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Interview

Lifeline Bookfest, Brisbane

Bookfests should go international…

Brisbane generates literally millions of secondhand books each year for Bookfests, which are held twice a year. It’s quietly become an iconic event in Brisbane. If Brisbane can produce that many interesting secondhand books, what could other cities come up with? There must be charities in places like London or New York or any other city that could hold similar events for fundraising. Not to mention the flow on effects for tourism, arts and culture for the city involved.
A Lifeline spokesperson said an event like the Lifeline Bookfest would need a number of things. First is the sheer quantity of books.
Lifeline has numerous retail stores around Brisbane where they sell secondhand clothes and household items. People donate books there. And Lifeline has collection vans that can go to people’s houses to pick up donations of books, and furniture or any other household items of use. If all the Bookfest books were counted, the sale would make the Guinness Book of Records for the largest sale of secondhand books in the world. These books require warehousing in the lead up to Bookfests.
The spokesperson said they had a dedicated warehouse that those books go to. The warehouse was run all year round. And the warehouse required a lot of volunteers.
And there were 700 volunteers at the most recent Bookfest, sorting books at various tables and performing other jobs. Books are arranged neatly, spine up, on tables with signs saying Humor and New Age, or Military, or Paperbacks, or Rare and Collectibles, or Computers; Languages, and other categories. Volunteers price the books, tally up the cost of purchases and run the cash registers.
So, to hold a Bookfest type event a city would need: a charity with good organisational skills to run the event for fund raising purposes; stores and vans to collect book donations; a large number of books to sell; a big hall that’s fairly central and accessible by public transport; access to hundreds of volunteers to keep the tables stacked with neatly arranged books and to operate the cash registers; a warehouse to store the books and volunteers to staff the warehouse. And a lot of people who love cheap second hand books. Not to mention magazines, cds, dvds and old records.

-copyright readersvoice.com.