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What Goes Into a Book Sale?


Each FHPL book sale–from the days of the annual three-day sale at the George R. Brown Convention Center, to the quarterly two-day sales of today (like our latest and greatest at The Health Museum!)–requires the same ingredients to make an impact in our community. We like to call them our Impact Ingredients.

Ingredient No. 1: Preparation & Planning

For 3 – 4 months before a book sale, volunteers are at the Friends Book Warehouse processing 14,000 books a week. They are scanning, sorting and boxing up books, picking the perfect category, and making sure each book is in good condition and ready to be read.

Meanwhile, the Friends Program Manager is scouting for venues, planning the logistics to move 30 tons of books on pallets, book carts, and signage to the location, recruiting volunteers, and marketing like the wind!

Ingredient No. 2: Volunteers

Volunteers are the engine that move the Friends from point A to point Z, whether setting up the night before the book sale, helping customers during the sale, or breaking down after the sale — volunteers make it happen!
Total Volunteer Hours for the Spring Book Sale: 207 hours
Total Hours to Setup: 45 Hours
Total Hours to Breakdown: 22 Hours

Ingredient No. 3: Our Customers & Members

We know, without a doubt, that our customers and members are one-of-a-kind! For one thing, our customers come prepared. Lugging around the deepest of bags, the most mobile of dollies and wheeling in traveling suitcases to pack the bargain books in — our customers come ready to shop!
Total Visitors at the Spring Sale: 1,600
Total Books Sold: 12,922
Total AVs Sold: 796
Total Transactions: 963

Ingredient No. 4: Keeping our mission in mind

At the end of the day, as much as we focus on books and libraries, it’s always about people.

As a local nonprofit, we know the value of a connected community. The one thing that connects us all is communication, and the one thing that moves us forward are resources. Our Houston libraries provide us both: communication in the form of books, from the leaders of yesterday to the doers of today, and resources to succeed as individuals and as a community.

So at the end of each book sale, remember that the proceeds go back into that circle of community. Whether you’re a customer or a volunteer, your time and treasure goes further when you shop with the Friends.

To sum it all up: 

Book sales take a lot of heart work. From our passion-filled enthusiastic volunteers who love our community, to our committed and energized customer and membership base who love and believe in the power of books, to our supportive collaborators at The Health Museum, Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and the Houston Public Library who are moving Houston forward. Friends book sales are a true community effort for the community, by the community.  

Category: Blog