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There has traditionally been a bit of argy-bargy as the Regent Theatre doors swing open and hundreds of avid readers flood in to get to ''the best books'' first.
Fortunately, there was none of that yesterday - the 33rd annual sale was a remarkably quiet and civil affair.
First in the door at noon was Paul Minter (55), who had been queuing patiently outside the Regent Theatre since 7.45am and had come especially from Christchurch for the sale.
He jogged straight past the stalls of books, paintings and pictures on the ground floor and the stage, to the basement where all the best books were located.
''I was lucky the weather was so warm, otherwise it would have been an unpleasant wait.''
Book sale organiser Alison Cunningham described Mr Minter as a ''hard-core'' fan.
''I wasn't even here at that time.''
Mrs Cunningham said volunteers had handled more than 250,000 books over the past few months, preparing the theatre's stage area, floor and basement with row after row of hardback and paperback books - more than half of which were only $1.
Among the gems this year was a 2002 Grahame Sydney print and three boxes of rare manuals for classic British cars, including Wolseley, Jaguar, Triumph, Austin and Land Rover.
It was hoped proceeds from the sale would go towards buying a new digital projector for the theatre, to host the International Film Festival later this year.
The sale concludes at noon today.