Monday, August 22, 2011

Fun Finds at a Used Book Sale

The YMCA book fair is currently happening here in St. Louis. Yesterday, after driving 5 hours home from Branson, I put the boys to bed and left to see what I could find at the fair! (By the way, Greg stayed home with the boys and recovered from our trip... I was the only crazy one who had to get out the door to the used book fair.) This is one of my favorite events of the year, after all.
I was lucky to get almost a foot of used children's books-- all for only $13. Children's books are sold by the inch at this event. It's $1.20 per inch.
Before I went, I decided on some general ideas of what I would be looking for. Instead of sharing a foot high stack of kid lit with you, I'll just highlight some of my favorite picks.

Favorite Authors- If I see a book by a favorite author for cheap, you know I'm going to pick it up. Some of the authors I found were:  Lane Smith, Bernard Waber, Janet and Allan Ahlberg, Donald Crews,Doreen Cronin, David McPhail. The books are donated so you generally won't  find newer authors in the used section, unless you get lucky!
Easy Readers- Once your child begins reading independently, you will discover finding books that he can read independently will be challenging-- especially for the first year. Many of the early reader books that I love come in sets for schools. They can be quite expensive to purchase individually-- especially when you are talking about a small book with only 5-6 pages. One of my favorite early reader sets are Rigby PM. Since many teachers/schools donate old books to the fair, you can score several of these early readers. They are so thin that you are getting them for almost nothing!
Early Chapter Books- I am getting ready to start Logan on listening to chapter books. I wanted to pick up a few very easy chapter books that have several pictures. Some of my favorite finds from this pick were Catwings, Catwings Return, Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story 2, and Jackrabbit Goalie by Matt Christopher. There were tons of chapter books at the fair too if you are ready for that.
Board Books- There aren't a lot of board books available, but I'll take any that are in good condition. I bring them home and wipe them down with wet wipes, leave them fanned open until all the pages dry so they don't stick together. 
Holiday Books- I always pick up all the holiday books I can find. Even if the writing isn't stellar, kids love to look at illustrations of holiday books. I found a ton of Christmas books in good condition so that was exciting. I have a plan for those.. but you'll have to wait to find out.
Miscellaneous books in good condition- One thing I try to remember is that kids like books in good condition. Most of the books at this fair are paperbacks so they need to be in great condition. Here's my favorite pick from this section. You Read to Me, I'll Read to You Fairy Tales. It looks brand new!!

Tips for the locals:
If you are heading to the St. Louis YMCA book fair, here are some tips from me to you.
1. Wear/bring a jacket. On Sunday night it was frigid in there. It's held on a floor of an ice rink. They may already have it set for skating season. brrr! My hands were numb by the end of the night.
2. One thing that I found is that most of the books are grouped together by donator. For instance, if there was a name written on a book, it would be written on several books around it. This can be useful. If you find a book that is great, slow down and really look around it. If you get into a section of junk, you can speed up a bit. There is so much to sort through, you have to have a plan!
3. Tuesday is half-price day. So Children's books will be $0.60 an inch. On Wednesday,  it is $10 for a box of books.
4. The book fair runs 9 am-9 pm until Wednesday at the Kennedy Recreation Center.
I wish I could go to this with all of you. I kept thinking of book recommendations I had found from friends in the blogosphere and wishing I had a few of you with me to sort through the pile of books!
Here's where I am linking this up:


  1. Oh so envious! I wish we had a similar event here in Chicago. I just frequent the library's monthly booksales and their sale rack. Tonight I was excited to find a Little Bear book as well as a Denise Fleming book. :)

  2. You got some great books! I love the idea of charging per inch!

  3. Wow, you got some great books. Once a year our library has an enormous book sale. It is wonderful! You know how much we love books!

  4. That sounds like fun. I love to go book hunting. We get some really good used books at thrift stores. We usually pay around 50 cents/each.

  5. I absolutely love finding book fairs like these... I wish it would catch on and happen more frequently!

  6. I love used book sales, but now I've gotten a little freaked out because an exterminator told me they are a source of bed bugs. Ah!

  7. How neat to find so many terrific books and pay per inch! I've never heard of this method, but it sounds awesome for paperbacks. Thanks for joining WMCIR!

  8. I love to find bargain books! My kids started school today. I returned some books to the library. There are shelves of donated books that the library sells to help with it's cost of operation. I found 4 books for myself and one for my kids.

    I haven't heard of pay per inch for books before either.

    Thanks for sharing your finds Jackie.

  9. Sounds like a really fun event! Our library has a "buck a bag" sale once a year - fill a grocery stack with as much as you can stuff in for a dollar. Every once in a while you find a gem.

  10. This would be such a dangerous place for me to shop.

  11. wow,what fun and great finds!As always thanks for linking up to Book Sharing Monday!xxx

  12. I'm embarrassed to say that my kids like a Curious George book about roller coasters based on the TV show.