Newberry Library to hold annual book fair

July 28, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Every year, the library puts thousands of used books up for sale. Starting Thursday everything from cookbooks and mystery novels to children's books, fiction and music will go on sale to the public.

One of Chicago's most popular book binges is the Newberry Library Book Fair. Shoppers can browse through six rooms filled with more than 120,000 used books in 70 categories. Book lovers can scour the sale for amazing deals in cookbooks, music, fiction, art books, children's literature and much more.

"It is our signature event and big fundraiser but it's also important for people who come here and buy books. They can add to their libraries inexpensively and have a lot of fun doing it," said David Spadafora, President of Newberry Library.

Dan Crawford , the manager of the book fair, has personally looked at every one of the books to determine category and sale price. Books can go from 25 cents to as much as $2,500 for rare books such as Gravity Rainbow or the Great Gatsby.

"Some people have no idea what wonderful things they are giving us," said Crawford.

Technology has now changed the industry. It is going through a transition as more and more individuals are doing electronic or digital-style reading.

"Some people just like the experience of pages. You cannot ripple through a Kindle. It is just a different tactile experience…if you are going online you have to know what you are looking for," said Crawford.

"You are going to see people doing both electronic or digital-style reading while they're also doing traditional reading from bound books," said Spadafora.

On Wednesday, Newberry employees and donors got a chance to preview and purchase books.

"Just looking for books I haven't been able to find lately on the shelves," said John Tallon, book buyer.

"I was just looking through Chicago history books. They always have a good selection here," said Rachel Bohlmann, book buyer.

"We have LPs, 45s, CDs, video cassettes, DVDs, we save cultural artifacts," said Crawford.

The average book cost around $2. The book fair opens tomorrow to the public from noon to 8 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Sunday the books go for half price.

The library expects to sell 80 percent of the books. The remaining will go to charities for prisons and shelters and what is left will go on e-Bay.

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