I love a good book sale. I always have, ever since my Mom took me to them when I was small. She was a big reader and she turned me into a book lover too. My favorite book sale when young was on the boardwalk in her hometown. It was on a promenade overlooking the ocean. The books were amazing and the views were too. I still cherish an antique book of poetry I got there when I was about 10.
I was at a book sale today at my town Library and, as always, I found some books that are special. It was like love at first sight; the moment I laid my eyes on them I knew I would treasure them forever. As I glanced through a book of poems by Longfellow that looked quite old I came across an inscription that said: Christmas, 1889. Oh how that made my heart sing. Just holding the book made me feel like I was part of the late 1880s. I felt like I was transported to another time, when America was young. There are a lot of Victorian homes in my area; many of them are from the 1800s. It is fascinating to think this book has probably living in my area for over a hundred years. I had the thought that the book was in America before many of my great grandparents!
The hardcover books at this book sale cost only fifty cents. Thus one can buy a few books without any guilt! I also found what appears to be a first edition of Sylvia Path’s book: The Bell Jar. I love the feeling I get when I walk into a book sale anticipating all the wonderful discoveries I will make. I don’t own much stuff in life, but I do cherish my books.
Lately at book sales there has been a more commercial feel in the air. Selling books on the Internet, particularly on Amazon has become big business. A lot of people have little black devices that scan the ISBN number off a book and then the device spits out the price the book would be worth on Amazon. Crass commercialism has reared its ugly head in the midst of what always was such a quiet event of serene browsing among the stacks of books at book sales. Sometimes the book dealers are rushing about the tight stacks so brusquely people are practically knocked over. It is somewhat nerve wracking in the first hour of a sale, then the frenzy calms down a bit.
Now people are buying box after box of books they will never read. They are out to make a quick buck out of re-sale of the book. I once met someone down here at a book sale and as we were chatting he told me he owned a book store in NYC. I had the thought…”Oh good, the books I paid a pretty penny for when I worked in NYC were bought by the book store owner at a book sale for under a dollar.” Nice profit margin there!
I will admit I have sold a few books over the years. I bring them into the Strand in NYC and make a little fun money for a day in the city. I find it intriguing to see how much of a profit I can make. Sometimes I sell a bunch of just regular books and take the cash I make and buy one really special book up in the rare book room at The Strand. That feels like heaven. I am not a materialistic person; I abhor the mall, I don’t really care much for shopping. The rare book room at the Strand is the only place I’ve ever had the feeling of I want to buy everything in this room!