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New Zealand’s biggest second-hand book sale

Countdown begins to New Zealand’s biggest second-hand book sale

The countdown has begun to New Zealand’s biggest second-hand book sale in Dunedin next month.

Thousands of bookworms will make the pilgrimage to the city’s 23rd Regent Theatre’s 24-hour annual sale from noon on Friday May 23.

More than 300,000 books will be snapped up at the sale which is regarded as the biggest book sale in New Zealand.

Last year 300,000 books were on offer raising $83,000 with proceeds going to the grand old theatre. Organiser Doug Lovell said a new record would be set this year.

``Almost all the books sell for just 50 cents as they have for the last 23 years of the sale.

Mr Lovell said the book sale in the Octagon had become a Dunedin institution and was recognised as ``Otago's biggest annual fund-raising event’’.

This weekend sees the launch of a six-week campaign for book donations for New Zealand’s largest sale of pre-read books.

``The Regent sale is considered be the biggest sale of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. I don’t know of any sale in Australia which even comes close,’’ he said. ``The people of Dunedin have taken the sale to their hearts. Books pour in to the Regent Theatre every working day of the year, all of them donated.’’

Dunedin has the highest new book sales per head of population of any city in New Zealand which is perhaps a pointer to the sale's success. Mr Lovell said education is Dunedin’s biggest industry by far and with it comes a demand in buying books.

Many organisations from other cities have sent observers to the Regent book sale, including people from Auckland, Kapiti Coast, New Plymouth and Christchurch.

Proceeds from this year’s sale go to restoring the 75-year-old theatre’s ornate auditorium which is ranked one of the finest in New Zealand and holds a top NZ Historic Places Trust listed classification.

Last year, 153 volunteers were rostered on 15 cash tills over the course of the sale bringing the total to over 300 Dunedin people who contribute their time and talents to the sale.

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