Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Steal this book! (And CD, and DVD....)

I speak metaphorically, of course: You’ll have to pay a price so small you may be embarrassed to take away so much material for so little dough. But the best media deal of the year is available this week in the Friends of the Library’s spring sale.

I have already gone twice: first on the preview night, when all the Friends get invitations – not to mention free baked goods and coffee, a heck of a bargain for a $25 membership – and again on Sunday, when the place was virtually empty except, for smiling volunteer staffers. I sneaked my sack of bargains upstairs, so my wife wouldn’t know the full scope of my self-indulgence, but they included these winners:

Relatively rare cast albums for “The Triumph of Love” and “The Cradle Will Rock” ($2 each); a pristine DVD copy of the director’s cut of “Blade Runner” ($3, and why didn’t I already have that?); the Library of America anthology of Raymond Chandler’s later mystery novels, stories and essays, which retails for $35 and cost a princely three bucks; the collected short stories of Somerset Maugham, beautifully bound in a slipcase ($8); a fistful of CDs ranging from 1940s western swing to the violin sonatas of Mozart ($2 each).

I am shameless enough to get up early on May 4 and drag myself down one last time for Bag Day, when you can fill a sack with anything it will hold for $5. But prices have already been slashed, and pickings grow slim, so you may want to get there earlier. The hours are 11 to 6 until then and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. (The sale is on the ground floor of CBRE SouthPark Towers at 6100 Fairview Road, at the corner of Fairview and Barclay Downs.)

It seems a little weird to pore over these castoffs from someone’s collection: CDs that were probably played once, DVDs that are still (in some cases) sealed; books whose spines haven’t been cracked and whose pages aren’t riffled, showing utter indifference in the readers. Were they unwanted gifts thrown aside? Impulse purchases instantly regretted?

Whatever they have may been to the people who didn’t want them, they’re treasures to me. The thrill of finding a long-sought, out-of-print novel I’ve wanted to read for years always gives me a frisson of delight. I found that word in the French-English dictionary that was going for a dollar – if it’s still where I left it. I’m not the only hoarder who can recognize a bargain in a city this big.


arden said...

Hey, thanks for writing about the steals and deals you got at the Friends of the Library Book Sale. Every time I'm there I find just one more book or CD I need to buy. I'll be out of town for the bag day but I can't wait to hear about the deal folks get!