Sunday, June 21, 2009

Library Sale Aventures

Friends of the Library sales are far and few between in my part of Texas. Hurricane Ike blew 10 feet of water through the Galveston Public library and several other libraries have taken to selling on line these days.

I saw an ad on Booksalefinder for a San Antonio Public library FOL sale and was intrigued. The San Antonio PL has a permanent FOL bookstore, which I’d visited before – DD went to college in San Antonio – with good results. I'd never been to one of their FOL sales & the web page said they received a large donation of 100 boxes of books.

The donation turned out to be from St. Philip’s College. The processing department at the college removes all the dust jackets as a matter of course. We weren’t the only dealers and all the dealers were armed with scanners which of course were useless since there was nothing to scan. We had to open the books and punch in the numbers. To be sucessful one needed both a brain and a scanner – and a great deal of perseverance. I selected books based on the titles and the publishers. It totally leveled the playing field and slowed everyone down.

For once there wasn’t the frenetic mosh pit atmosphere that pervades most FOL sales. Everyone was good natured and we all talked and chatted as we worked. The books were in boxes on and under tables and in no order at all. The library uses the Library of Congress cataloging system – which I’m not familiar with so I couldn’t use the call numbers to help me out. I speak perfect Dewey Decimal but I’m not fluent in Library of Congress.

One dealer announced loudly he didn’t have the patience to punch in all those numbers and left after 30 minutes. The rest of us carried on and were amply rewarded for our efforts – at least Wallacex and I were. There were lots of clunkers but also some gems in those boxes. The books were only $1 – that’s unheard of in these parts.
do not sell one and we actually found list able titles.

Of course we ate Indian food, drank wine and talked books, books and more books.

I just finished listing my finds – between San Antonio and yesterday’s garage sales I added 72 books which listed at a combined $2,400+ - average price per book came out to $33. . I have a nice mix of high priced books with high ranks and lower priced books with ranks under 100,00.

The FOL folks are integrating the St. Phillip’s books into their store and told us they had many more books to unpack. We are planning a return trip in late July.

I'm very glad I took a gamble on an unknown FOL sale - it paid off tenfold!

1 comment:

Adam Bertram said...

Great post! I always love hearing about other online booksellers' adventures. I am also going to sign up for your RSS feed. I have a blog dedicated to helping others sell books online. Come check it out if you get a chance.