with the color codes and the codes are also on the back of the volunteer’s shirts (brilliant). New release hardcover can be a bit more $1.00-$3.00 but they are marked with the price. The rare books in the collector’s corner and books on CD are also higher but marked.
-There is a 20 books and under express register.
-You must pay for things sold in the collector’s corner there and not at the main line.
-The comic books and art are outside in tents and you also pay there for these items.
-Really large orders of five boxes or more can be held for you outside but you must sign in and bring your own boxes
-There is a pick up area because books are very heavy.
The sale usually lasts for five days. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are full price. Tuesday is 1/2 price and Wednesday everything left is .10. We never made to subsequent days because of the drive but we might try it in the fall.
These photos at the bottom are the stack of my books that I purchased for myself. They are waiting for there new Container Store bookshelf. These are minus the books I bought for my parents, husband, and kids. I also show the covers of some of my favorites.
The Friends of the Alachua County Library website is http://folacld.org.
It sounds crazy and it was super crowded but I had so much fun. For me there is a thrill in the hunt. I plan on going to as many sales as I can. I already have the fall Sale in October on the calendar.