Suzanne Kerlin said she expects more than 600 people to be lined up at 6:30 a.m. May 10 outside the Snider Agricultural Arena.
Is Apple releasing a new iPhone? Samsung peddling the next Galaxy? Or Amazon proffering a bigger and better Kindle?
These folks will be up with the sun to get their hands on books. Used books.
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The 53rd annual AAUW Used Book Sale officially opens at 9 a.m. Saturday, but staff will begin distributing entrance numbers to early birds at 6:30 a.m. Once inside, visitors can peruse more than 200,000 books sorted into more than 30 categories.
According to Kerlin, they won’t be disappointed.
“We really have the most wonderful quality books this year,” Kerlin said. “Every category has outstanding books in it. I can’t emphasize enough that the caliber of the books this year is superb.”
Of particular interest are the special collections and art collections.
“We’ve got enormous, beautiful art books and absolutely superior special collections this year,” Kerlin said.
For more than half a century, thousands of bibliophiles from near and far have flocked to the four-day sale, which is one of the largest on the East Coast. Proceeds benefit the American Association of University Women State College Branch, which, among other leadership endeavors, provides grants to local nonprofit charitable groups, giving preferences to those that support women and education.
More than 250 volunteers work year-round sorting and pricing thousands of donated books. Kerlin said the book sale wouldn’t be possible without the public’s donations.
“The public, as usual, has provided us with wonderful books to sell,” she said.
The sale is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 10-13. Those who wait until Monday can shop for half price, and Tuesday’s shoppers can buy an entire bag of books for $5. Regardless of which day they visit the sale, visitors are asked to bring their own bag to tote away their literary finds.
So, what is it, in this electronics-obsessed age, that draws thousands of people — last year’s crowd topped 9,000 — to a used book sale?
“I think people really want to hold a book in their hand and to be able to turn the pages,” Kerlin said.
And that’s something that, quite simply, there isn’t an app for.