Sales steady, overhead costs lower, at Old Book Sale

alopez@macon.comMarch 2, 2014 

Maggie Stokes wants to pass down a library to her seven children. She added about 100 books to their inheritance Sunday, taking advantage of the Friends of the Library Old Book Sale’s last day, when every book was half off.

“I want to go back and get more,” Stoke said, as she loaded her haul in her car. “My addiction is books.”

Stokes, of Cochran, commended the Old Book Sale for how organized the selection was and for the healthy turnout of people shopping Sunday.

Sale totals at this year’s Old Book Sale are close to what they were last year, said Andy Newton, book sale chairman.

This is good news for the Macon-Bibb libraries, which received $60,000 from the Friends of the Library last year. Because overhead costs were reduced by about half this year thanks to the event’s location inside a county-owned warehouse building in Central City Park, the group has a good chance of increasing its donation this year, Newton said.

Newton said he reviewed customer surveys filled out Saturday and found that most people liked the Central City location, though he acknowledged lighting and bathroom facilities could be improved.

“The county did a really good job of getting the building ready,” said Wendy Cassidy, president of the Friends of the Library.

Both Newton and Cassidy said they’d like the Old Book Sale to return next year, but it is not clear what the county has planned for the warehouse space.

“Having to find a home every year is hard on us and hard on our customers,” Cassidy said.

Any books left over from the sale were scheduled to be picked up Sunday night by Goodwill. On Tuesday, Friends of the Library volunteers will start sorting new donations for next year’s sale.

One goal the group has for the rest of the year is to expand its online book sale operation, Cassidy said. For that to happen, more volunteers are needed, she said, especially those who are interested in electronic commerce. Inventory has to be constantly updated and orders have to be shipped quickly, she said.

The Friends of the Library are trying to adapt in the age of digital book stores and computer tablets, Newton said, and hope that online sales will make up the difference if revenue from physical book sales goes down.

To volunteer to help the Friends of the Library, visit www.friendsofthelibrarymacon.com or call 478-745-2422.

To contact writer Andres David Lopez, call 744-4382.

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