Gather your empty bags and prep your nose for the smell of books: the VNSA Book Sale is back. All year, members of the Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association (VNSA) have been sorting through hundreds of thousands of books, and this Saturday and Sunday, February 16 and 17, the collection will be up for sale at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.
The 57th annual event, billed as one of the largest book sales in the country and the "Valley's Greatest Treasure Hunt," includes more than half a million copies of paperbacks, hardbacks, children's books, and rare items.
The VNSA began in the 1950s as the fundraising arm of what's now the Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association with a logo drawn by local comic hero Bil Keane.
The organization has since held an annual book sale to raise money for the community. In its first year, VNSA raised $900, and since, the organization has traded used books for more than $6 million.
VNSA volunteer Barbara Simonick says that after a year of sorting, the VNSA volunteers will be hustling around tables of books, helping attendees sort through titles, and selling as many books as possible. Rare books and hardbacks are priced at a fraction of what you'd find on Amazon and paperback books are $1.50 each.
"We are thankful to be over the amount of items brought to the Fairgrounds for sale last year, and will be offering approximately 400,000 items for sale," says Simonick. "Our membership, which is an all-volunteer work force, together with friends and family and volunteers from Teamsters will be unpacking 7545 boxes of books, which is eight and one-half semi-truck loads full, at the Exhibit Hall in preparation for the sale."
Book junkies and collectors will line up around the block to get first dibs on books that have been donated by bookstores and individuals throughout the year, so if you're looking for something specific or want to add a few rare books to your collection, show up early.
The book sale will be open to the public on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but you might have to cough up a couple bucks for parking.
For more information, check out the VNSA Book Sale website.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.