Rare Torah commentaries? Check. The Complete Works of Shakespeare? Check. Prayer books in Hebrew and Russian? Check. Dr. Seuss? Check.
These are just a sampling of the gems to be found in the sea of books for sale in the basement of B’nai Emunoh Congregation in Greenfield.
The sale, which began last Sunday and picks up again this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., contains at least 5,000 books of all kinds, genres, languages and ages, including many very rare and vintage books.
According to its organizer, Ian Heiss, the sale is trying to accomplish two seemingly contradictory goals: “to raise money and to move books out.”
“I try to give everybody a price they’re happy with, and so far, everybody’s gone away happy. Some very rare books are valuable. Nevertheless, I try to get an average of $3 a book. Sometimes books are worth a lot more than that, but my main concern is to recycle as many as I can, and raise the funds by selling a lot of books.
“We are regularly visited by people who sell books for a living,” Heiss continued.” They like coming here because they find things that they can sell for a premium on their Web sites.?
There is a definite advantage to buying books at an event like this, Heiss said. “The problem with a commercial book store is that you pay a certain price for books. You get a couple books off the shelf before you sneeze, you’re paying $100 or so. I keep it much more reasonable here. And the fact is, the books you can get here, you can’t necessarily get anywhere else. Amazon has 6 million listings, but I doubt if they have Tiferes Yehuda, which we happen to have six of sitting over there. There are a lot of Jewish titles here that are not available on Amazon.”
(He’s right. Amazon does not have Tiferes Yehuda. We checked.)
Sunday’s sale might be Heiss’ last.
“I don’t know if conditions will present themselves for a sale of this type. It’s a lot of hours and it’s a lot of work.”
But it’s well worth the effort, he added. “I’m never happier than when people come in and they find the books they love. And you see it all the time.”
(Derek Kwait can be reached at email@example.com.)