St. Louis YMCA Book Fair-Aug.20-25-One MILLION books!! AND How to survive a GIANT book sale…

The St. Louis YMCA Book Fair is this coming weekend. ARRRGHH!…. I would LOVE to go!! But alas…being many miles away and many stacks of books deep in my house already…I have to forego the rush of adrenaline, the thrill of the hunt, the sweat of the pits that comes with these humongous book sales….

But if you are one of the lucky ones in the St. Louis area…..and would like to test the bookselling waters….this would be a great place to start.

I warn you…..these big events are not for the faint of heart. You NEED  a game plan. I can give you a rough outline of a plan…but not knowing your genetics, stamina, or bladder size…you will have to fill in some details yourself.

First, the disclaimer…I’ve NEVER been to this specific book sale. I have attended the ENORMOUS sale in Gainesville, Florida for 5 years (twice a year)…it only has 500,000 books and its beyond amazing…I can only imagine what one million looks like.

Okay…now read the next part taken directly from the book fair site:

Parking and Saturday CCBF Shuttle Service

The Kennedy Recreation Center has 270 parking spaces.  Shuttle Service provided by the CCBF will be available from the front circle drive at the Carondelet Park Rec Complex at 930 Holly Hills, St. Louis, MO 63111.  Shuttle will leave 930 Holly Hills every hour beginning at 9:00 am.  Shuttle will leave the Kennedy Recreation Center every half hour, last shuttle leaving at 3:30 pm.



Honestly…I would want one of those 270 parking spaces…but I imagine they will fill up quickly…so get there early is all I can say if you want one. If you are anal like me…I would email the fair and ask how the shuttles work…that way you can figure out how you are going to proceed in the event you don’t get one of the coveted parking spots.

NOW…here’s where  you have to decide if you want really want to jump in the fire…or take it a little easier. The schedule below shows the different days and how much you will end up paying. If you feel like a little “action”…pay the $10.00 and go Friday night. You’ll get first crack at the books….which isn’t a bad thing. The downside…everyone else wants first crack too…so its going to be a little crazy at the beginning…but book people  seem to have a softer side in these events. If you don’t want to deal with the madness, but still want to pick up some great things…go Saturday….plan to spend a while though. One million books is not going to be a quick thing to look at..especially if you find a category you dig. Half price and $10 bag days can sometimes be good…it depends. I’ll be honest though…its usually the well picked over stuff and unless you can make some decent “lots” to sell…usually not worth it. My two cents.

First Selection Night
Friday, August 20
4:00 pm – 10:00pm
$10 admission
Tickets on sale at the Kennedy Recreation Complex at 8:00 am
Gates open at 6:30 am

Free Admission
Saturday, August 21 – Wednesday, August 25
9:00 am – 9:00 pm

Half Price Day
Tuesday, August 24
9:00 am – 9:00 pm

$10 a Box Day
Wednesday, August 25
9:00 am -9:00 pm

Things to remember to do or take:

1) Something to carry your books in….small boxes, portable bags, crates…make sure you can lift them if they fill up.

2) Something to snack on you can stick in your pocket….there is nothing like being in one of those places when your blood sugar plummets.

3)Do what your mom always told you to do and go to the bathroom first…finding a spot to put books while you stand in line ain’t a lot of fun.

4) Don’t worry too much where you are in line before it begins…I’ve been waaayyyy in the back…and still found PLENTY of great books. It looks hopeless  at first…but it takes a LOT of people to crowd a million books.

5)When you get there, see if you can get a map on where different genres are being put..helps immensely when you get inside and see the madness.

6) If you plan to get a LOT of books…check and see if there is a Large Lot Holding Area..SOME book fairs let you bring your books back there as you find them provided you have a certain number AND you can’t take any back to the floor. When you are completly done shopping…they total up all the books and then you pay. I don’t know if this one has that…but it really helps keep the back/leg/neck muscles from carrying armfuls of books back and forth to the car.

7) I can’t stress this enough….do your homework beforehand! Have an idea of a couple of genres you are going to scour through and look for books that are selling in that genre. I would use Ebay as my market tool. Go to Click the category: books and then pick the genre category you are interested in from the left side. Sort by highest prices in the COMPLETED LISTINGS (found on the left side). That should give you a good idea of what people are buying in each genre.

Don’t know what genre you want? Don’t know where to begin this whole thing? Here’s a few genres that are easy to find and can be very successful reselling…from my experience.

Books on collecting SPECIFIC items (i.e Dresden porcelain, Hunting knives, Snowglobes. etc) The more specific…the better. The more unique/weird the items are in the book…the better.

Homesteading books (raising your own duck flock, building a cabin, butchering your own meat, etc)

Craft books( i.e. weaving, jewelry, crochet, knitting,ceramics,airbrushing are the best ones)

History (SMALL town history)

Yearbooks (new and old)

Kids books (in lots of 10 of the same author or more)

Cake Decorating books

“How-to” books (again….specific things like “How to Build your Own Spaceship” or “How to Paint Hot Rod Cars”.)

That’s a start. Of course there are  a ton that I haven’t even begun to research…there are just so many niches.

8)I would advise NOT going to the collectible books  section if this is your first sale. They are way too expensive to gamble reselling. Honestly…I have only bought one book in the collectibles section as a gamble…thankfully it paid off…but I knew something about it. But, it can be a real whiteknuckler seeing if you get your money back, let alone profit from it. My advice: stick with the general books.  I have found tons of “DIAMONDS” each time I go and I just stick in the regular ol’ book tables.

Of course have fun!

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section. If you go….let me know how it was!

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