Beginning Thursday, Oct. 13, the Binghamton University’s annual book sale, located in the East Reading Room of Glenn G. Bartle Library, has been offering shoppers the opportunity to purchase classic works of literature, music and movies at discounted prices.
Each year, over 10,000 items are for sale, including novels, textbooks, biographies, cookbooks, CDs, DVDs and vinyl records. The library receives these items as mass donations from graduating students, moving faculty and other public collections.
Throughout the year, the library can receive almost 20,000 donated books. A team of library staff members and work-study students then comb through these donations, removing items that are deemed especially valuable for Bartle Library, either because they are not in the current collection or are often checked out by students.
Those items that are not taken into the library’s collections or put on sale are either recycled or donated to Better World Books, a charitable organization that sends books directly to developing countries or sells the books online to raise money for similar causes.
While the library estimates that the books on sale are worth about $20 on average, the books’ sale prices vary from $1 for a softcover book to $3 for a hardcover, while the records and CDs will be sold for a dollar each. Smaller, mass-market paperbacks will also be available at four for $1.
After operating with these prices on Thursday and Friday, the book sale will shift formats and become a bag sale on Saturday. Shoppers will have the option to purchase a tote bag from the library for $1 or bring their own bag of any size to the sale. They will then be allowed to fill the bag with as many items as they can carry for $5. Saturday is the final day of the sale, and remaining books will be donated or recycled.
Bill Palmer, a BU library employee and the coordinator of the book sale, began directing the event five years ago. Although unsure how many years the sale has been in existence, he said it existed when he attended BU in the 1970s.
“It’s important for us to get these books in the hands of our students,” Palmer said. “Because we have a lot of the classics here, stuff that we already have in the library collection but are classic in various fields and those can be very important to a student’s education.”
Any profits collected at the book sale are directly used for the library. Under the direction of the dean of the library’s office, the money is used to purchase new books and editions for the library’s collection, as well as the different furniture that fills the BU libraries.
Marisa Bordeaux, a senior majoring in theatre, said that reselling donated books exposes shoppers to an unpredictable variety of works they may not find elsewhere.
“It’s a great thing to give books new homes regardless of circumstance,” Bordeaux said. “I know I don’t mind if a book is used or a bit worn.”
Book sale organizer Timothy Tan, a senior majoring in economics, said he hoped the sale would encourage shoppers to re-engage with the world of literature.
“I think the book sale reminds us all of the importance of books in our lives in a time where finding the time to read a book has been superseded by other distractions,” Tan said. He added, “I hope people try to come to the book sale and realize from their search through the multitude of books it is worth something — something that you don’t even know the value of yet or have just simply forgotten.”
The book sale will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday.