Ironically, even in the digital age we're in, with e-Readers and Pinterest, books are still highly sought after. From community centers to schools to home decor, buying books to create a library can be taxing on the bottom line, however, there is hope. Over the weekend I learned about wonderful non-profit organization here in Phoenix called VNSA - Volunteer Non-Profit Service Association, which holds a huge Annual Used Book Sale. No, this years number one design books weren't stacked on the many tables inside the Exhibit Building at the AZ State Fairgrounds, but there were tons of good condition, even some new edition books selling starting at just $1. Yes, this used books sale event was similar to thrifting for books, however, the organized categories are much greater. In a thrift store, you may find one or two design or art books at a time - or maybe even a Time / Life Photography book set - but this was bigger than that, and with some serious book shoppers too. Many book buyers knew of the event earlier (as in a year earlier) and lined up outside two hours before doors opened at 8 am. Some buyers bring their own totes, some even brought suitcases to cart off their haul. Shopping carts were provided (mostly from Target) and the event was quite an experience! Although I was focused on finding art, fashion, photography, interior design and architecture, Jeff found at least three business books for himself, and one to give to an associate at work. Here's some of what I saw....

Some of the books I found in the Architecture section, I also found over in the Decorating section, for $1 - $3 LESS and still in good condition. Period style books are a good find and a great addition to add to a student or designers library - it's a period of style, meaning its history, so it's not going to change, but can still be a source of inspiration (think going back to the sometimes forgotten roots of interior design). If you love movies, art and design, using these books in your decor can also help tell the story of you in your home.

The VNSA used Book Sale isn't just about buying books at a dirt cheap price -  The proceeds of the annual VNSA Used Book Sale benefit Valley human service agencies. The dollars donated to community programs has increased significantly over the years. Since the first VNSA Used Book Sale in 1957, VNSA has returned close to $7,500,000 to local nonprofit human service agencies in our community. Since 1987, VNSA Used Book Sale proceedes have supported these organizations: 

The VMSA sells over 500,000 gently used hardback books (75%), paperbacks (25%), video tapes, CDs, DVDs, books on tape and CD, puzzles, and games.  The books are arranged into 27 different categories and hundreds of sub-categories.  The average price of a book is between $1 and $5. VNSA is comprised of 150 volunteers who work year round to provide shoppers with great books at a spectacular value.  Over 14,000 people attended the sale in 2012, which I'm sure was topped this year!

VNSA Facebook page photos from opening morning (above) and opening day Sunday - which most books went for HALF PRICE!!

Admission to the book sale was free, although we did need to pay $7 parking to the Arizona Fairgrounds -- BUT IT'S WORTH IT - After finding a stack of books, the last thing we wanted to do was carry them too far. Planned for large (heavy) purchases, staffed book stops were stationed at the exits of the sale space, to allow buyers to bring up their vehicle and load their haul! Within the 27 categories at the book sale, on was called "Treasures" which included vintage books / magazines, school yearbooks, blank journals and something really cool (I wish I would have known, would have loved to have seen) called "Ephemera" - all the forgotten fall-outs tucked away inside books from old love letters to post cards to stamps, coupons, receipts and photographs.

Speaking of treasures, here are a few of the books I picked up while at the VNSA Used Book Sale...

The most expensive (at $8) but well worth was a book of a the dresses of a fashion icon: Jacqueline Kennedy. The book tells the stories behind the dresses, and includes a mix of photographs of Jackie O in the dress at an event plus the dress on display image from the National Museum...

Remember Metropolitan Home? That had to be one of my all time favorite shelter publications. The cover style reminded me of Thomas O'Biren...

One of the things I like to do when I'm shopping (used) books is flip the dust jacket off... sometimes the hardcover itself can reveal unique art work, again telling the story of you (I'm Leo - a SUN sign, and I LOVE the look of black & gold!)

If you live in the Phoenix OR you plan on being in the area next February, here are the dates for next years event (held at the same location):

Saturday & Sunday
February 15 & 16 2015

For additional information about donating books, drop-off sites, and more, visit:

Collecting books to fill bookshelves can be a pricey expense; an alternative to buying all new books is to buy used - via used book sales, book fairs, vintage and thrift stores and even some used book versions are available through Amazon. Splurge & save on books to build your library on a moderate budget plus express your personality. Give your hand a rest from scrolling Pinterest - sip wine / coffee and surround yourself with  inspirational books!

Image from Coffee*Soul*Wine - Facebook page.

Have you ever been to a used book sale?
What treasures have you discovered?

Thanks for stopping by,

1 comment:

  1. hi..Im college student, thanks for sharing :) inspire..!!!



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