Ag Center booked to display bargains

April 25, 2002|BY ANDREA ROWLAND

Hundreds of people book-marked the Washington County Agricultural Education Center on Sharpsburg Pike south of Hagerstown as the place to be on Wednesday for opening day of the American Association of University Women's 34th annual book sale.

They rooted through about 50,000 used books looking for volumes to satisfy their thirst for reading material ranging from biographies to westerns. The history section teemed with shoppers. The self-help section didn't.

"It's nice to see that people still read in Maryland," said Bruce Lindstrom, who traveled from Baltimore to attend the sale.


More than 400 people - including many used book dealers - crowded the sale within 15 minutes of its 10 a.m. opening, AAUW member Lu Marletta said.

They picked through piles of paperbacks starting at 40 cents each, rows of hardbacks starting at $1, and children's books selling for as low as a dime a piece. Newer books were selling for between $2 and $3, and collectible books and first editions were individually marked from about $10 to $15 each.

A smaller collection of albums, sheet music, CDs, books on tape and maps were also for sale.

"This is the best show of the year," said Brad Brown, of Martinsburg, W.Va.

His two-wheeled cart brimmed with old nonfiction books that he planned to sell on the e-bay Internet auction site, a hobby he's enjoyed since 1997, Brown said.

Martin Lison, of Waynesboro, Pa., pulled a cart filled with such favorite subjects as genealogy, cooking, local history and foreign languages. His 5-year-old son, Robby, hoped to find some books about dogs or the Rugrats cartoon characters, he said.

"I love to read," Robby said.

Walter Wolford of Hagerstown browsed the biographies. Martha Saufley of Hagerstown sorted through books about quilting and needlepoint. Anita Giles of Martinsburg stocked up on paperback romance novels. Kaitlin Zembower of Frostburg, Md., casually searched for Nancy Drew mystery books.

Ed Ramsburg, of Frederick, Md., took a dealer's more methodical approach.

Collectibles first, scanning for valuable titles and/or authors. Then a quick search-and-pluck through the hardback fiction section, loading his bags with all books of interest "until things calm down" and he could weed through his finds for keepers, Ramsburg said.

Some rare books such as an 1875 edition of Mark Twain's "Sketches," and such books of local interest as Carroll Stitzer's "Pictorial History of Pen Mar Park," will be on the silent auction block until Friday evening.

Proceeds from the sale benefit local nonprofit groups and the AAUW scholarship fund, which is open to all county residents. The local chapter of the AAUW in May will allocate the more than $25,000 in profits expected from this year's sale, event organizer Susan Latimer said.

The sale continues through Sunday. Books are half-price on Saturday. On Sunday, grocery bags can be stuffed with books for $3.

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