RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,

World's Biggest Indoor Garage Sale of Media

Today was, TRIUMPH OF GLORIES!, the Half Price Books Clearance Event at the State Fairgrounds, with thousands and thousands of books priced 50 cents to $2 (plus 7.5% tax). I cannot stress how huge this was. This year we went on the first day as opposed to the second, and it was even bigger. Here's a picture someone took in 2009 -- now imagine that shot about 8 times over, and all the boxes underneath the tables are full too. They were regularly putting new stuff out and by the time I left at 1:15 (it had opened at 9), there were still several pallets stacked high with boxes of inventory not yet opened.

We were there for 2.5 hours and I only had the stamina to go box by box through the children's-teen literature sections. I barely even looked at regular fiction, and nonfiction was so huge and not even a little bit organized by type that I just walked down the aisles to see if anything popped. I skipped over the DVDs -- at $3 apiece and no TV show sets, they were the most expensive things there and garage sales are a better source. I would have loved to spend more time looking through all the music, because I'm pretty sure they had every popular CD ever made and each priced at $1, but I had already racked up a sizable bill and was exhausted from carrying the hefty amount of more precious loot.

You would not believe the number of basically pristine hardcover copies of Breaking Dawn for $1 a pop. Other books in the series too, but especially that one. By contrast, I spotted one hardcover copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and that was it for HP stuff other than some paperbacks of the early books.

Frankly, I'm amazed by my own efficiency. I wish I'd kept count of how many boxes I looked over -- the nice thing is that all the books are stacked with spines up in the boxes, so until people mess them up you don't have to dig (although there were some boxes on the floor at the end that had been opened but not put away, so they were still face up and a giant mess) -- but I got really good at whipping through all the titles until familiar spines set off triggers in my brain before I even knew what I was pulling out. I even picked up a few books I hadn't read, but thought I would like.

I'm afraid to even tell you what I spent...

OK -- it was a little over $20, for the second time in two months not including garage sales; I AM BASICALLY BLEEDING MONEY in the most selfish, spoiled manner possible. But this time I bought pure books and it was a much better use of my cash.

1. $1.00: 2 CSI computer games in one: the original + Dark Motives.

2. 50 cents: X-Files novel, Goblins: because you don't argue the cheap TXF novels, you just don't.

3. $1.00: Runt by Marion Dane Bauer: children's book I haven't read, but the author is local (Twin Cities area), and it's about a wolf pup and the cover was SO CUTE.

4-5. 50 cents each: Inkheart & Inkspell (sadly could not find the 3rd book). As you can see, the first one is a deliberately chosen beat up copy, so that I can actually read it, while the second book is in beautiful shape, which makes me think I got a better deal, but actually is too pretty for me to open lest I wrinkle its spine.

6. $2: Eggs in the Coffee, Sheep in the Corn: My 17 Years as a Farmwife by Marjorie Myers Douglas. All the nonfiction was priced at $2 regardless of size, so I paid a bit for the paperback (it was one of two borderline purchases I almost put back), but I really enjoyed this Minnesota memoir.

7. $1: Moonrunner by Mark Thomason. HORSE BOOK! Horse book I haven't read! And one of the most beautiful photos I've ever seen on a horse novel.

8. $1: The Georges and the Jewels by Jane Smiley. Horse book! That I have read, and found adorable, one of the rare gems of the 21st century. (title explanation: girl's father is a horse trader, who names all the geldings George and all the mares Jewel to prevent forming attachments)

9. $1: Frightful's Mountain by Jean Craighead George: in an awesome library-binding-esque Scholastic edition, glossy cover instead of dust jacket, that is not actually ex-library. It's the best of both worlds: a book that looks brand new but which I can read without fear of ruining it.

10. $2: Palace Beautiful by Sarah Deford Williams. Another book (YA novel) that was a bit steep and which is new enough (2010) that I'll probably find it again and shouldn't have bought it, was such a great throwback 80s story, and it's in such perfect condition.

11. $1: Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood. I'm working my way backward collecting this series in hardcover. I had my pick of copies today, and I ended up with the best one. Unfortunately, it's too perfect. It is so freaking new that the thing actually creaks when opened. What have I done??

Just wait. Wait for the squee on that last one.

[interlude: #12 & 17 are actually from the YMCA camp fundraiser garage sale, also in the fairgrounds, that was on its last 3 hours of a 4-day sale when we arrived. Based on the posted prices, I expected to pay $3 for the pair, which was why I didn't pick out very many. At the table, she said, "And what will you give me for these treasures?" I balked, wondering just how much she expected me to donate -- after all, they were selling ordinary fill-a-bag grocery bags at over $6 plus tax, versus the $2-3/bag deals most sales like this have. I mumbled something about $3. As if she hadn't heard me, she said, "How about 50 cents?"

