Pratt book sale draws good crowds, no stampede

The Baltimore Sun

The line of buyers at the Enoch Pratt Free Library book sale stretched more than half a block, but no Black Friday-style madness erupted yesterday, the opening of the three-day annual event.

Collectors, dealers and readers lined up at the main entrance of downtown's Central Library before the doors opened at 10 a.m.

"We've seen a lot of talk about the Wal-Mart incident," Tim Doyle, a Sykeville dealer and collector who was first in line when he arrived at 7 a.m., said, referring to a fatal stampede last week in New York. "We're not quite that bad."

Proceeds from the sale of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, records and other materials at bargain-basement prices will go to the library's acquisitions budget, said Pratt CEO Carla D. Hayden, who was manning the information desk at the sale. About $3 million of the total $36 million budget is spent to purchase books, as well as newspaper, magazine and database subscriptions, and audio and visual media.

Last year, the sale brought in about $10,000, said library spokesman Roswell Encina.

And it's not just seldom-read volumes that have been culled from the stacks. The sale includes review copies given to the library, as well as books donated specifically for the sale. The library also refreshes the stock today and tomorrow, when books are sold at $1 per box load.

Sam Boykins of Abingdon, a Baltimore court clerk, said he has come to the sale annually for at least seven years to search for books on African-American history, the Civil War and poetry.

"This is my Black Friday," he said while waiting in line. "It's going to be chaos. It's all fun."

online See video from the book sale at

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