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Library: Book sale crowd finds bargains between the lines

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Vickie Bouvier of Pawleys Plantation left the 25th annual Friends of the Waccamaw Library book sale this week with a cardboard box filled with paperbacks.

They were for her 80-year-old mother, Martha Gordon, and at $17.50 the box was a bargain.

New book sale chairwoman Kathy Diehl wanted all the customers to feel that same way and cut prices this year and pushed “fiction, fiction, fiction.” Hardbacks were $2 each and three for $5. A row of 20 Tom Clancy novels looked brand new. There were some boxes of cookbooks labeled “Make An Offer” with puzzles going for 50 cents and vinyl albums — they are coming back, she said, — for a dollar.

Diehl, who retired as a financial education consultant for the state Deferred Compensation Program, said proceeds this year would be around $6,000. The sale made $10,000 for the Friends last year.

It’s not bad, Diehl said, considering this was the first year in the new library’s DeBordieu Colony Auditorium. The space was slightly smaller than the room at St. Paul’s Waccamaw United Methodist Church where the sale was previously held, and the sale was compressed into two days rather than three to accommodate the new library’s busy schedule.

“At the church,” Diehl said, “we had two weeks to set up. Here we had to jump in and jump out.”

The library’s schedule wouldn’t be as hectic in August, she said, but there’s no way the Friends could move the sale away from the week following July 4. Diehl said she got e-mails from vacationers wanting to coordinate their beach trips with the week of the book sale. “People are counting on us,” Diehl said.

Volunteers worked through the three-day July 4 holiday weekend to get ready. They brought extra tables from a storage space at Litchfield Exchange to hold books and had boxes on the floor to replenish the stock during the sale. Monday night’s opening sale was for Friends members, and Tuesday brought a steady flow of customers from the general public. The parking lot stayed full almost all day, Diehl said, and there was a rush between 5 p.m. and the sale’s end at 7.

Volunteers were boxing the leftovers Wednesday morning in order to clear the room by 3 p.m. Books will go to Precious Blood of Christ Catholic Church, Habitat for Humanity’s new ReSale Store and the Salvation Army for sales to fund other projects. The Friends kept most of the new fiction, anything after 2005, and other hot topics for its retail shop in the library or the annual holiday sale. Diehl is considering a Snow Bird Sale in February or early March to connect with a new market of customers who are traveling in the summer or just here in winter.

There seems to be no shortage of used books. Diehl said a man called with 20 boxes that he didn’t want to move. Profits from the book sales go to library programs and special projects.

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