Yesterday afternoon, I went with a friend to the half-priced book sale. It was Sunday, the last day of the sale, and the warehouse it was set in wasn’t as busy as you might’ve expected. Dozens of tables were set up, with boxes upon boxes of books. People were roaming the aisles, scanning for books they might want. Some were sitting on the floor, sifting through whatever books hadn’t fit on the table.
I honestly don’t know where all these books came from. I wish I would have thought to ask, but if I had to hazard a guess, a lot of people sent in books they no longer wanted. It was a bit depressing. You go to the paperback section, especially, where all the books there have creases on their bindings, and you can’t help but think these books must have a story, and here they are, just tossed aside.
Beyond being sorted into general age ranges (children’s, young adults, adults), the books were just thrown together. Romance novels predominated the adult’s section, with all of its mushy cheesiness. (One novel, “To Trust a Cop” might’ve sounded potentially interesting, until I read ‘Like it or not, she’s hit the police radar, and in steps sexy detective Cody Warren,’ as if you always need to have an extremely sexy guy to have a good romance.) The young adults looked mostly for fairly young kids, although there were quite a few copies of Twilight.
There was something about the haphazardly organized collection of these books that was mind-boggling. It was very humbling. You go into a library or a bookstore, with things neatly on the shelf, and I don’t think it really hits you just how many books there are in the world. This is just one small portion of the books that are out there, even though there might very well have been thousands of books in that warehouse.
Suffice it to say, it was a humbling experience, being around so many used books.