Saturday, August 10, 2013

Second Editions: Signed and Delivered

Posted By on Sat, Aug 10, 2013 at 1:04 PM

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For years now, the Second Editions Bookstore inside the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library on Poplar has been a popular place to buy gently-used books at bargain-basement prices. It's been a great way for Memphians to clear their own shelves of unwanted titles and donate them to the library. It's been a great way for book lovers to add to their own libraries. And it's a great way to support the Memphis public library system. Thanks to the work of library staff and Friends of the Library volunteers, proceeds from the sale of books at Second Editions help to fund a variety of library programs and new purchases. (Doesn't hurt that all this give-and-take also keeps printed matter out of local land-fills.)

Second Editions has now upped the ante on collectibles: The first week of every month, for the next several months, the store will have on sale signed editions by notable authors, drawn from the library's storeroom of donated books. Those books include titles signed by authors such as Pat Conroy, John Grisham, Reynolds Price, Hampton Sides, Lee Smith, and Eudora Welty; by politicians such as Lamar Alexander, Jimmy Carter, and John McCain; and by sports figures such as Terry Bradshaw and John Calipari. And at $3 or so per title, those signed books — roughly 1,500 in number for customers to choose from — are priced to sell.

The titles available will keep changing. Customers at Second Editions never know what they'll find the first week of the month, because the library itself doesn't know what it will be receiving in donations. That's a sure way to keep customers coming back.

"People develop strong feelings for their favorite authors and having a signed book means that the author actually held it long enough to sign it," Friends of the Library volunteer Sherman Dixon says. "We have now accumulated enough signed copies to offer a wide and impressive selection that will appeal to a large number of customers."

The test run for Second Editions' sale of signed books was in June. But Marcey Evans, the library's public relations supervisor, said recently by phone it's already "picking up momentum."

"Back in June, we were only thinking about going to the end of the year," Evans said of the sale. "But with the momentum, we may go beyond December. The library's collection of signed books has gotten extensive over the years. We want to give customers at Second Editions the option of coming back each month."

Signed books aren't the only monthly option for customers. Romance, religion, fiction, fantasy, and cookbook titles will be specially featured during certain weeks in the coming months. Check the Second Editions online page above for dates. And mark this date: The annual Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale is October 25th-26th.

Interested in donating books to the library? You can drop off "gently used" titles (no outdated textbooks, please) at any of the Memphis Public Library's branches. To contact the Second Editions Bookstore, call 415-2836. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

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