It's that time of year again; time to dedicate a couple of days sifting, flipping, and sniffing through hundreds of thousands of used books and taking home a bag-, cart-, or truck-full of discounted books. It's time for the VNSA Book Sale, where the shoppers will find themselves in a "world of words" in the exhibit building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday, February 15 and 16.
See also: 10 Books Every Arizonan Should Read
Year-round, volunteers of the Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association (VNSA) spend thousands of hours gathering, sorting, and categorizing books and book-related donations in preparation for the upcoming sale. This year, they've unloaded seven semi-trucks into a warehouse at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. When the sale opens, the nearly half-million items will be organized in aisles, neatly in their categories.
The VNSA has been putting on this book sale for almost 60 years to benefit two charities, The Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation and The Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County.
As a nonprofit, it's the volunteers' passion that keeps the organization working toward this book sale every year -- that and the belief that written words will always be of value to the community. Since its opening, the VNSA has returned nearly $7.5 million to human service nonprofits.
"I think the two strengths of the VNSA are that we are raising money for the two charities, and we are also giving the opportunity to the community to buy really nice books at a great discount." says Heather Rayner, the publicity co-chair of the VNSA.
The book sale will include 27 categories, including an AV category with DVDs, CDs, computer games, and the like. The "rare and unusual" category will include a first edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the first issue of Life Magazine, to name a couple.
Books will cost $1 and up. Save the rare and unusual books, most will be sold at 50 percent of their estimated value. Shoppers will get to take an additional half-off of these on Sunday.
The rare books will go for 30 percent of their retail value. In a previous year, the VNSA sold a rare book at $500, although most don't run that high.
"Two years ago I bought a book that was probably done in early 1910s. It was the complete works of William Shakespeare with full illustrations for, I'm pretty sure, less than $20." said Rayner.
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To keep the book sale "fresh" every year, the VNSA contracts a company that will buy their unsold books in bulk after the sale.
The hours of the sale will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. The VNSA offers shipping accommodations from the book sale. For more information, call 602-265-6805, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.vnsabooksale.org.