A Book Sale How-To Guide: More Money, Less Stress

ALA Member
Item Number
ALA Editions
8 12"
AP Categories

Primary tabs

You don't need to be an ALA Member to purchase from the ALA Store, but you'll be asked to create an online account/profile during the checkout to proceed. This Web Account is for both Members and non-Members. 

If you are Tax-Exempt, please verify that your account is currently set up as exempt before placing your order, as our new fulfillment center will need current documentation. Learn how to verify here.

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors
  • Reviews

A tried-and-true method to raise funds while engaging the community, library book sales can be a win-win situation—if done correctly. Book sale veterans Ditzler and Dumas point out specific ways to run a sale to ensure maximum financial benefit while building community support. Readers will learn

  • The best strategies for gathering and processing donations throughout the year
  • How to organize teams of volunteers to solicit, sort, price, and manage the physical inventory of books, videos, CDs, and records
  • The importance of building momentum from one book sale to the next by recruiting a permanent team of volunteers
  • How the Internet can be used to increase sales

Using case histories from three successful ongoing programs, everything from setup to cleanup, on-site money matters, and financial control is covered. The practical sample forms included will make running a successful book sale that much easier.

Check out this title's Web Extra!


Chapter 1 The Main Attraction: Getting Book Donations
Chapter 2 Setting the Scene: Site Considerations and Sorting Room Setup
Chapter 3 Directing the Show: The Book Sale Committee
Chapter 4 Casting Call: How to Get and Keep Volunteers
Chapter 5 Production: Categorizing and Organizing Book Donations
Chapter 6 Ticket Price: What to Charge for Books and Electronic Media
Chapter 7 Venue And Promotion: Sale Scheduling and Publicity
Chapter 8 Showtime: Book Sale Days, Setup through Cleanup
Chapter 9 Box Office Receipts: Keeping Account of Your Sales Income
Chapter 10 Encore! Encore! Other Book Sale Opportunities



Appendix A: Resource Information
Appendix B: Common Book Collecting and Book Condition Terms
Appendix C: Collectible Books
Appendix D: Internet Resources
Appendix E: Pricing Guide Resources




Pat Ditzler

Pat Ditzler is the current chair of the Lancaster, PA, book sale. She has worked with the Lancaster sale for twenty-six years in many capacities, including chairing the sale six times. Ditzler is a retired accounting analyst for Armstrong World Industries and is past president of the Lancaster Public Library board of trustees, serving as a trustee for five years. The State of Pennsylvania Citizens for Better Libraries presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Ditzler for 2010 Volunteer of the Year. Her current aim is for hundreds of book sales to begin or expand across America in support of libraries.

The author has been guest speakers at national, state, and local library conferences.

JoAnn Dumas

JoAnn Dumas is a retired branch manager with Key Bank of New York State. She is Ditzler’s sister, and she helped with the Lancaster book sale for many years. Dumas inspired the Friends of the Potsdam Public Library to adopt ideas from the Lancaster sale to begin their ongoing book sales. Since then the Friends group has grown and the community has rallied around this successful project. In 2002, Dumas retired and moved to Arizona, where she helped to reorganize the new Friends of the Oro Valley Public Library book sales. She has been recognized by the library and the Town of Oro Valley for her efforts in their success. She continues to volunteer with and mentor the book sales, serving on the Friends board as director of book sale operations. In 2011 Dumas was honored as Volunteer of the Decade by the Oro Valley Friends.

The author has been guest speakers at national, state, and local library conferences.

"A superbly written instruction manual."
--Midwest Book Review

"The book sale is a staple event of most library friends groups, but I'd say the majority of librarians have ambivalent feelings about it. We're grateful for the interest and support of volunteers and donors, but the workload involved in moving, inventorying, organizing, and eventually discarding the donated materials can be overwhelming. Imagine how your feelings would change if your hitherto lackluster sale could make your institution $10,000 or even $100,000 a year. Now, set aside a few hours, grab a copy of Pat Ditzler and JoAnne Dumas' book, A Book Sale How-to Guide: More Money, Less Stress, and prepare yourself for an attitude adjustment. Authors Ditzler and Dumas are sisters "
--Serials Review