Booking a chance to resell or even read
By Janelle Walker For The Courier-News September 21, 2012 5:34PM
09/22/2012 Elgin Laurie Null-Woung (left) of Rockford, and Kerri Peters of Elgin, look though the humor section of books during the Gail Borden Public Library Foundation's First Annual Book Sale Extravaganza at the library on Saturday, September 22, 2012. | michael jarecki ~ for Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 24, 2012 6:37AM
ELGIN — More than half of the 30 people waiting in line Thursday night, hoping to be first in the door for the Gail Borden Public Library book sale, were holding scanners attached to cell phones.
“I am looking for books to buy cheap and sell high,” said one Elgin woman who asked not to be identified, concerned that others would come to the first-ever Book Sale Extravaganza at the Elgin library and also look for books to resell.
To participate in the sale that night, buyers had to purchase a Friends of the Gail Borden Foundation membership at $25 for an individual. The book sale continues through Sunday at no charge, but for resellers, they wanted in early.
Several buyers could be seen Thursday night, scanning titles via bar codes, to see what the books were selling for online.
“I am looking for anything that I collect or anything that I can sell,” said Michelle Panicola, who was also scanning books.
Personally, she collects books on dogs and art books, and non-fiction titles that she can resell.
“It is mostly non-fiction, but I am looking for all different subjects,” she said. “To support my book habit, I need a way to pay for them.”
Selling books online is a way to provide a service in this economy, she added.
“Who wants to pay full price for a book anymore?” Panicola asked.
Jean Bednar, a Gail Borden Library District trustee who helped organize the sale, said her husband, Paul, also started reselling books online and knew what those resellers were doing — finding titles that have a high market value.
“We have 900 books at the house” that they intend to sell online, Bednar said. Selling just 20 of those books so far has already paid for what they bought to start with, Bednar said.
The library foundation, which is benefiting from the sale, was warned ahead of time about the people with scanners, she added.
Most were busy walking up and down the rows — an estimated 40,000 books — scanning for books to resell.
Not everyone there early was looking to resell, however.
Todd Honeyman, 33, of Elgin, was carting out a box overflowing with books he’d just picked up.
“I want to increase my book collection, and I don’t care about how the books look, and I prefer books to e-books or Kindles,” the popular e-reader, Honeyman said.
With books, he added, the reader doesn’t have to worry about dropping it in the bathtub. “Plus, a book has some history to it,” Honeyman said.
He likes finding books in which a previous owner has made notes in the margins, or underlines parts of the text, he said. “It is more enjoyable.”
Honeyman went to the sale with a list he downloaded of the 100 greatest novels. “I wanted to get some of those books,” he said.
In addition to print titles, the books sale also included CDs, DVDs, puzzles, books on tape, and even VHS tapes. Those were sold as buy one, get one.
Jerry Johnson of Bloomingdale walked out with 20 CDs of piano concertos. He has a personal goal of hearing every piano concerto before he dies.
“I have listened to them my whole life, but there are just a handful that are famous,” Johnson said.
Once the sale has ended, some of the books will be sold to a reseller, library officials said. However, the library does plan on using some of those books to keep its “Book Sale Nook” on the first floor stocked, said Denise Raleigh, director of community relations.
“We will have a new emphasis on the Book Nook,” she said.