The heavy traffic of book lovers returned to St. Martha’s Episcopal Church in Bethany Beach over Labor Day weekend as families browsed through the many categorized titles in the large social hall. Bill Ziegler, who is chair of the book sales committee, said sales, which are used to support charities in the Bethany area, including Camp Arrowhead, will go back to pre-pandemic funding.
“It’s a profitable business model,” Ziegler said of the donated books and the team of volunteers used to market and sell the titles. “All of our funds go to outreach programs to help those in need and non-profit groups here in the Bethany Beach area. We support local food banks and food cupboards, like the Hope Center at Mariners Church.
Ziegler thanked St. Martha’s 20 volunteers for the weekend — noting that putting up and sorting out publications is a big part of organizing a bigger book sale in the city. Although there is no Dewey decimal system, the titles of children’s books and other fiction or non-fiction categories are neatly organized with the cover or spine of the book clearly visible.
The St. Martha’s Book Sale takes place four times a year, including Memorial Day weekend, July 4 weekend, Labor Day weekend, and one week before Christmas, the 17 and December 18 of this year.
Cashiers and volunteers helping people place their orders are also an important aspect, as families bring bundles of books to the checkout. Books are donated throughout the year in large bins in front of Oakwood Church and then filed for sale.
“There is no cost of goods for these book sales or for labor costs,” Ziegler said.
Paul Thompson, who has been a volunteer and book sales coordinator for many years, noted that there are some interesting collections available.
“Here we have the Time-Life World Wars book series,” he said. “We filled the shelves and tables to bursting point this year. You might just find something you’re looking for.
Thompson told Coastal Point ahead of last year’s book sale that book lovers come with lists of books they need to complete a collection. Many book buyers are looking for a favorite author.
Paperbacks are priced at three titles for $1. Hardcover books are $2 each or three books for $5. Donations are counted and then St. Martha committee members provide funds to causes such as camp and food banks. St. Martha’s also accepts cash donations.