Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Conquering an Addiction: Library Sales

What is it about a pile of used books at under $2 that drives me into a crazed obsessive state? I’m still trying to figure out this question after a year or so of mad buying at library sales. I didn’t always use to be this way, you know? I used to be an avid library patron. I would go once a week or two weeks, checkout a bunch of books that I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to within the 3 week time frame and go home happy. Happy because it was completely free unless I bought it back late and happy because I had plenty of clutter free living space. Then I learned about library sales and how to find them. I learned how other readers had over a hundred or sometimes hundreds of books in their homes (ahem, Miss Book Coop). They put my 40 unread books to shame. One day I figured, “What the heck? You can’t beat buying a book for less than $2 so why not try it?” Well, try I did and now I’ve developed one heck of an addiction.

My favorite way to fulfill my addiction check for library sales is at Book Sale Finder. You just click on your state and it shows you all your local library sales by date. I really don’t even need this anymore…yes people it’s that bad. I’m such a regular that I have the dates memorized of when is the next one. I just stroll in with my cloth grocery bags ready to elbow the first person that gets in my way. I go through each table and sometimes even under tables, book by book searching out titles that were recommended to me or that look interesting. If I’m at a table of particular interest, like the popular fiction table, I get all mama bear about my space. I start hovering over the books and when I see someone take a book from my table I immediately try to see what the title is and if it’s one that I want I give them the hardcore eye, complete with raised eyebrow. It’s really quite disgusting.

I can’t even explain why I do this. I guess it’s the thrill of the hunt. Finding that book that someone else paid full price for 50₵, just so I can come online and boast “Hey you guys, look at what I got and how little I paid!!” Nevermind, that I have no bookshelves to display these gems. Nearly all my books are neatly crammed into any available space in my apartment, like the TV cabinet and closet. My poor nightstand has a lean to the right with all the books that I couldn’t cram. I started with 40 owned, moved to about 103 owned last year and this year…well I think I’m at or close to 150. I’m afraid to do a re-count.

So I realized after genuinely not having the space for these wonderful books that I NEED TO STOP. The Pequot Library Sale was my last hurrah and I made sure it was a good one by picking up 19 newbies at less than $13 (damn, there goes that boasting thing again).

Here is part of what I picked up at the Pequot sale in July (ahem, yes I went twice):

I’ve been making an effort to read what I own by going to the library much less and joining challenges where I can read my own books for the tasks. It’s helped me stay motivated and I’ve read 19 of my own books this year. Whoohoo! But I realize that I still have a long way to go. So you have it here first: I am swearing off library sales for the rest of the year. Yes, I said it. No more library sales. It’s not fair to my already crammed books to keep acquiring more. Every time I open up a cabinet they stare at me pathetically. My stomach twists every time I see a pile or find a book in a weird place and I wonder “when did I buy this?” So that’s it for the next 4 months. I swear. lol.


  1. I TOTALLY give people the stink-eye at library sales... and I have to know what other people are picking up too. I have NO qualms about telling someone that I heard and/or thought that a book was crap so that they won't buy it... so that I can.


  2. I consider library sales a guilt free addiction since they are so cheap :P

    which explains the hundreds of unread books everywhere. perhaps you're on to something.

  3. I love your background Jackie and welcome to the blogosphere! My bookcase is full up, I bought 2 books on Book Depository the other day and 2 books from the charity today despite having a stack growing up next tome that won't fit upstairs.

    You're lucky you have such good library sales, I rarely find anything there I want. Maybe that is a good thing!

    Anyway, it sounds like you need to join the September book ban, Jackie! I'm giving book-buying up this September and hopefully until Christmas.

    Come join me at

  4. @ Becky: LOL! I haven't had to do that yet. But I did nearly take out an older woman with my bag of books at the last sale because she was eyeing the HF books I was looking at. I caught myself and pretended like I was clumsy. Not a shining moment. :/

    @ Allison: Care to join me on my ban?

    @ Fiona: Thanks Fi! Hmmmm, I think I will join you. It's only a month so it shouldn't be too painful. I only plan on getting Mockingjay in August, which I've been waiting a whole year for. That will be my last official purchase and it's made at a store, so it doesn't officially count for this ban (like my loophole? lol).

  5. :) I use plastic tubs to make more space for my books! At least, until I have my own space and book cases!

  6. Oh yes, I have a couple of plastic tubs that are filled to capacity. :)