Find great bargain reads at annual Friends of the Library Old Book Sale

February 21, 2014 

old_books

After two years at the Macon Coliseum, the Friends of the Library Old Book Sale is moving back to Central City Park.

BEAU CABELL/THE TELEGRAPH — bcabell@macon.com

More than a half acre of books covering 300 tables and 75 categories await readers at this year’s Friends of the Library Old Book Sale.

“We’ve got four tractor-trailer loads worth of books and tables,” said Andy Newton, who is the book sale chairman.

“We have a record number of books coming in, well over a 100,000.”

The four-day sale begins Thursday and moves back to Central City Park after two years at the Macon Coliseum. The sale will be in a former distributing building at the front of the park near Walnut Street.

“We’ll put some little roads signs up,” Newton said.

Friends of Library started the sale in 1966 as a way to raise money for the local library system.

“They raised $1,600 the first year,” Newton said. “Over the years, we’ve contributed over $1.8 million dollars to the libraries.”

Last year, Friends of the Library donated $60,000 to Macon-Bibb County libraries.

“Our mission is to support the public libraries and the literacy efforts in the community,” Newton said. “Our slogan has been to put books in the hands of readers.”

Paperback books will start at 50 cents and most hardback books are priced from $1 to $3, he said. There also will be rare and choice books available, but most of the higher-priced books have migrated to the Friends of the Library’s online store.

“This year, we’re actually scanning the books because we started online sales, so the books we are listing online are ones that usually sell for more than $40,” he said. “I think we have about 900 listings on there now.”

He said most of the Old Book Sale patrons are in the market for books to read and not necessarily collector’s items, so it made sense to put the higher priced books online.

“A couple of years ago, we had an original Flannery O’Connor signed book. We took it to the sale but no one was interested,” Newton said.

They ended up selling it online for $1,300.

Newton said the growing popularity of electronic readers has made business more difficult for all book sellers, so the online store has been a helpful addition.

“People have Kindles and other readers and you’ve got less people reading real books,” he said. “Last month, we set a record on online sales and that basically supplements the sale.”

Friends of the Library work all year to accumulate books and organize them by genre.

“Individuals donate books ... and then we get books that come out of circulation at the library,” Newton said. “At the end of the sale, we don’t take anything back but the rare books. The last two years we’ve donated the books to Goodwill.”

On Sunday, books at the sale will be half price.

“That was very successful last year,” Newton said. “We actually had a record Sunday last year telling people right up front the books were half price.”

Friends of the Library members also can take advantage of a preview sale from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday. Membership to the group is $25 and can be purchased at the door.

“We’ll have wine and hors d’oeuvres, too,” Newton said of the members-only sale.

Friends of the Library Old Book Sale

When: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Feb. 27-28; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 1; noon-5 p.m. March 2

Where: Central City Park, downtown Macon

Cost: Free to attend; books start at 50 cents

Information: www.friendsofthelibrarymacon.com

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