Blood, sweat, tears and aching muscles for Rotary volunteers after the Coffs Harbour Bookfest. Roberto Massolini, Bill Lidster, Chris Ryland and Jim Delahunty.
Blood, sweat, tears and aching muscles for Rotary volunteers after the Coffs Harbour Bookfest. Roberto Massolini, Bill Lidster, Chris Ryland and Jim Delahunty. Bruce Thomas

Avid readers swoop to Bookfest

SALES were marginally down at the annual Bookfest, but Rotarians were happy with eight days of second-hand book sales, given the economic climate.

The opening weekend at the beginning of the school holidays also represented a dilemma for serious bookworms, torn between snaring hard-to-find books or attending the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival.

Running the Bookfest at Coffs Harbour Showground is a huge undertaking for the smallest local rotary club – the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour South – but it is their major fundraiser for the year.

“Takings are between 10 and 15% down on last year, which is probably reflective of the tighter economic climate,” said the club’s community service director, Jim Delahunty.

While unable to release the takings, the previous year’s Bookfest raised about $50,000 for charities.

“On our bargain day on Saturday, we estimated there were 150 people in the hall at any one time and sales on the day showed between 450 and 500 $10 bags of books went out the door,” Mr Delahunty said.

More collectable books – individually priced and displayed at the Bookfest front counter – starting at $15 had strong sales.

Most celebrated of these books was a complete set of Charles Bean’s famous volumes documenting the Australian experience in World War I, listed for $1200, which they still hope to sell.

A record number of books, in excess of 60,000 were donated to the Bookfest.

“The support from the public generally was great. We can’t be disappointed with the result,” he said.

Bookfest will return during 2012 Easter school holidays.



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