It's the huge book sale etched in the minds of all Northland's keenest readers, and a volunteer who has worked the event for more than 20 years says reading seems as popular as ever.

More than 3000 people passed through Zonta's famous Great New Zealand Book Sale over the weekend, swapping recommendations over novel-laden tables, quietly reading to their children and peacefully poring through categories ranging from DIY to new-age philosophy.

Beverley Cowley from the Zonta Club of Hatea - Whangarei has volunteered at the event since its 1994 inception and said the number of keen readers had not seemed to have declined.

"That's something we've been surprised about. After the [2008] downturn we thought we'd be really affected, in actual fact people seem to buy even more from us," she said. "

Advertisement

As in past years, queues had already formed outside the doors of Forum North come opening at 7am Saturday, and people poured in to get their hands on the best of the 903 banana boxes worth of donated books.

The first event in 1994 raised about $1000 and since then the 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.

This year was characterised by people who, happy with their bargains, topped up the sale price with extra donations, Ms Cowley said.

"People will come in and see the good causes it's going to and go 'oh I'll give an extra $5'," Ms Cowley said.

Two hours before the sale closed yesterday, more than 3000 people had been through the sale.

Tables groan under piles of books at the Zonta Great NZ Book Sale in Whangarei. Photo / Tania Whyte
Tables groan under piles of books at the Zonta Great NZ Book Sale in Whangarei. Photo / Tania Whyte