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NZ’s biggest book sale reaches 25 year milestone

Media Release – May 9, 2005

NZ’s biggest book sale reaches 25 year milestone this month

New Zealand’s biggest second-hand book sale reaches a notable milestone in Dunedin this month when it celebrates its 25th anniversary.

This year’s Regent Theatre 24-hour sale opens at noon on May 20 and more than 300,000 books will be on offer.

Over the years the sale has raised well over a million dollars to help maintain and develop the historic theatre.

For all of its 25 years the majority of books have sold for just 50 cents each. The exceptions are the nearly new and special interest books.

``However, with more than 150 volunteers, some valuable books always slip through the net,’’ organiser Doug Lovell said today.

``Last year someone picked up a mint copy of Edmund Hillary’s The Ascent of Everest for $4. He later sold the book – signed by both Sir Ed and Tensing Norgay -- for $1200.’’

Thousands of people from all over the country will pour into the theatre to hunt for bargains among the sea of books.

The Regent Theatre sale is recognised as the biggest book sale in New Zealand. The only other annual sale that comes close is Wellington.

``Every year university students walked out with books in excess of $100 which they have only paid 50c each for.

First editions, old art books, and leather bound editions going back to 18th century will again be hunted down by book lovers.

Organiser Doug Lovell said sports and non-fiction fans could set up their own NZ rugby and cricket libraries with so many books on offer.

The people of Dunedin have taken the sale, possibly the biggest in the southern Hemisphere, to their hearts.

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

The old theatre is ranked one of the finest in New Zealand and holds a top NZ Historic Places Trust listed classification.

About 150 volunteers rostered on 15 cash tills will help out over the course of the sale bringing the total to 300 Dunedin people who contribute their time and talents to the sale.

Ends

Editors note: Dunedin dentist Doug Lovell has been the chief organiser of every annual book sale since the first event back in 1980.


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