I have a friend in New York who swears one day there’ll be headlines saying he was found buried under his piles and piles of used books. I used to think he was just kind of eccentric in this booklust regard, but then I went to the Friends of the SF Public Library’s 45th annual Big Book Sale this weekend, and realized the SFPL book sale attracts the same hardcore segment. In fact, the book sale’s house rules forbid running, shoving and hoarding. (!) Of course, it helped that all books were $5 or less, and considering just how much variation in quality there can be in such a large haul, their condition was pretty good.
But I confess — I didn’t buy anything. Not even pretzels or popcorn or the hilariously dated Queer Eye book I forgot existed. Maybe it was heat exhaustion from tromping around trying to find the non-air conditioned Goforaloop Gallery (that story is coming up soon) or the germaphobia which contributes to my general aversion to used books.
However, clearly I was in the minority, as everyone around me was getting their booklust on. The Appeal’s own Matt Baume crowed “we got a ton of cookbooks from the 50s, and also a VHS tape entitled ‘Let’s Learn Internet.'” You can see his pictures from the fair here. Did you pick up anything you’re particularly proud of? Tell us in the comments!
You know how normally in those mainstream bookstores there’s always half of a couple longingly staring at the door while the other half is pawing through the stacks, or a little kid tugging on Mommy’s skirt to please go now? None of that happened. It was all nerdy bliss.
However, the fact that books were all $1 or less on Sunday did play into my DIY side. You know the type — they buy old books and do all sorts of crafty magic with them, and at that price, won’t feel guilty when ripping out random pages from Faust to use as background for Christmas cards, or drilling through a dictionary to make a nightstand.
If I were that kind of DIY person — with more money, a car, and without other plans for the weekend — I’d probably have had a piled-up cart, too. And given enough time I’m sure I’d have found a perfect inside joke-y book for Christmas. Stuff like “Excel ’96 for Dummies” might come in handy one day. Maybe even for nostalgia’s sake. You never know.
All the proceeds from the sale are given to the SF Public Library to fund literacy education education programs. We stopped by their donation center yesterday (it’s right next door to the Appeal office) and were told that they’re still adding up the proceeds, so no word yet on if they beat last year’s record $265,000 take.