Whanganui book lovers be warned: temptation awaits!
The Rotary Club of Whanganui annual Monster Book Fair is on over two weekends in April and there are thousands of books.
Over the past few weeks, in a very large car park beneath one of Whanganui's prominent buildings, small teams of volunteers have been sorting, pricing and boxing the books, ready to take to their penultimate destination with the help of a truck and a forklift.
Kate Smith, Whanganui Rotary's book fair co-ordinator, is in charge of this novel operation, although novels are just a part of what's on offer.
No-one has any real idea of the number of books held in that space, but the point is, it's not how many they have, but how many they can sell.
But if you must have a precise figure – "Exactly lots of many and more," says Kate.
The fact that there are that many banana boxes is astounding enough.
"We have various people popping in to supermarkets [procuring boxes]."
And how many volunteers are helping out?
"Not as many as I'd like, but the ones who are here know what they are doing and just come in and get going. We've had two that came because of the Rivercity Press article; Graham is from Rotary North; John, Dennis and myself … Whanganui Rotary Club; and Neil is attached to Whanganui Rotary Club."
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Neil Boyd takes care of all the special books, collectibles, sport, military and New Zealand, to name a few. He and his wife Christina are always seen at the Victoria Avenue entrance of the book fair in the former Farmers homeware store, in charge of the pricier items. Naturally, that section contains a large number of Scottish themed books. Neil is also the author of an autobiography, covering his life in Scotland and New Zealand and all parts in between.
Overall, the prices of the books are kept low, with nothing less than a dollar, but, with the exception of the collectibles, up to not much more than that.
"We're raising funds to give to the community," says Kate. "The community that has spare books and doesn't know what to do with them is giving them to us, so we're helping them; they're also helping us, we're helping folks that want to read something at a reasonable price, and the community benefits as we make money. "
It's a happy carousel.
Believe it or not, they are still open to receiving donated books. They recently received a large number of books from The Rotary Club of Plimmerton, following their decision to stop holding book fairs.
"So we sent a couple of trucks to Wellington and we got 60 trestle tops and trestles." Plus a huge number of books in excellent condition. "All they wanted is recognition."
Of course, some of the many donated items are unable to be sold, so Dennis Brown is in charge of recycling.
They have a system to keep track of books that don't sell so well.
"After three years, if they're still there, then they go to the big library in the sky, with great reluctance, much gratitude for the love and attention they've had and the pleasure they've given. We retire them."
Many find their way to charity shops.
What: The Rotary Club of Whanganui Annual Monster Book Fair
When: From Thursday, April 8 to Sunday, April 11, and from Friday, April 16 to Sunday, April 18, from 9am each day.
Where: In the old Farmers Homestore at 131 Victoria Ave, with an entrance also from St Hill St.
Tickets: Free entry