Norriss Wilson sits at the door of the CHB Lions Bookarama, handing out reusable bags to shoppers as they enter the door.
Those who have been to Bookarama before wisely accept the bag.
Others - the uninitiated - casually wave the bag away with a "just browsing".
Above his mask Norriss's eyes twinkle. They'll be back, he knows. You can't escape Bookarama without an armful of books.
Norriss has been a Lions Club member for 44 years. This is just his third Bookarama gig.
"It's been chocker all morning. They've been flat out at the checkout counter," he says, pointing out a team of yellow-vested Lions Club volunteers busily counting, bagging and ringing up sales.
When the Takapau Lions Club crew arrived first thing on Friday to open the doors to the three-day used book sale - which fills the bottom floor of the CHB Municipal Theatre - there was a queue of about 50 eager buyers, waiting in drizzly rain.
By lunchtime the crowd was thinning, but not by much. Carol Seymour, one of the seasoned organisers of the annual event, said there had been four or five commercial buyers in quite early, buying for second-hand bookshops, then a steady stream of book-lovers including a class of Waipawa Primary School junior students.
"It's been very busy - which is lovely. The Waipawa School children were delightful, very well behaved, holding their spending money in plastic bags. They chose their books and paid for them and then sat and compared purchases as they waited for the whole class to finish.
"That was lovely - encouraging that love of books so young. It will go through life with them," she said.
Some of the more grown-up bookworms had travelled from further afield, with one Hastings shopper saying she was stocking up the family bach.
"I love to have books scattered about for summer reading or a rainy day ... and we often have visitors so if they get engrossed in a good book it's nice to be able to say 'Take it with you and pass it along when you've finished it'.
"A holiday isn't right without a good book."
A fellow browser chimes in to agree. She says books are like "comfort food".
"There's something about the weight and texture of an actual book - not an e-book - that is solid and comforting. It's a slow and relaxing way to read.
"But with the prices of everything going up, books have become a luxury item. That's what's so great about Bookarama, I have a bag full of second-hand books, some like new, for the cost of maybe one new book.
"I feel like I've been on a treasure hunt and I can't wait to get this lot home and decide what to read first."
Carol Seymour says the novels and collectable books have been popular, with children's books gettign snapped up as well ... but it's the jigsaws that have been flying out the door this year.
Not that there were visible gaps anywhere. With 700-plus boxes of books and puzzles to choose from, there's still a lot for bookworms to burrow through over the next two days of the sale.
CHB Lions Bookarama is on at the CHB Municipal Theatre, Kenilworth St Waipawa, Saturday, June 18, 9am-4pm and Sunday, June 19, 9am-2pm. All funds raised go back into the CHB Community.