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The value of used book sales June 1, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.

global_5968471.jpegEvery year Case Western Reserve University holds a massive book sale over four days in its gymnasium. The gymnasium is crammed with books and boxes – and people looking for bargains. People from the Cleveland area clean off their book shelves and empty their attics all year to make the annual book sale, sponsored by the Association for Continuing Education at Case Western Reserve University, a huge event. This year’s 63rd Annual Book Sale features 60,000-80,000 books and several rare and autographed editions. All hours are free and open to the public except for a $20 presale admission between 9 a.m. and noon on the opening day. Sale hours are noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday (reduced price day), and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, ($5 box day).

In the past I have made a day of it and had lunch afterwards at a restaurant in Cleveland’s Little Italy district, which is just around the corner from Case Western Reserve. I sit in one of the garden patios and leaf through a couple of my finds. This year I went to the Book Sale after a 12-mile training walk for the Breast Cancer 3-Day, so I spent an hour browsing my favorite sections and then hobbled home to hang out with my dog in the backyard and then take a shower.

I look forward to attending the Book Sale every year and have found some real gems. Last year I bought the two-volume set of Ernst’s Wörterbuch der industriellen Technik (fifth edition) in pristine condition for $45 (and gave the English-German volume as a gift to one of my colleagues) in addition to lots of fun and interesting books like Love in the Time of Cholera, Shadow Divers, and The Fun Book: 102 Ways for Girls to Have Some. This year my finds include Neuder/Ullrich’s Dictionary of Radiological Engineering for $3, the American College of Cardiology’s ECG-SAP III Electrocardiography Self-Assessment Program for $8 (for a little light reading and term mining – I’ve been translating lots of stent reports lately), Thieme Verlag’s Color Atlas of Physiology for $1, Made in America (An Informal History of the English Language in the United States) by Bill Bryson in hard cover ($1), and lots of paperback mysteries by P.D. James and Robin Cook. The European setting of P.D. James’ The Private Patient inspired a blog post back in March about being stuck between cultures, and I just finished Robin Cook’s Brain for my mystery book discussion tonight. I loved all the medical terminology he uses – and love that I can understand it! I can’t wait to dig in. The books should tide me over through the winter until next year’s Book Sale.

If you have a used book sale (or several) near you I urge you to check them out. You never know when you will find a dictionary that usually sells for $295 on Amazon for $45 – or a book that could radically change the way you look at life.



1. Melissa - June 1, 2009

We love to go to our ‘Friends of the Library’ sale here in Charleston once a year. Tons of great books, funny, interesting, I could browse for hours. Last year, I bought a complete 2004 set of World Book Encyclopedias for 25$. Otherwise, I have probably never spent more than 5$ on any single book. I also let the kids pick out whatever they like, and they think they are being spoiled! Then when we need to sort out our own shelves, I just bag it up and bring it by the library for their next sale.

You made some great finds there, Jill, and congrats on that 12 mile walk, too!

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