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February 1st, 2001

Library Book Sales

Library Book Sales

Sure, Barnes and Noble is OK and Amazon’s not bad for finding the semi-rare book, but the greatest book-buying thrill comes for me at library book sales.

During college I went to a great one at Fredericksburg’s downtown library (they had it twice a year). I’d often come home with two large boxes full of books for under $20. And a lot of these were out-of-print religion and philosophy texts, cheap paperbacks, and rare photo and art books. There’s nothing quite like the smell of dusty books lined up sloppily on tables for 25 cents a piece. Especially when you come across that one “perfect” book and pay 1/50th of what it’s really worth.

At a recent book sale I ran across a book whose title intrigued me: Eugene Field’s Love Affairs of a Bibliomanic. Written in 1896 (and this edition published in 1905), Love Affairs… is a wonderfully fun story about a man obsessed with collecting books. And for $2.00, the find was all the better: from what I can tell, this book hasn’t been printed in years (though it is available online via Project Gutenberg and as a Microsoft E-Book). This book hadn’t even been read (many of the pages were still together and hadn’t been cut apart) and on Alibris is currently going for nine times what I paid for it. Though not really “rare,” it was still one of my better finds that day.

A good place to hunt down your own local book sales is BookSaleFinder.com. -ram

Posted in Everyday Life

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