Bargain: Library Sales
Overview: Library sales are sales hosted by a library system or branch to raise money and/or thin their catalogs. These are usually 1-4 day events (at least partially on the weekend) that occur once a year or season. Many have a pre-sale screening the night before the sale for library members to browse and/or buy before the general public is allowed in. Pricing ranges from $0.50 per paperback to $5 per hardback. The sale can either contain books that have been pulled from circulation, donated new/used uncirculated books, or both. Many will have a last-day bag sale where you can buy a lot (whatever you can fit in a paper bag) for a flat fee.
History: Honestly, I’m not sure when library sales first started. I assume they’ve been around for a while, as libraries date back to 2600BC!
- A vast (and often current) selection of thousands/tens of thousands/hundreds of thousands of books
- Great pricing, especially on bag day
- The money goes to a great cause
- Being surrounded by book lovers
- The thrill of the hunt!
- Crowded, since they only happen one or a few times a year
- Some are unorganized and not separated by genre; none are alphabetized
- May be impossible to find a specific title
- Browsing/hunting is time consuming
- Circulated texts can be in rough shape
- Resellers (and their scanners) snatching up books left and right
I use Book Sale Finder to find all of my sales. You can also contact your local library to see if/when they have their sale.
I just went to one about 2 weeks ago at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. It was my first JeffCo sale and I was VERY impressed.
Walking up, I bee-lined to YA because, well, it was my priority.
There were some serious YA titles. These pictures just show one of probably 10 tables containing books on top and below. This sale had primarily circulated books and some were in really rough shape. But some were in excellent condition! I also ran into a few cases with multiple copies of the same book, so I could pick the copy in the best condition.
They had their children’s section in a separate room from YA. It had TONS of picture books, but also early readers and middle grade titles.
Then I went upstairs to explore the adult fiction, non-fiction, everything-else section and my jaw dropped. There were books. I mean, there were BOOKS. Hundreds of thousands of books!
The pricing was more than fair. I was expecting to pay $3 for a hardcover, but I was kindly reminded that YA is considered children’s, so they ended up being just $1 each! Talk about a steal!
I ended up picking up 12 YA hardcovers for $12 bucks.
All of the books that I got were circulated and some were a little beaten up, but I don’t mind. Some people leave the library book jacket covers on their books, but I don’t like how they look on the shelves, so I remove them.
Here’s an example of one of the books that I got – Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. The page edges were a little written on with marker or pencil. The binding was a little messed up. And, of course, the book jacket cover.
These issues were no problem for me. I ripped the library dust jacket cover off and taped the binding. The dust jacket cover removal process probably could have been more delicately – it ripped a little lining off the inside covers and removing the glue is tough. I will experiment after my next library sale to figure out if I can get them off without damaging the book and report back!
I’m happy with my decision to take the library dust jacket covers off. I would prefer a cleaner look on my shelf and this definitely achieves it! From the outside, you’d have no idea it was a library book. Here’s the finished product.
These are my twelve books after removing the library dust jacket covers! Aren’t they beautiful?
I’m a huge fan of library sales. Fair prices, great cause, quality titles, and an overwhelming sense of community. I already have at least 4 marked on my calendar for the next 6 months and I can’t wait! I recommend them to anyone not too concerned with condition and that wants a good deal. If you don’t mind working for your bounty, it is a great bargain!
Have you ever been to a library sale? What did you think?
Also, what do you think of the new feature? Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!