Books, marvellous books, have raised nearly $40,000 at the Zonta Clubs of Hatea and Whangarei's 22nd Great New Zealand Book Sale.

The as yet unofficial total from the annual mammoth event held over the weekend is $37,700, says secretary Jessie Bell.

More than 3000 people passed through the doors at Forum North, the traditional queue forming long before opening time at 7am on Saturday.

As well as readers finding books, author Martyn Thompson said he was thrilled to find a book he had written in 2005 at the two-day sale.

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Mr Thomas came across a copy of his well-regarded book Our War: The Grim Digs, New Zealand Soldiers in North Africa, 1940-1943 which contains first-hand accounts from more than 80 former veterans.

The book includes the stories of a couple of Whangarei soldiers.

"This is what we love about the book sale, meeting local authors like Martyn," Zonta Hatea club president Sue Ogle said.

The first Great New Zealand Book Sale in 1994 raised about $1000 and since then it 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.