There are questions we get every year at the Newberry Library Book Fair. I answer some of those here. Um, some answers are purely informational and some are really just venting. I think you can guess which are which.
How much does this cost? On books the price is almost always on the upper righthand corner of the first white page. (Books without white pages get trickier.) LPs and videos are marked on the back, with a tiny sticker on the upper righthand corner. Other media are not quite so easy, but always check the available upper righthand corners first.
Where do I pay? Head west on the first floor, keep to the right, and watch for a green velvet rope that leads to a room marked “Checkout”. Not venting here: I will just never forget the time I gave directions and the customer exclaimed, “Oh! You mean I pay at Checkout?”
Where’s the restroom? We have two sets, one at the west end of the first floor, opposite Checkout, and one at the east end, in the basement. The ones in the basement are larger and newer.
Where are the pay phones? Gone where the good times go, friend. Are you and I the last people in the world without cell phones?
Why does this paperback cost more than the hardcover edition of the very same book? Well, the paperback is in a large format, the same size as the hardback, and it looks crisp and new, whereas the hardback in your hand is lacking its jacket, stamped with somebody’s name on three pages, and bears other marks that suggest it has been dropped in a puddle. But I’ll gladly mark the hardcover higher for you, if you feel it’s unfair to buy it so cheaply.
Can someone help me get all these books to my car? Yes, when available, our volunteers at the Large Order stand can give you a hand. You might have to wait a bit during rush periods (the very end of the day, for example, and frequently at lunch time.)
What happens with the leftover books? A number of not-for-profit organizations come in the day after the Book Fair and carry away whatever they need for their institutional libraries, book giveaway programs, or their own book fairs. In 2008, many books were taken for a library of English language materials in the Sudan. Anything they leave behind is sold to some excellent book dealers who like to buy in bulk. Except in the Collectibles section, we start fresh every year.
You’ve got lots of books here. Why don’t you just sell me a bag and let me pack whatever I want into it for that price? Listen, I suggested something like that to a guy at Tiffany’s, and he called Security.