Banana boxes prove the easiest measurement of how many books will be collected for Whangarei and Hatea-Whangarei Zonta Clubs' massive annual sale.

Last year at least 1000 banana boxes worth of books were picked up or dropped off and sorted into subjects and other categories during the months leading up to the big fundraising event. This year's Great New Zealand Book Sale, on July 30 and 31, is as likely as most over the past 23 years to see queues of people waiting for Forum North's doors to open, then a rush to pick over tables groaning under their cargo of books.

Bev Cowley with a copy of the Word Power Dictionary that looks like it arrived new from a bookshop.
Bev Cowley with a copy of the Word Power Dictionary that looks like it arrived new from a bookshop.

Club members and other helpers have been trying to put the donations so far into order in borrowed warehouse space before the expected flood of books comes in during the last month before the sale. On Saturday those books already donated were sorted ahead of the big sale.

People are invited to drop off unwanted but tidy, and useable books, music, DVDs, board games or puzzles to a Cowley's Hire Centre or the Discovery Settlers Hotel in Hatea Drive.

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The first event held in 1993 raised about $1000 and since then the Great New Zealand Book Sale has put an estimated $250,000 back into the community in scholarships, Women's Refuge and other support for women, education and promoting equal opportunities.

Raewyn and Tom Messham make sure the books not up to standard are binned.
Raewyn and Tom Messham make sure the books not up to standard are binned.
- Northern Advocate photographer John Stone went along on Saturday to watch supporters start unpacking some of the thousands of books already donated for the sale and captured these images.