Valdosta Daily Times

July 7, 2013

Back door books: Sale helps readers, library

Quinten Plummer
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Behind the walls of books and hushed voices, the makeshift store welcomed in another crowd of visitors on Saturday as volunteer organizers mulled offering book enthusiasts more time to patronize the bi-weekly Back Door Book Store at South Georgia Regional Library.

For a dollar, or just half of one, patrons could choose from several hundred books that have been pumped back into circulation by donors and sorted by “friends of the library,” like Sarah Smart. The store sells hardbacks, paperbacks, children’s books, adult reading, optical discs, puzzles and magazine, Smart said.

“We’ll take almost everything, old or new, and we’ll determine the best use of it,” said Smart. “The library gets the first choice of all materials for their general circulation.”

The books that remain after the library has had its pick are often donated to a veterans organization, the prison or area schools, said Smart. After all donations are fulfilled, the books reach the shelves of the little non-profit store and are offered at cut-rate prices for only a few hours each week, Smart said.

“We average between $20,000 and $30,000 of new material each year, almost all of it generated here for 50 cents or a dollar,” said Smart. “It’s the best deal in town and has been. People come from all over to buy our books because our books are so cheap.”

Robert DeVan and his wife have been hauling the bargain books from the back door store to their back porch for roughly a decade, he said.

“Over the years, we’ve made our back porch more enjoyable,” said DeVan. “So now, we see nothing wrong with going out on the porch and reading. And this is a great place to pick up books. There’s a constant turnover of books here. If you can’t find something that you want, you’re not looking hard enough.”

The Back Door Book Store was started around 1998 and operates as a non-profit organization, said club-cofounder Liza Newsom. All proceeds are gifted to the library and tax receipts are offered  to customers, Smart said.

Find bestsellers at bargain prices at the Back Door Book Store between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Donations may be delivered during any of the library’s operating hours.