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NZ’s Biggest Ever Book Sale

Huge team of Volunteers Front up for NZ’s Biggest Ever Book Sale

More than 300 volunteers are fronting up to run New Zealand’s biggest second hand book sale in Dunedin later this month.

The Regent Theatre 24-hour book sale is Otago’s biggest annual fundraising event. The May 23 event has raised over million dollars in 23 years.

About 150 people will be rostered on 15 tills during the 24 hours of the sale. More than 350,000 books will be on offer at the Octagon.

Forty people will replenish over 100 trestle tables during the sale.

For the first time since 1980, organisers have had to use a neighbouring building as the theatre’s basement has overflowed with books.

``The Regent is a huge building with over 1800 seats – bigger by far than the Royal Theatre in Christchurch,’’ organiser Doug Lovell said today.

``Many of us will arrive at the theatre at 8am on the Friday morning of May 23, work through the night until noon the next day and then clean the theatre. We will get home around 6pm - that’s around 36 hours on our feet.

``Every single book has been donated and every single on of the thousands and thousands of man-hours is donated.

``It’s no wonder that the Regent 24 hour book sale is New Zealand’s biggest,’’ Mr Lovell said.

Rare volumes, precious New Zealand non-fiction and old 17th century books will be hotly sought after.

Old New Zealand books, including the History of Muttonbird Islands by Eva Wilson and many other historical New Zealand books feature this year.

First editions of Janet Frame and Ian Fleming, old art books, and leather bound editions going back to 1636 will be hunted down by book lovers.

The people of Dunedin have taken the sale to their hearts. Most of the books will sell for just 50 cents. 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 go to improving the 75 year old theatre ornate auditorium which is ranked one of the finest in New Zealand and holds a top NZ Historic Places Trust listed classification.

The historic Regent is one of New Zealand’s loveliest live theatre venues. Its ornate auditorium has been restored to its full glory by the Otago Theatre Trust. The trust bought the theatre 30 years ago.

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