Times Colonist 2022 book sale continues on Sunday
The sale, featuring around half a million pounds donated, took place on Saturday and Sunday at the Victoria Curling Club
The first Times Colonist book sale since 2019 ended on what organizers call a terrific note as more than 5,600 book lovers came out to buy books, packing them into shopping bags, boxes and suitcases. .
They lined up outside the Victoria Curling Club on Quadra Street and some even slept through the night Friday to be among the first to shop Saturday when the doors opened at 9 a.m. The two-day event continued on Sunday, when even more customers showed up.
The total sales value won’t be known until Monday, when the final results are tallied. The money raised will go to literacy programs on Vancouver Island.
Teachers and nonprofit groups are invited to browse the remaining books on Mondays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., picking up what they want for free.
Those books may end up in school libraries or on the shelves of area charity thrift stores, Times Colonist editor and publisher Dave Obee said when the sale ended Sunday. “It’s a gift that lasts a long time.”
“There are still great values and books available when the sale ends,” he said. “It’s an indication of how many great books we’ve had since the start and it all depends on the quality of the things people give us.”
This year around half a million books were donated by the public.
Each day of the sale, approximately 150 volunteers dressed in green T-shirts filled the tables and helped the public.
This group of dedicated volunteers is essential to the organization of the event. Some worked 18 days straight to tackle the daunting task of sorting and placing the books. Some volunteers took a week off to devote their time to sales.
“It’s amazing what people are doing and the dedication is huge,” Obee said.
Saturday saw 2,622 buyers counted, while Sunday attracted just over 3,000. Normally the situation is reversed, with the first day of the sale attracting higher numbers.
Although there were more people at the door on Sunday, they probably weren’t spending as much as those who came on Saturday, when established booksellers and professional shoppers show up, said Mark Taylor, chief colunteers coordinator.
Sunday shoppers were more likely to be looking for something for themselves or as gifts.
He praised the volunteers, calling them “wonderful, amazing, unbelievable”.
While the total number of buyers was lower than many other years, Taylor is pleased with the result, calling it a year of rebuilding after the pandemic caused a two-year hiatus in sales.
“Next year we’ll be looking forward to it, as long as nothing happens out of our control.”
Taylor hopes that with increased vaccination levels and boosters, people will feel more comfortable going outside. “Because that was definitely a limiting factor.”
A lot of people didn’t feel quite ready to be around a lot of people, he said.
This year, acknowledging pandemic concerns, 600 people were allowed in the building at a time, down from previous years when it was more crowded. Fewer numbers created more space between people and tables were further apart.
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The second day of the Times Colonist book sale continues to attract new customers today as volunteers unpack countless boxes of books to keep tables full.
“There are still tons of treasures to be found,” said Chief Volunteer Coordinator Mark Taylor.
Anyone who shopped on Saturday, the first day of the two-day sale, and returned today would find that “it’s almost like a whole new sale,” Taylor said.
Doors opened at 9am today and the sale continues until 5pm
For security reasons due to the pandemic, 600 people at a time are accommodated at the Victoria Curling Club at 1952 Quadra Street. This is the first book sale after a two-year hiatus
As a result, the area is less crowded than in previous years. Masks are provided to those who need them.
Boxes are available for buyers to pack their books. Pro tip: If you bring a rolling cart, you can stack the boxes and not have to carry heavy books.
The Times Colonist is holding the sale to advance literacy on Vancouver Island. It couldn’t have been done without the hundreds of volunteers in bright green t-shirts who take care of everything from sorting books, transporting boxes, distributing shelf cards in the sales area and answers to all kinds of questions.
By the end of the day Saturday, 2,600 people had shown up to shop, spending about $100,000 in total, Taylor said.
It’s less than some years. “We are still very happy with that number, all things considered. It’s a rebuilding year,” Taylor said.
The total number of buyers will be counted by the end of the day. But the revenue figures won’t be finalized until Monday.
Science fiction, First Nations and Canadiana are among the main draws for buyers, Taylor said. The books are arranged on three levels in the building.
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Customers of the Times Colonist book sale flocked to the Victoria Curling Club as they returned to a favorite event last held in 2019 before the pandemic on Saturday.
Eyes shining with anticipation, many said “Thank you” to the volunteers who play a vital role in organizing the popular literacy fundraiser.
Chief Volunteer Coordinator Mark Taylor said “welcome” to people entering the building at 1952 Quadra Street when the doors opened at 9 a.m. to browse books at $1, $2 and $3 .
The first people lined up just before midnight and hundreds more arrived in the morning, sending the line down Pembroke Street and meandering through the adjacent parking lot.
Despite a light morning drizzle, “the lineup was the longest I can remember,” a delighted Taylor said.
All ages showed up – from mums with babies, to youngsters in the children’s section, to seniors with walkers, assisted by volunteers if needed.
Jane Mertz, assistant volunteer coordinator, said the vast majority of patrons wore masks. Everyone was courteous and calm and respecting social distancing, she said, and tables are separated more than usual.
“It’s been stable all day,” Mertz said.
“I see people with huge bags and suitcases going out, so I guess they’re buying more this year.”
The total number of customers appeared to be down slightly on Saturday from previous years, she said. Dave Obee, editor and publisher of The Times Colonist, said that means there’s still a good selection. “I expect a busier than normal Sunday.”
Mertz shared a Sunday shopping tip: It’s usually pretty quiet in the mornings as lots of people are at church and come after.
Some customers were so keen on having an early choice that they camped overnight.
Sascha Martens was on the front row after taking his place at 11:30 p.m. Friday. Martens, 38, brought blankets and wore thermal underwear.
He had a good night’s sleep, but still, “it’s cold; it’s been a cold spring,” he said, shortly after 5 a.m.
Martens was buying for himself, but the lineup (about 50 people at 5 a.m.) also included local booksellers and residents of the Lower Mainland and Washington State, as well as teachers buying for their classrooms.
Why camp at night? “Just for fun, most of the time,” Martens said. He was looking for early science fiction and fantasy books for his personal collection and estimated he would spend around $50.
A cheerful group of six primary and middle school teachers who arrived early in the morning said the book sale was a tradition. Books are free for teachers and nonprofit groups on Mondays, but this group likes to get together for sale and carries lists of what they wanted for their classrooms.
Second in line was held by Joshua Chan, 22, of Burnaby, who showed up at 11:45 p.m. Friday, spending part of the night in his car because of the cold.
He sells books online through Amazon and was mainly looking for graphic novels and non-fiction books. Her dream find? A first edition of The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.
The books from the sale are all donated and the funds raised go to support literacy programs. It is the first sale since the pandemic forced it and other major events to be postponed for two years.
Sarah Sawatsky, shopping for herself, wore sneakers for a scheduled hours-long session. She plans to come back today.
First section, she okay? “Always science fiction first.” Then cookbooks and then “I’m going to run to poetry” followed by regular fiction.
Sawatsky is a dedicated buyer for selling TC books. “This is my highlight of the year. I’m an avid reader and book collector.
Bookseller Joel Nugent, 45, arrived from Bellingham, Washington and also slept outside.
He traveled extensively to sell books, visiting places like New Jersey, Phoenix, and Toronto. “I would say it’s the best.”