I gaped at her, started to pay automatically, and then went, "Wait. For both of them?"
"Well, it's our bag day. I mean, you can give me more if you want, it's a fundraiser..."
Whereupon I was so stunned/flustered/discombobulated (I only had a $10 bill or change) that I just fished out two quarters, thanked her, and ran out feeling sort of like a thief, but also ecstatic.]

12. 25 cents: That Quail, Robert by Margaret Stanger: Woohoo, wild animal pet memoir! I haven't even heard of this one, but it sounds great.

13. $1: Hit and Run by Lurlene McDaniel. I KNOW, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. But, but, it's an adorable tiny compact book and it had a dust jacket and it's one of her newer books and, and, and, well, I found it very useful for daydream...purposes.

14. 50 cents: Orphaned Pup by Eleanor Lapp: A cheap and beat-up 80s Apple paperback that I snatched up when I was hit with the Recognition Thunderbolt of reading this from my elementary school library and loving it to pieces. Girls finds a puppy and secretly hides & takes care of it in the woods because her parents want a purebred. I totally forgot about it. Great find!

15. $1: Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor. I loved this one!  I'm happy to take a reading copy in Scholastic paperback, even though that means it will fall in apart in about 10 years' time. Same goes for my Inkheart books, now that I think about it...meh. Now watch, they will both turn up in the library sale next week in hardcover for a buck.

16. $1: Click - one story, 10 authors. You remember how I enjoyed this collection of short stories by different people that all tied together to become one novel in the end.

17. 25 cents: John at the Old Farm by Allison Uttley: children's book, 1960, some b/w illustrations, but the real reason I bought this is because the book's English! I love finding books printed in England at local sales. I always wonder how they turned up here. I've never heard of this book or the author's other work and don't know how common it is, but I thought it was worth the almost-free price.

18. 25 cents: Queenie Peavey by Robert Burch (ex-school library, which means awesome binding): I read an older copy of this in college and thought it was cute. It makes me nostalgic for said college library's resplendent juvenile collection. (sometimes I still have to pinch myself to believe all those old books really existed on the shelves)

19. 25 cents: Beauty by Bill Wallace (horse book withdrawn from the same library). I had actually picked up a paperback copy of this already, and then I saw the everlasting binding for half the price and dropped the first one like a hot potato. Plus, this one has the cover of the first copy I read.

20. $1: Alpha Dog by Jennifer Ziegler: the lone YA novel I bought just to read, because how many YA novels talk about the main character picking out a dog from the pound? NOT MANY. Will re-donate ASAP if not sufficiently awesome.

21. $2: Album of Horses by Marguerite Henry: I yelped when I saw this old harcover on display beneath a table in the children's section -- GO ME for deciding to check there, in addition to the juvenile/YA tables, because there were a lot of chapter books mixed in with the picture books -- and more or less dove down to snatch it up. HOLY GRAIL FIND! Almost, anyway. Its spine is a bit iffy, and I think this is one of her three most common books so I should certainly be able to find a better copy. Also, this is 26th printing, published in 1984. But still, I don't care if it's not precisely vintage. It's a) ultra cheap, and b) built the same way as the 60s/70s editions and is in fact indistinguishable from them. And as always, I bought it for the beautiful illustrations:

As with Album of Dogs, on this photostream (not mine) you can see several of the gorgeous full-page color illustrations that reside within. I uploaded a few more of my faves, plus a sample of a story + b/w illustrations on the other pages:

a little bigger when clicked

click to enlarge & read

Also, here is the back cover. Click to enlarge -- it's basically A Guide To RS's Quest For The Holy Book Grails (there are several others that are less common, but right here is the majority of my lifelong quest, of which I so far have Misty, Brighty, Sea Star, and the 2 Albums). Hardest things to find in this set: A Pictorial Life Story of Misty and Cinnabar the One O'Clock Fox.

Cover shots:

And now for the exciting part of writing this post all over again in a more streamlined way for thriftwhore. Work, what's that? Oh, right. Stupid work weekend. Should probably do that first. I hate that I did not know when this sale was happening so I could make sure to tell them I wasn't available, and so OF COURSE by stupid luck of the draw this was my October weekend to work.
Tags: books, garage sales, photos, thrifty shopping

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