The only thing better than reading books is buying books super cheap when the money goes to a good cause! Today kicks off a fantastic local book sale.

This was my first year attending after hearing rave reviews and oogling it as I drove by over the past few years. It did not disappoint!

Volunteers spend weeks leading up to the event sorting and categorizing donations. One building has children’s books, another building has “cool and collectible,” and the main building has everything else. I was GIDDY when I arrived and probably had NEWBIE written all over me. It was a delight!

My current strategy at used book sales is to let the books pick me. I know this sounds woo woo (perhaps that needs to be a tag because this will be a recurring theme). This is a survival tactic though. With past sales, I armed myself with a long list of what I was looking for, then basically had a panic attack at the huge tables stacked with hundreds of books simply labeled: FICTION.

So now I arm myself with an open mind and 2 reusable shopping bags. I wander through the stacks, running my fingers over the books and reading titles and reviewing authors. If something strikes me I read the blurb and double check my Goodreads account to make sure I have not already read it. Then I pop it into my shopping bag. Once I have a bag full I check out. Full disclosure: I do carry a second bag, but try to limit it to one bag.

I also keep other people in mind as I wander. Sometimes I see a book that I loved reading and am almost sad that I have already read it because I know I won’t have the experience of reading that beloved book again (I’m looking at you, Poisonwood Bible). Those books I pull out and lay on top of the pile so it stands out to other shoppers. If I see books friends or family would like I drop that in the bag too. For example, my mother-in-law recently retired and has been reading more and is exploring various authors in the category of mystery / thrilled. Lee Childs and Harlen Coben? In the bag they go, please and thank you.

What is your strategy for tackling used book sales?