Angie McDermid is holding her book wish list close to her chest.
There is no way the avid reader is going to divulge her wants prior to the doors of the annual Chilliwack Rotary Book Sale opening Sunday morning.
“I’m not going to tell you that,” she laughed.
McDermid is a well experienced Rotary Book Sale shopper. Every year, for at least the last five years, she’s lined up outside the doors with fellow book-loving friend Jean Crabtree, and has anxiously anticipated the literary finds that lay ahead.
When the doors open, it’s like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
“They have no idea the gems they have with these books,” she said.
For hours McDermid can be found jostling through the aisles, flipping through stacks on the tables, crouching down and peering into book-filled boxes, running back and forth between Crabtree and the books, filling her reusable bag with a mystery, a classic, music, craft, and more.
A lot more.
“I leave with probably about 20 or 30 books,” she said.
And in those moments when she’s spotted the hard-to-find treasures, like the out-of-print, basic knitting book by renowned knitter Meg Swanson she found last year, she’s been known to squeal.
“I just about passed out,” said McDermid, who loves knitting as much as she loves reading. “I didn’t really believe it… it was a book I couldn’t find no matter what, and there it was.”
And for just $5; way cheaper than Ebay’s going price at a couple hundred dollars.
“Everybody wants their own special book, and what I think is amazing, somebody else threw away,” said McDermid.
With well over 100,000 books for sale, including best sellers, classics, romance, mystery, war, western, hobby, vintage, collectors and more, there’s something for everyone.
“It’s a great place to find new authors, because there’s no risk,” with the low prices, said McDermid.
“And if you’re looking for something like a Jane Austen, books you’re going to read again and again, you can find beautiful hardcovers that you’ll put on your shelf and treasure forever.”
Over the years, through shopping trial and error, McDermid has learned a few tricks of the trade:
Bring a list. Bring cash only. And purchase only as much as you can carry.
“There are more books, and types, and genres, and authors than I can imagine; it can be really overwhelming,” she said.
A list keeps her focused. Cash keeps her spending in check. And a couple reusable bags makes it so she doesn’t break her back carrying her purchases out to the car.
Her final tip:
“Go early, go often. The second sober check the next day or the day after, when you go oh there’s nothing here, I’ll just walk through, sometimes you’ll find some wonderful things.”
The Rotary Book Sale is from Oct. 20-26 at Chilliwack Mall. On Sunday, it’s open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Monday to Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.