Sold on the Book Sale

Doing a summer clean out? You can bring your used books, CDs, DVDs, and videos to the Haddonfield Public Library. It’s almost time for their annual mega book sale.

If you’ve never been to the Haddonfield Friends of the Library Book sale, which will be held on September 12 and 13 this year, take note: it’s not for the faint of heart, at least if you show up at 10 a.m. on Saturday.


Booksellers and collectors jockey for position, hoping to be the first to pick up that rare first edition they can re-sell. They lean over caution tape to look at books spread out on tables throughout the long, shaded, triangle of lawn in front of the library. They glare at each other. They might bicker, and someone is always told by a volunteer to stand back. (I was one of those volunteers while a student at Haddonfield Memorial High School).


Even if you don’t know the difference between a first and second edition, the event is worth checking out. It’s fun to browse through the estimated 20,000 items. Prices are low —most hard covers are $2 and paperbacks $1. My favorite finds have been books I never thought I wanted: James Beard’s Beard on Food, a blast of wisdom from a foodie authority; and Ruth Reichl’s Comfort Me with Apples, a beautiful memoir about love, life, and food from one of the best food writers out there. 


The sale items are donated, and the proceeds benefit the library. If you’ve got items to share, you can drop them off at the library from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (The library is closed on Sundays in the summer.)


The format of the sale is different this year. Instead of a one-day event, it’ll be held on Saturday and Sunday. This might change my usual strategy, which is to be at the opening of the sale for the best selection, then return at the end when prices are slashed even further.


The Friends of the Library, who run the sale, say they’ll be putting out new books on Sunday this year, so maybe I’ll get two days to jockey for position. I don’t re-sell rare books, but it’s fun, like hanging out in the mall on Christmas Eve. 


The Haddonfield Friends of the Library Book sale will take place on September 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and September 13 from noon to 5 p.m. Rain Date is September 21.

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