The Star Regent 24-hour Book Sale convener Doug Lovell
enjoys browsing through a selection of books ready for the
sale. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Retirement is looming for the father of Dunedin's The
Star Regent 24-hour Book Sale.
Doug Lovell (70) will be on hand tomorrow for the sale, and
for the 30th next year.
But after that he will be putting his feet up in a new home
Mr Lovell started the annual theatre fund-raiser 29 years ago
with two truckloads of sheet music donated by a retailer and
with some books from the public.
The first sale raised $13,000.
This year, the sale will contain more than 200,000 books and
it and a separate music sale should produce $100,000 to help
pay for the theatre's new stage.
Mr Lovell said he would miss most the team of 200 volunteers
who collected, sorted and priced books during the eight-month
lead-up to the sale.
For some, the sale "was almost a way of life", he said.
The organisation had become so slick that this year
everything was ready 48 hours before the sale started.
Mr Lovell said he was often "gobsmacked" by the quality of
To demonstrate, he sorted through a carton containing a
19th-century New Zealand gardening book, an early tourist
photo souvenir booklet about Queenstown and a couple of
Rupert Bear annuals that have never felt the smudge of an
The mezzanine floor is the place for the more valuable books.
The rest cover the stage and line the aisles and sell for $1.
Mr Lovell said there was always the possibility of finding a
bargain and recalled a lucky buyer spending 50c on The Ascent
of Everest, by John Hunt - signed by Sir Edmund Hillary and
Sherpa Tenzing - going on to sell it on the internet for
The sale, the biggest second-hand book sale in the country,
opens at noon tomorrow.