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Traditional books still beloved at Macon's annual Old Book Sale

Video: Friends of the Library Old Book Sale now open

Hundreds of people streamed through the doors at the Friends of the Library Old Book Sale looking for bargains when the doors opened at 10 A.M. The sale runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
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Hundreds of people streamed through the doors at the Friends of the Library Old Book Sale looking for bargains when the doors opened at 10 A.M. The sale runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Although many readers get books on electronic tablets these days, a lot of people still read the old fashioned way.

Hundreds of people came out Sunday for the last day of the Friends of the Library Old Book Sale at Central City Park. The sale has been going on for 48 years.

Friends of the Library President Andy Newton said he believes there has been a little drop off in sales as a result of the growing number of people who read on tablets. But he said hard-copy books haven't gone out of style yet.

"We still have a lot of people who want to hold a real book in their hands," he said.

One of those Anitra Hardeman, of Macon, who has come to the sale every year since it started. She doesn't have a tablet or computer of any kind. She has so many books that she brings a notebook with her to the sale that lists all her books so she won't buy the same book.

She keeps a book by her bed and reads a little every night before going to sleep.

"It gets your mind off of other things so you can sleep good," she said.

Alton Fraiser, a volunteer at the sale, said he enjoys the convenience of reading on his Kindle tablet when he is traveling, but he still prefers an actual book.

"Just having a physical book in your hand, there's something psychologically comforting about that," he said. "When I am home, I like to have a book in my hand."

One type of book that the Internet age has just about killed is the encyclopedia set. Newton said lots of those are donated but not many people buy encyclopedias, considering that the best encyclopedia set is about a drop in the ocean of information that is Wikipedia.

"Encyclopedias are just about out of business," he said. "Nobody buys those anymore."

About the only people who do buy a set, he said, are interior decorators.

There were some young readers there looking for books. Nicole Sutton brought her 4-year-old daughter, Nicole, who wanted some Hello Kitty books. She was able to find some.

Nicole is still a little young to read but she does like books.

"She likes to look at the books and have you read them to her," Sutton said. "Hopefully she will like to read."

The sale featured about 100,000 books of all types. Tables were divided into 75 categories. It also included a "choice books" rack, which were some of the older, collector books. But even most of those were only a few dollars.

Friends of the Library does sometimes have books donated that turn out to be quite valuable. The group has a device that scans the books and then tells what that same book is selling for on the Internet. Sometimes a book that looks like it would be priced at a $1 turns out to be worth hundreds.

Although he wasn't sure if any valuable books were donated this year, Newton said the group has sold a book for $1,200. That was a signed Flannery O'Conner book. Most of those types of books are sold on the group's eBay store, and sales have been made to people from all over the world.

Although he wasn't sure what the take would be this year, Newton said last year the group donated $80,000 for libraries in Bibb County from the sale.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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