Friday, September 25, 2009

Last Chance For Planned Parenthood + 40 Tons of Books

The 35th annual Planned Parenthood Book Sale is currently in progress at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, California. Beginning on September 16, 2009, it will continue through this Sunday, September 27th.

The Planned Parenthood Book Sale has now become a major happy hunting ground for book collectors and dealers. Opening day found a dozen book lovers lined up at 8AM; by the time the doors opened at 5PM collectors had reproduced into the hundreds and descended upon the collectible books display tables like starving neonates in search of mother’s milk. Think a Macy’s ladies undergarment sale with frenzied shoppers going through the merchandise as if in a battle royal, life and death, free-for-all.

“These are the compulsive bibliophiles and dealers,” sale chair Peggy Nicholson said of the opening night crowd. “When you get to check out at 9 o’clock you practically have to grab them by the neck and move them out.”

Nicholson said the sale, a fundraiser for local chapters of Planned Parenthood, grows, by book volume, every year. Last year, she said the sale grossed $123,908, the exact same amount to the dollar that it made in 2007. On opening night, the sale typically brings in around $23,000.

Volunteers start cataloguing and pricing the books in early January. Nicholson said so many books are donated at the organization’s warehouse, 721 E. Gutierrez St., that volunteers consistently work two days a week through September preparing for the sale.

Moving the 40 tons of books to Warren Hall this year required three moving trucks, and Nicholson said volunteers spent two days unpacking.

Collectors and dealers come from all over California to sift through the selection of books which, in a stroke merchandising genius, are replenished daily with fresh material, thereby keeping serious book stalkers busy for the entire length of the fair and not just on opening night to cherry-pick the ripest fruit.

This is not a laid back book fair. It’s a ten-day bustle n’ hustle for books and tranquility takes a holiday until buyers get home, sit back and bathe in the warmth of new acquisitions.

More from the Santa Barbara Daily Sound.

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