Final book sale

Last updated 06:43 09/04/2014
Yvette Batten /Fairfax NZ

Book lovers: New Plymouth Opera House Friends Trust members Bill Campbell and Tony Pugh are already getting ready for the 24 hour book sale.

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This year's 24 Hour Book sale will be New Plymouth's last.

Among many reasons, organisers of the beloved event, New Plymouth Opera House Friends Trust, believe it is no longer viable.

Profits gained over the past few years have declined gradually with the growth of the digital age.

Trust chairman Tony Pugh and secretary Bill Campbell explained what's happened.

"We've had a reduction in sales and an increase in costs," Pugh said. "It caused us to review the whole process and make a decision about where we were heading and whether the trust could continue to carry the risk. We're potentially heading towards a loss."

Bulk buyers at the event have declined too.

"Which is an indicator where the second-hand book market is," Pugh said.

More than 200 volunteers work throughout the year, mainly sorting, to prepare for the event.

A number of core volunteers have indicated they'd like to stop. "We had to look whether we had the resources to continue running it as well," Pugh said. "It's thousands of hours of preparation."

This year's event will be the sale's 25th anniversary.

"It's probably going to be harder to run the last one than it probably was the first one," Pugh said. "It takes a lot to unravel."

Campbell said: "I'd like to personally just say thanks to everybody for really supporting the sale over the last 25 years."

Over the years it has raised more than $500,000 for the TSB Showplace.

Last year's event raised $76,000. About six years ago it raised more than $100,000.

In the past five years money raised paid for a $140,000 ventilation system for the main theatre and $120,000 was used for gallery seating.

For this year's sale, paperbacks and magazines donations are no longer needed.

"We're still going to accept books," Pugh said.

In order for the trust to make the most out of donations, they need be in re-sellable order; no ripped or loose pages or mould.

Each year the trust spends thousands on disposal of donated material unfit for resale.

The final book sale will be held on August 8 and 9 at the TSB Showplace Theatre Royal.

"We thought it was a nostalgia thing to bring it back to the point of origin," Campbell said.

The trust needs to get rid of about 100 table tops and about 300 trestles. Contact Bill Campbell on 021 113 9804 for more information.

Once the book sale is over the trust will gain most of its funding through sales at the TSB Showplace candy bar and ushering services.

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