A book buyer's bonanza at Santa Rosa Veterans Building

  • (l to r) Cliff, Fiona, 9, Oliver, 6, and Kim Sweet of Santa Rosa rummage through the kids section at the bi-annual Friends of the Library book sale at the Santa Rosa Veteran's Building.

    (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

It's not too often you'll find a student ditching school to hit the books.

But that's what Janelle Barraza, 13, did Friday afternoon as she lined up with nearly a hundred other Sonoma County residents to wait for doors to open on the Friends of the Library's book sale.

Some of the crowd outside the building had been waiting almost two hours to get into the sale, which benefits the three Santa Rosa branches of the Sonoma County Library.

Friends of the Library Book Sale


"I've been coming since I was 6," said Barraza. Her mom, Alpidia Barraza, remembers her daughter walking away with 60 books during her first sale.

The sale, which relocated from the fairgrounds to the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial building this year, offers thousands of used books from every genre.

The Barrazas usually come for all four days of the sale, which steadily lowers its prices as the weekend progresses.

"We live for this," said Barraza. "Afterwards, we all sit around as a family and show off what we've found."

Friday attracts a competitive bookselling crowd, who race around dozens of tables of books determining their value with handheld scanners.

Eric Ringstrom, a former construction worker who lost his contracting business due to the economy, began book sales as a side business. Ringstrom now attends book sales full-time, enlisting the help of his brother and walking away with bins full of books he sells for a profit online.

"It's risen in popularity," said Ringstrom, who usually walks away with several hundred books from each sale he attends in the North Bay.

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