I am sure the book-lovers have been waiting with bated breath to see what I got this morning. I’ve been attending this sale every May since I was pregnant with Abby, and she will be 7 this summer. That year, books sold for $5 a bag, and I filled 10-15 bags. Now the bags go for $12 a bag. Today I came home with four bags, two of them my own tote bags that I brought, and two the totes they provide there, a reusable grocery tote. I wondered just how many books I can get in a tote so I emptied one out and counted:
In this tote there were 15 oversized (trade) fiction paperbacks, 8 trade non-fiction, a hardcover “Day in the Life of the Amish,” 4 hardcover fiction, 1 vintage set of S.E. Hinton paperbacks in a slipcase, a Math Skills workbook, 6 children’s vintage hardcovers and 3 “Dear America” children’s fiction hardcovers. Also, “Buy-ology,” a hardcover I was going to purchase for research for my book; that book alone would have cost me over $12!
You can see what kinds of books I am attracted to. For years I sold vintage children’s books to homeschoolers through a mailing list, and I still gravitate towards those at every sale. I can’t help myself, even though I rarely sell books anymore. I sell enough to make back whatever money I invest in our own books. I do still know values of children’s books, however, so don’t e-mail and ask which Happy Hollisters are hiding in the bottom of the pile. There are only a couple that are worth much money, and they aren’t there.
This is what I do when I go to a book sale. I head to the children’s first and go through quickly. Very quickly. You have to, at these kinds of sales. You have to grab fast, too, because there are other people there who know children’s books too, and they are grabbing fast. I grab the stack of Happy Hollisters without looking through them. Same with the set of 10 hardcover Series of Unfortunate Events for Katie. The Dear American series books go into the bag as fast as I can grab them and any vintage book that looks in good shape. I do not take the time to look through them; at least not at a bag sale. I am drawn to old readers, especially ones like the yellow reader I remember from my own childhood, and I love Nancy Drews for the same reason.
Another tote full of the big paperbacks, some of which I will read and sell at my next garage sale. As you can see, I like both fiction and non-fiction. Many of these I grabbed just because of the cover illustrations. Others, because they are an author I have enjoyed before. There were 28 books in this tote, so I paid less than 50-cents each, and for these books I can usually get $1-$1.50 each at my garage sales.
After I hit the trade paperback fiction, I always check out the non-fiction. These days I read more non-fiction than fiction, since that is what I am writing. I miss the fiction though, and will occasionally set aside an entire day for reading. I still have the newest Jodi Picoult and Elizabeth Berg books waiting for one of those days. I usually read one book all the way through in a day, especially those from my favorite authors. Non-fiction, I will set down and pick up for several days, and if it is research for my book, I use little Post-Its on the pages and make notes.
What you don’t see in these pictures are the 25+ mass market paperbacks I grabbed just to post on PaperBackSwap.com, since I need credits so the next time I have a wish-list book come up I can order it. Katie loves owning the books she reads so I am using a lot of my credits for her.
Now all I need to do is get these put away and find some time to read!