So we had a garage sale here today. It went well, especially considering that we didn’t have much of note to sell. And for the most part, we didn’t have your typical garage sale items, either; no knickknacks, no children's toys, no wonky furniture, no old shoes. What we did have were lots of building supplies, computer games, some bikes and animal cages and flowerpots, and a whole hell of a lot of books. I had books spread out on two long, flat lawn chairs, three rows of books standing on their edges on a makeshift table made from plywood and two sawhorses, and about five half-full boxes of books on the ground.
You could tell who were book people and who were not. There were those that sort of half-scanned this massive selection, not really touching anything, not really daring to get close unless something caught their eye, and then wandering away to the rest of the fantastic items that we were offering for sale. Some didn't even glance. And some went straight for the books, dove in and did not surface for a very, very long time.
I priced these books to sell. 25 cents for a paperback, 50 cents for a hardcover. Trade paper counted as paper. Buy books, people! Read and be happy!
One man told me that at a garage sale a little further down the street, they were selling their paperbacks for a dollar apiece, two or three or four dollars for a hardcover.
"That's crazy!" I told him.
"That's what I said," he replied, laughing, and went back to digging among the piles.
My favourite, though, was a woman who arrived early in the afternoon. Most of these books were not originally mine, but given to me by a friend who needed to clear out much of the collection upon moving. I kept a good number, my mother kept some more, and we gave some away. The rest were an odd collection of SF and Romance, self-help and new age and non fiction. This woman was so enthusiastic when she saw this collection that she could barely contain herself.
When her arms were almost full to overflowing, I found her a box. Soon, the box was overflowing and I had to find her a second.
She could not believe that she had found this amazing treasure trove of books, and it made me so happy to be able to sell them to her. In another situation, I would have given them all to her for free, just because they made her so happy.
As it is, even with my brother and I splitting the proceeds from the sale, I made a nice bit of change. I danced around in the front hallway with the dogs, singing "Worldcon money, worldcon money!" (Which is more fun to sing than, "Tuition money! Just another drop in the hole!")
Then I packed up the rest of the books and took them to a nearby used book store (a new one! I'd never been there before). And maybe I'll make a few more dollars there (the guy's still sorting through the boxes and will let me know when he's found what he'd like to buy and what he'd trade for and what--though he doesn't know it yet--I'll just donate to him to do with whatever he likes), and maybe I'll just get a few more books. Always more books.