So we have the Book Fair coming up, and you want to know how much money to bring with you. The proper answer to this is “ALL of it.” You don’t want to miss something, do you?
Yes, we do take credit cards, and debit cards run in the same machine. We do NOT have an ATM on the premises: the nearest one is about two blocks away, at Walgreen’s. Yes, we take checks, provided you jump through some hoops (put a phone number on the check, that sort of thing.) We do not take Discover. But cash is king. Remember, it’s the weekend: what do you need on Monday besides lunch money?
Prices are marked on the upper right corner of the first white page of the book. Sometimes the first white page is rather far back, and sometimes there ARE no white pages (dang these modern graphic designers.) Books which read the other direction will have the price on the upper left corner of the first white page and the upper right corner of the LAST white page. You’ll find it one way or another.
Most audio-visual items have a little white tag, usually in the upper right corner of the back. But there are too many formats and too many modern graphic designers to say absolutely that’s where it will be. Look for the little white tag. If it says “Kroch’s and Brentano’s”, it’s the wrong tag.
It says here in the advertising “Most books under two dollars”. You may go through and count, if you like, but I don’t know what the legal definition of “most” is. Count on it: the book YOU want will cost more than you thought. And the book you bought last week at retail will cost less than you care to think about. (I keep telling you people not to buy books in June, but who listens to a Book Fair manager these days?)
We do not charge sales tax. Not-for-profit organizations get a pass on this provided it’s not something they do every weekend. (This is why you DO pay sales tax in museum gift shops.) You will be given an opportunity to donate an equivalent amount to the cause when you reach check-out. You know the sort of thing: would you like to make a donation by rounding up to the nearest dollar, or five dollars, or million dollars. This is entirely voluntary. Honest, we do not sneer or snarl at people who say “Sorry, not today.” No, we save that for the people who say, “But I’m buying all these books! Isn’t that donation enough?” See, technically, what those people have just done is make a Purchase, not a Donation. Just about everybody we see is old enough to know the difference.
Enough people ask, so I think we should say it: yes, the money goes to the Newberry. No, not to any particular fund: it all goes into general operating expenses. I always say it goes for light bulbs and toilet paper, two things it would be difficult to run a library without. No, sorry to break it to you, but I do not work on commission, although there is a hidden clause in my contract that says I get ten percent of the take after the first two million dollars each year.
I’m not precisely certain what the most expensive item up for sale is this year, but we did just get a copy of “Holy Cats! By Andy Warhol’s Mother”, which is a book of cat drawings by, believe it or not, Andy Warhol’s mother. She has inscribed the book, but she has not signed it. (These Warhols!) It’s a bit dusty and has some tears in the spine, so I will be asking only $1500. I think Andy would be glad to think that will go for light bulbs.