Annual book sale is underway

Readers hunt for bargains, rare finds

People walk up and down rows and rows of books for sale at the Friends of the Library Book Sale at 430 N. Main St., on Saturday, October 27, 2012, in Gainesville, Florida.

Lee Ferinden/Special to The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 5:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 5:22 p.m.

Robert Sanchez's Saturday started like any other. He had to drive his daughters to swim practice in the morning, carting them down Main Street in his Toyota Forerunner.


Shop on

The Friends of the Library book sale continues through Wednesday at the warehouse, 430-B N. Main St., Gainesville.

• Today, 1-6 p.m.

• Monday, Noon-7 p.m.

• Tuesday, Noon-7 p.m. (half-price day)

• Wednesday, Noon-6 p.m. (10-cent day)

What he didn't count on was seeing a long string of people.

Some lounged in lawn chairs. Some were planted on the ground. Others milled about impatiently, waiting outside the Friends of The Library warehouse at 430-B N. Main St. for the opening of the biannual book sale.

"I saw this huge line and thought, ‘Oh gosh, I need to get there as soon as I can,'?" said Sanchez, 53. "The people sitting outside looked like they were sitting there since yesterday."

Opening day of the Friends of The Library Sale attracted hundreds of Gainesville locals and visitors alike in search of cheap books, records, magazines and videos.

"I'm so excited, I'm about to wet my pants," said Peter Roode, 72, president of the local Friends of The Library chapter. "You can learn almost anything from a book."

With only five days to snag as many armfuls of collectibles as possible, streams of people flocked through the rows of books containing everything from new age mysticism to art and architecture, children's books to Faulkner stories, statistics textbooks to antique American history volumes.

Kelley Serravalle, a 20-year-old Santa Fe College student, used a large red duffel bag to hold her books. Said bag gained about 20 pounds as the hunt went on, she said.

This was her first year at the sale. She camped out at 7:40 a.m. in foldout blue and black chairs with her friend, Amanda McIntosh, in order to get first picks.

Serravalle stalked the history and psychology sections in search of cheap textbooks.

"There's so many books," she said. "It's such a large collection you can rummage around in."

For Sanchez, the sale didn't just give the longtime collector the chance to augment his collection. It also gave him the chance to reflect.

He started collecting surfer magazines, comic books and baseball cards when he was young, he said. The practice stuck.

When he turns 54 in two days, it will mark his 40th year of book collecting.

He rummaged through the collector's corner, home to some of the sale's rarest books.

He dug up "Traveling With Birds," a 1933 edition that he noted was in "fabulous condition;" "George Washington," a children's book from 1943 replete with lithographic illustrations of the first U.S. president; and "Ken Kesey's Jail Journal," a colorful account of the controversial author's jail time.

The sale renewed the idea of how rewarding a rich, tangible book is for Sanchez.

"I know that a lot of people use e-readers today, but I still really enjoy holding a book in my hands," he said.

He smirked.

"I still collect surfing books, too."

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