Five things you need to be, to make use of a Books-by-Weight Sale


Have you ever gone to a Book by Weight sale? I went to my very first one recently. Honestly, I used to find the idea appalling – I mean how insulting for books to be sold by weight, like old newspapers. But then the insatiable book lover kicked in and ‘What the heck!’ though I, as long as I was getting to pick up a load of books without going bankrupt that’s all that mattered.

So off I went and was completely blown away. I’d taken my son along and between us we packed away a carton full of them. It was like a book deluge – an entire room lined with tables from end to end sagging under the weight of gorgeous gorgeous books. There were books on the window sills and more books in cartons under the tables and all around the billing counter. Any self-respecting book lover would go crazy and I did too.

And yet there were friends who came away disappointed because they didn’t find books of their choice or because the books weren’t in a newly minted condition.

So here I am…

listing out preconditions for enjoying a books by weight (BBW) sale.

You should be a lover of books and a voracious reader

Well obviously! If you aren’t a voracious enough reader Amazon and Crossword will satisfy you. It’s only when you’re looking for much much more that you should head out to a BBW.

You should be a bit broke

Yeah BBW is about getting a LOT of books CHEAP. If either of those two things aren’t a criteria for you, you don’t need to go there.

You should be an adventurous reader

If you go to a BBW looking for specific authors or specific books, chances are you’ll be disappointed. You might get lucky of course and find exactly what you’re looking for OR you just might see ‘your’ books in someone else’s shopping bag or not there at all. The thing is you have to have an eclectic taste and be open to new, unknown authors to make full use of a BBW.

You should be a canny blurb reader

You should be able to gauge a book by its cover/blurb or maybe a quick cursory glance through the pages. There are just so many books and so many people jostling for them that that’s all you’ll have to make your pick.

You shouldn’t be finicky about the condition of books

This one’s pretty important. This is NOT a book exhibition. There will be some books in good condition and there’ll be some pre-used ones and others with yellowing pages and some others that may be dusty or musty. If you go by what’s in the pages rather than what’s on them, a BBW is for you. I have even picked out books from the kabadiwala so I was right at home.

So there – that’s it. If you’re all of those things head out to the sale. Don’t forget to carry some big sturdy bags with you unless of course you want to totter home with your precious pile spilling all around you.

24 Replies to “Five things you need to be, to make use of a Books-by-Weight Sale”

  1. Tulika, I am a BBW fan. I have made my younger son a fan too. I have discovered some gems in them like ‘Em and the Big Hoom’, ‘Wuthering Heights’ and many more. You rightly said, with the right eye, we can come away with bargains. There is one going on at Churchgate right now and the husband has banned me to go anywhere near it as I haven’t completed reading the previous ones. That’s where I will use my younger son to charm him out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh. I’m a fan of the concept. You get some real rare books at those places for sure. Last time I went, I got like 3 kilos, which was good for me, but a shock for my mom, who didn’t expect the deluge to flood the shelf. 😀

    Lover of books, voracious reader. CHECK.
    Bit broke. CHECK.
    Adventurous reader. CHECK (mostly)
    Canny blurb reader. CHECK. (especially the cover)
    Condition. As long as it’s readable, I’m fine with it. 😀

    And yes. sturdy bags may have to be part of the checklist. the bags at the BBW sale may not be good ones at times. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re the perfect candidate then :-). They had no bags when we went this time. People were carrying away books in discarded cartons.


  3. I have never heard of this concept… Wow imagine getting all your favorite books in dozens… Buy yeah that would be an ideal situation.
    It’s the first point that would stop me right there as I read only limited genre… Genre like historical fiction would put me to sleep 🙈

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh there are lots of books Raj, you’re sure to find something you like – maybe not the exact same book but similar ones for sure.


  4. I haven’t really bought BBW till now. I’ve heard some other friends swear by those. Somehow since it was never close to my house, I didn’t try. Sounds interesting though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have never been to one, and have never heard of one here. But I wish I am able to get to a BBW sale sometime. Outside of my minor obsession with condition of a book, I am good with most things that you mentioned. And I think I can compromise a bit in that department. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well since one is allowed to pick and choose you can go for the ones you like. You just shouldn’t be turning up your nose at them.


      1. Oh no, it’s not going to be like that. I used to be pretty OCD, not anymore. And even in my OCD days, all sorts of exceptions were made for my books. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to do that when I was in Mumbai. I picked up some real gems. At the BBW sale it’s the sheer numbers that awe you.


  6. I have been to a BBW sale, but I just went out of curiosity. However, the bookshop I frequent, has the kind of books you have spoken about. And, 9 out of 10 times, I can very proudly say, I picked out the best book! Just had a quick look at the cover and the blurb and picked it up, only to open it and get sucked into it….just like that! Next time I visit a BBW sale, I will remember what you said here and yes, will be carrying some sturdy bags, too! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There’s a BBW place near my house, but it’s kinda small, and their selection is really limited. There’s another one slightly far away, and I was totally blown away by their collection. And most of the books were in good shape too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have never bought books by weight but I am game for it because all the 5 reasons you mentioned fit me. I have been to a book sale once and had picked up loads of books for Rs 25-100 and many were unknown authors and enjoyed reading them.

    Liked by 1 person

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