It’s the most wonderful time of the year for bookish Phoenicians: The Open is over, the Cactus League has not reconvened, and the annual VNSA Used Book Sale (now in its 64th year) is set to begin. The 2020 version of the massive charity book sale, themed “A Galaxy of Good Reads,” will take over the Ag Building at the Arizona Fairgrounds on February 8 and 9.
How massive is this book sale? More than half a million "gently used" to "like-new" books are tabled throughout the structure, organized into 29 categories.
Several tables and dozens of boxes will be overflowing with cookbooks. That includes everything from copies of Chris Bianco’s first cookbook Bianco: Pizza, Pasta, and Other Food I Like to boxes of Betty Crocker to stacks of the iconic red-and-white-checkered Good Housekeeping. Sifters will also find works from Julia Child and Martha Stewart, while recipe hunters may see cookbooks for vegetarian dishes, homestyle meals, specialty cakes, and more.
Other forms of media are also available, like records, magazines, CDs, DVDs, games, and maps.
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And don't forget the feel-good part. In 2019, more than 13,000 shoppers hit the books, raising roughly $391,000 for area nonprofits — namely the Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County and the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation. What’s more, the largest used book sale in the Southwest is also staffed entirely by volunteers (VNSA is short for Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association, Inc.).
Sale hours for the 2020 VNSA Used Book Sale are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 8, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 9. Entry is free, but the Arizona Fairgrounds does charge for $8 for parking, so it’s advised to bring cash. (The book sale itself accepts most forms of payment.) Books go as low as $1 — with everything half-price on Sunday.
For more information, see the VNSA Used Book Sale website.