I’m always on the lookout for activities or offerings that are both frugal and fun. Yesterday’s find was a simple, yet pleasurable, one: A library book sale! This activity was good for both present and future: I had the fun of browsing the book sale, spent very little money, and then, bonus! New (to me) books. We literally (heh) have thousands of books in the house, but I can never resist a few more.
I was already out and about for the morning, so I arrived at the sale about ten minutes before it opened. I was one of the first people there, but I wasn’t feeling competitive, so I lingered outside under a flowering Bradford Pear in the fresh morning air for a bit. I knew they weren’t selling any ‘old’ books – if they had been, I probably would have elbowed the book dealers out of the way to be the first in line.
As an aside, I love everything about old books. Once, in a college history course, an old, 19th-century book on our subject was passed around the small class. One by one, as the students examined the book’s physicality, each raised it to their nose, probably habitually, and gave it a sniff. We had a good laugh as the book completed the trip around the table, noting that everyone, in turn, had smelled it. History students …
Back to the book sale! When I wandered in, on the hour, as advertised, there were a couple of very serious customers selectively and enthusiastically shoving books into their boxes and tote bags as fast as they could. (Hello, aforementioned book dealers!) I glanced at the various sections, from “Romance,” (no) to “Newer Fiction,” but decided that “Cookbooks” sounded like a good starting place. I got excited when I found a James Beard cookbook, but the condition wasn’t good enough to tempt me. Frankly, I’d rather be the one to spatter my cookbooks, if it’s going to happen. Although, the truth is, I’d rather keep them tidy. Someone once told me that if your cookbooks aren’t spattered and messy it means you didn’t really cook, but I’ll just have to disagree with that from now until forever …
In the “Individually-Priced” section I found The Last Full Measure by Jeff Shaara, which I have read, but do not seem to own. (How can that be? I’ll probably find it on my shelf next week). I like to re-read books, so $1 seemed like a fair price for a book I know I enjoy in never-read condition. Then, in the children’s section I found Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, a book I enjoyed as a child. I snapped it up for Miss Thistle for a mere $0.50. This beautifully-illustrated book touches on a number of important topics, from how one treats other people, to the subjects of happiness and pride. I can’t wait to read it with her!
Little Thistle got the distinction of being the youngest customer at the book sale, as noted by the friendly ladies at the check-out desk: Not much of a coup when you are 11 weeks old. I may have won “Cheapest Customer” as I waltzed out the door only $1.50 lighter than before, but I hope my small purchase helps the library mission, nonetheless. And, by purchasing books second-hand, I can feel good about giving them an extended life. Did you know that many used books are simply thrown away? It’s a difficult choice libraries all over the nation face. (Edited to add: I just noted that the linked article mentions smelling books! This proves it’s totally a thing). I thank the local libraries for giving these particular books another chance at life through their sale, though I know there are plenty that don’t make the cut.
I am looking forward to the major book sale that will take place next month library-wide in my community. That one is a real treat! (‘Old’ books … yay!)
Do you enjoy used book sales? What are your latest frugal finds? And, most important, do you smell your books? I must know!