Stocking up on winter reading

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The Cromwell Rotary Book Sale opens on June 3 and runs until June 5. LYNDA VAN KEMPEN spoke to Cromwell Rotary Book Sale convener Lindsay Wilkie.

Q: How long has the book sale been going and how many people are involved behind the scenes?

The annual book sale has been held on Queen’s Birthday weekend for about 10 years as it’s an ideal time to stock up on winter reading requirements. Books have been collected throughout the year, stored, and then sorted by a small team of club members. Many more help with the transporting of both the books and tables to the venue.

Yet another team supervises the sale and the clean-up. This project has become a major event for the club and the reading public alike – the annual event that everyone enjoys.

Q: How much money have you raised in that time and what kind of projects are supported by book sale proceeds?

Four years ago we moved the sale to the Cromwell Bowling Club in Alpha St. We have found this to be an ideal venue, large enough and with excellent natural light, efficient heating, and plenty of parking. This has allowed the sale to be well laid out with most books off the floor, tilted to show their titles and readily accessible. This has resulted in greater sales and this is increasing each year.

In 2014, $10,000 was raised and contributed to the purchase of a new community services van for Dunstan Hospital. Last year sales exceeded $15,000. The money raised has always been spent on community projects and our club has youth needs as a prime target.

Q: Any idea how many books have been sold during the lifetime of the sale and what is the most popular genre?

We have sold thousands of books over the years and many people return every year to replenish their reading needs. Among these are the children who love the sale. Children’s books and modern novels would be the most popular books sold.

Non- fiction is also sought after particularly 1: local history; 2: war history – particularly World War 2; 3: crime; 4: New Zealand books; and 5: cooking and gardening. We carry a very wide range of subjects divided into 28 categories, there must be a book for everyone!

Q: Any “treasures” that have been uncovered over the years?

Last year we had a quantity of jig-saw puzzles which sold well and we have many this year. As well, we stock CDs, DVDs, records, magazines (recent issues) and sheet music. In the “transport” section we have an outstanding collection of books on motorcycles, cars and aircraft. A table is devoted to “collectables” and “treasures”, books with a greater value, all individually priced.

Q: Who are the book sale’s best customers – visitors or locals or a mix of both?

Roadside signage directing the public to the sale has proven to be successful with many passers-by finding and delighted by the sale. The sale is predominantly patronised by the Central Otago locals and the holiday-makers coming to Central for the long weekend. We have extended the opening hours this year commencing on Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am to 4pm, and finally on Monday 9am to 2pm. Do come along and enjoy the event.