The fresh recruits to Pearson have been asking their experienced colleagues about the upcoming book sale. Some want to know if there will be books in good numbers and for all topics – fiction to philosophy; some ask ‘will there be a separate kids’ section’. To this, Jonaki quipped meaningfully – ‘Yes, and they will be arranged in alphabetical order.’ How convenient! However, since I find our book sales really interesting and do not want my new colleagues to miss it, I would like to tell them a little more about the book sale.
The seasoned book lovers begin to queue up at the warehouse gates well half-an-hour before the scheduled time. The moment the gates open, people crash in and within the first hour, all DK encyclopedias and children’s books are gone. So be there on time if that’s where your interest is. For the first timers, it is really not easy. The first problem is to figure out which direction to head towards, and then where exactly to look for the books you want. If you are lucky, you might notice the books you have always wanted in other people’s cartons. That can give you a direction. Ask them which area/room they picked those books from.
As for the ‘alphabetically arranged stacks’, the truth is you will find them piled up in huge heaps. It is quite a sight (and I love it). Some, however, are systematically arranged on the floor from one end of the room to another. Then there are book hunters wearing lost and hassled expressions, carrying their cartons from one pile of books to another (while having their already filled cartons lined up near the billing counter), still looking for more, perhaps something better. It is not a surprise that the sight of seas and hills of books makes people forget whatever mental list they may have prepared earlier. You will also get to see some people sitting on the top of the mounds of books, which can be as high as 6 feet (or even more) from the ground. They ensconce themselves around some depression, caused by the zealous climbers, and keep digging into the stack (making it adventurously unsafe for other climbers) till they find something that can hold their interest. Occasionally they generously raise a copy high up and shout out things like – ‘Anyone for William Darlymple?’, ‘Want Amartya Sen?’ and more of such, followed by ‘yes’s and ‘no’s’ from all corners, also accompanied by some fresh requests at times.
It is undoubtedly an interesting sight. Our book sale is definitely worth a visit, not just for the books (the priceless treasure that you get to build) but also for the amusement it offers. Do go there. Do not miss it.