Plan Your Attack for a Book Sale



People ask me all the time where I get my books. Sometimes I get them from my local indie bookstore, sometimes at a thrift store; often at garage or estate sales. But one of my absolute favorite places to go is the annual Friends of Hockessin Library Used Book Sale (FOHLUBS.) It’s hard for me to imagine what I did before I moved to this area, for the FOHLBS is a three and one-half day extravaganza featuring over 50,000 books.

There are books on the floor; books by the door. Books in racks and books in stacks. (Enough with the Seussing.) When I’m confronted with a mega-ballroom size expanse filled with books, I have to have a plan of attack or I’ll burnout before I get through the mystery section.

Here are the steps I go through to maximize my time, fun and sanity.



Make a Budget

I know, I know; unless you have a lot more will power than me, that budget is only an estimate. Still, I try not to go over it by more than 10%. When I have a budget, I can enjoy my finds guilt free. Since I know I’m going to want to buy a LOT at the FOHLUBS, I save all my birthday money, Christmas money, etc. and splurge on anything I want during the sale.

Take Cash

I find it easier to stay on budget if I only spend what’s in my wallet. Additionally, many library book sales are run by volunteers.  They may not be used to making credit card sales. The line for cash is almost always shorter.

Scope Out the Sale

If you’re lucky, the venue will have a map of the area, including lists of genres and non-fiction specialties. Prioritize your wish list, and stick to the areas of primary interest first. See if you can find a beloved mystery, WWII history or cookbook missing from your collection. If you have money left after looking through your faves, and you’re still feeling strong, then branch out into other areas.

Check Your Bags Often

Many large book sales, like the FOHLUBS, have a bag check area. Use it. Nothing tires me out faster than having to lug 30-40 pounds of books around a crowded room. Bags of books get in the way while I’m trying to browse tables; they can be hard to control and end up slamming into other shoppers. They sap all the joy out of shopping.

Avoid the Vendors

I know they are trying to make a living, but it’s disheartening (for me) to watch people fight over books based on their resale value.



Be Polite

It’s even harder for me to watch people throw books around as they dig for what they want.  You don’t want to buy a bent, bruised or damaged book. Neither will anyone else. Respect the books.

Post All the Books You Buy!

I’m nosy; I want to see what you bought. I’ll post mine on Sunday after the sale ends.




The Friends of Hockessin Library Used Book Sale 2016

Sale Dates


January 28th, Thursday 5-9pm

Friends members only. Memberships at the door ($10)

Numbered admission tickets available starting at 2 pm

General Sale

January 29, Friday 9am-9pm

January 30, Saturday 9am-5pm

January 31, Sunday 9am-3pm

No Admission Fee


Hockessin Memorial Fire Hall

Junction of Lancaster Pike & Yorklyn Road

Hockessin, DE 19707


3 thoughts on “Plan Your Attack for a Book Sale

  1. It took all my will power this weekend NOT to go to the book sale! We donated many boxes of books to it throughout the year and finally have most of our bookcases down to single layers (still jammed full!). We have an entire bookcase on our bedroom that is ALL books waiting to be read. I sooo wanted to go and browse the sale but just couldn’t risk bringing home a big bag of books.

    Trying (again this year) to focus on my TBR shelves and work down the backlog a bit 🙂

    I did, however, stop at the library this week to pick something up and walked out with 2 more books to read! Baby steps…


    1. Gail A. Sisolak

      I was good this year. I stayed on budget. I’ve also weeded out my books, but just the ones in the basement. (Don’t worry, we have a walkout with a dehumidifier. I have one huge box to donate, and three bags to take to 2nd and Charles to see if they’ll take any of them. Like you said, baby steps. BTW, I checked out 37 books from the library this week. Big mistake. I had a lot of books on my hold request list, and suspended them. I didn’t notice, and the suspend expired. They all came in at once! (LOL)

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