your most complete guide to used book stores and sales around the 'Burgh


About the SaleList

This website was created in 2005 to provide access to a 48-page document
I've been creating since 2000.

It's not a very exciting website.
There are lots and lots of words here; I assume you really like to read.

The SaleList's the important thing.
Tell me how to make it more useful to you.

go to History
go to Description
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The list of Used Book Sales and Stores in and around Allegheny County was begun for my own use, as a spin-off from the Used Book Sale page on the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) website, The CLP pages were updated only if a librarian or a member of the Friends of the Library group sponsoring the sale remembered to send in a notice. Notices of sales that sounded interesting were often from a prior year, and other sales didn't make it onto the list at all. I began actively surveying every library in Allegheny County and including more information in each entry, such as the number of books, their prices, and how to get to the sale from downtown Pittsburgh.

After a while, other book nuts showed interest in the list I was carrying around with me, and I started making extra copies to give away. I added a section for libraries that sold books year round, and a section for used bookstores. In 2001, the Friends of the Library started selling copies at my branch library. By this time, I felt a need for a cover and a title. I decided that if I were going to deliberately spread my SaleList around, it should be as complete and accurate as I could make it. I sent copies to every organization mentioned, asking them to verify their entries.

People who saw those SaleLists began e-mailing me, asking for copies or updates. My experience with mass mailing had convinced me that I didn't want to send any more hard copies, so I e-mailed copies of the list.

From Spring of 2001 until early 2003, I built up an emailing list of people who wanted periodic revisions. I began trading information with a national book sale site and with Cathy Chaparro at the Carnegie Library. In March of 2003, Cathy suggested that the library site could host my SaleList and include a link between their list and mine. Interest in the SaleList grew because of the exposure on the clpgh website, and the size of the list expanded as libraries scheduled more sales, perhaps because they saw so many being advertised.

In early 2005, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh completely revamped their online system and stopped maintaining their own Used Book Sale list. Any e-mails they get about book sales will be forwarded to me for the list of Used Book Sales and Stores in and around Allegheny County instead. Soon after that change was announced, I was told that the space for my SaleList would no longer be available. At first I felt as though I were being kicked from the nest, but now I'm learning to fly!

The CLP Used Book Sales list was a wonderful resource for years and did a lot to encourage the growth of library used book sales. Thank you, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, from all of us! My personal thanks are also due, especially to Cathy Chaparro, for all the help given to me and my SaleList.

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The SaleList is currently about 50 pages long. To print a copy using both sides of the paper requires a heavy sheet of paper for the cover, 22 plain sheets, and two more heavy sheets for the 2 posters at the end. The document was set up with very small margins, to cram as much as possible onto each page. My old laser printer can't handle the nonstandard margins, but every inkjet I've used has been fine. If you have to change the format, you're mostly on your own...but note that you may have to change a few references to page numbers -- on the contents page and pages ii, 1, 3, and 12. If you are going to print in black only, note that there are data in the Alphabetical Index and the section of Used Book Sales, detailed, by date that are printed in red for a particular reason; you might want to make them italics or bold.

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The heart of the document is a listing in date order, based on the opening day, of almost 100 periodic used book sales in the region. Of the 69 libraries I surveyed in 2007, only five did not sell used books at all; 43 had one or more big sales during the year, as did the three nonprofit organizations on the list. To make it easy to find a specific library's sales, there is an Alphabetical Index, which currently contains more than 100 items. A one-page Calendar for 20## is color coded to brighten up your bulletin board and keep you from missing important sale days. The number of sales on a particular date is indicated by a small red number to the left of the date. (A blue number to the right indicates the number of Bag Sales.)

The best part of a sale is often the last day -- the bag sale. You pay a flat price, usually between $1 and $6 depending on how much the Friends of the Library dread packing up the leftover books, and are given a bag into which you can stuff whatever you want. There's a chart of bag sales by date, and they are marked on the Calendar with blue numbers to the right of the dates.

Most of the libraries sell used books every day; the ongoing sales section lists them alphabetically. We attempt to give some idea of quantity, prices, and types of books on sale. If you go, please let us know if we need to update our description.

The Used Book Stores section has 25 or more listings. In general, the shop owner's own words are used when available. Please send us information about other stores we should list; the only criterion is that they sell some used books. At the end of the section is a list of stores that have gone out of business since I began keeping track. Sometimes the only indication that a store is gone is a disconnected phone; if you know that the owner is continuing to sell books, please send me details via the Contact button.

The chart of Stores and Ongoing Library Sales by location is handy to keep in the car for times when you've finished your errands, you have some free time, but you don't know the neighborhood. The chart will help you ferret out the used books you're sure must be around somewhere.

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Please contact me if you have
an addition, a correction, or a deletion for the SaleList.
Don't let the "Allegheny County" in the title limit you;
if you think people in Pittsburgh
will want to come to your sale,
we will be glad to tell them about it.

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last revised: 07/04/09