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Saturday January 11
Ephemera 8am - 4pm
Bargain and Children's Rooms 10am - 4pm
Main Room Sale 11am - 4pm
Tent Sale 9am - 4pm

Sunday January 12
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Gardening Military History Xerox PARC Library DVDs


4000 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto
NE corner of the Cubberley Community Center
(650) 213-8755

More information on the sales
Donate your old books

Marty's (Main) Room
In our Main Room, prices are way below what used book stores charge. Hardcover books start at $1.00 and softcover books start at only 50 cents.

Due to the popularity of our sale and the fact that we can only have 160 customers in the room at any time a numbered ticket system (Main Room only) is in place and numbers are given out beginning at 8am on Saturday. Be sure to be in line in order of your number before the 11am opening. If you miss the time when your number is allowed to enter the Main Room you will forfeit your place in line. NOTE: If you plan on arriving to the sale after 11am you do NOT need to get a number.

Please note that due to crowding during the first two hours of the Book Sale, no strollers, rolling carts, etc. can be brought into the Main Room. This is for the safety of shoppers and volunteers alike. By 12:30 or so, the crowd thins out and shoppers are welcome to bring these items into the sale.

Children's Book Sale
The Children's Room is located in the portable formerly occupied by the Jewish Community Center next to the soccer field. It is entirely filled with children's books and toys. You'll find picture books, school age fiction and non-fiction, award winners, non-English titles, CDs and DVDs, and books for parents and teachers, most for 50 cents or $1. Strollers are welcome in the Children's Room at any time.

Bargain Books in H-2
The Bargain Room is located in Rooms H-2 and H-3 of the Cubberley main campus, between Marty's Room and Middlefield Road. On Saturday, paperbacks are 50 cents, hardcovers are $1, and children's books are 50 cents each. The room also contains many LP records and 78s at $1 each. On Sunday, the room opens at 11 am and all prices are half off. Or, save even more on Sunday by buying grocery bags from us for $5 each and stuffing them with any items in the room. Buy 4 bags and get the 5th one FREE!

Library Closings for Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
All libraries will be closed on Sunday, January 19 and Monday, January 20 for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Normal hours will resume on Tuesday, January 21.

You can find out about closings and other Palo Alto Library events on the Library's event calendar.
Friends Bookstore in Downtown Library

If you cannot attend the book sale, please drop by the Friends Bookstore located inside the Downtown Library and open during library hours. It is restocked regularly with a unique selection of books for all ages and interests.

FOPAL Book Sale Notices Now on Twitter
You can now follow us on Twitter @fopalbooks. We'll post Sale notices and will reveal the Sunday 50% off section via our Twitter feed.
Non-Profit Book Giveaway
Non-profit organizations and schools are able to select books from among the thousands of books available in the Bargain Room on the Sunday evening following the sale from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. If you are associated with a non-profit organization or school that would like to receive books from us for free or for information on eligibility, hours, and the types of materials available, please contact Norma Burchard in advance by e-mail at or at (650) 494-1082. Several dozen organizations benefit from the monthly giveaways, including local hospitals, homeless programs, senior centers, schools, and jails, as well as libraries in rural areas and on reservations, and literacy projects in many other countries.

True in 2004 and still true in 2013

"It's truly surprising how many valuable books are donated to FOPAL" -Marty Paddock, 2004.

This is still true in 2013! It's because of this truth that FOPAL continues encouraging checking the value of uncommon books on the internet so that they can be given a price which is fair to our customers and high enough to ensure the Friends are maximizing their sales revenue.

This is why our Main Room book sale customers are likely to see some books priced higher than the Bargain Room prices of $1 for a hardback and 50 cents for a paperback. A suggested pricing guideline for pricing book using internet research is one-third to one-half of the on-line asking prices given the criteria of publisher, date, edition, signed copy, condition, and availability. So, if you see a book priced for $10 at a monthly sale, chances are this book would sell on-line for at least $30. That being said some books warrant higher prices, but are still a great deal to our "collecting and reader" customers.

One of FOPAL's challenges is to recognize those books that might be even more out-of-ordinary and of unusually high value say...where the Internet price is over $40.00. Now once these books have been identified, FOPAL then looks for other markets for them where they can be sold at prices well above what we might price and sell them for our monthly sale. FOPAL not only sells at sells books at the monthly sale but also at the Friends Kiosk (Downtown library) at auction and on-line.

If you can't attend the monthly sale, please drop by the Friends Kiosk located in the Downtown library during library hours. Books are priced $1 for hardbacks and 50 cents for paperbacks. The Friends Kiosk is restocked regularly with books for all interests. Or, shop our on-line book store All proceeds from book sales benefit the Palo Alto Libraries.


We're always eager to hear your suggestions for ways to improve our book sale. Please email us at or mention them to a volunteer at the sale.

What's special for January 2014?

January marks a new year and new beginnings.... Time to start planning that spring garden, there are oodles of ideas to be had in our Gardening special! Look for a large selection of gardening books featuring the traditional "English" style both small and large scale. If getting your hands dirty isn't your thing, then maybe brushing up on your knowledge of military history, spy stories and famous campaigns is the ticket? Books on military history and espionage are prominently featured in the Military History section this month. And, you'll find both the Gardening and Military History January specials in the "Specials" bookcase just outside the sorting room door.

Two more January specials worth mentioning are a unique collection of books being offered from the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center Library/Technical Information Center and for DVD fans a large number of new DVDs in multiple copies. Look for a featured selection of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center Library/Technical Information Center books displayed on the end cap shelves near the front of the main room by the check-out line and in several other sections like, Science, Business, Psychology, Self-Help, and Computers. All these books are stamped XEROX PARC IC and many are priced $2. The outside tent/$1 sale is where you should find the new DVDs, these will be offered for (you guessed it)...a mere $1 each.

And, to get you excited about our upcoming February sale...we'll be adding another special we are calling the Soviet Super Sale! The Soviet Super Sale in February will include books from several area of interest including: History, Military History, and Philosophy and Historical Fiction. So if you've always been interested in the Stalin era or post-Stalinist power struggle and the Khrushchev Era...then February at FOPAL is the month to shop and buy books from the Soviet Super Sale!

Preview Our Shelves

Click here to see some of the shelves at this weekend's sale Check out some of the thousands of books that will be on sale this weekend using our shelf preview pictures.


The Gardening section has received a sizable donation from the estate of an antiquarian book dealer who specialized in fine, older books about landscape gardening. Therefore, the section is awash with many books about English landscape gardening, outstanding landscape gardens around the world, noted garden designers, etc. etc. These books are very reasonably priced and are displayed in the first tall bookcase on the right as you enter the Main Room, just past the sorting room, as well as in the Gardening section. -Ann Justice

Military History & More

For our January sale we'll be featuring a special from our Military History section. We received a large donation of books on the KGB, ULTRA and MAGIC, special operations, and Area 51 to mention some of the subsections of military history from a father (85) and son (55) over one recent weekend. There were 13+ banker boxes with two boxes already dedicated to espionage/spying.... Our volunteers have been busy checking out this wonderful collection, looking for more unusual titles and subjects. After some internet research on book value this "life time" collection has been priced and will be displayed in two bookcases on the right as you enter the Main Room, just past the sorting room, as well as in the Military History section. Two titles to mention are: Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have by Susan Ottaway and The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg by Nicholas Dawidoff.

Bounty from the Legendary Xerox PARC Library

We received an incredible donation from the legendary Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Like most companies they are taking their corporate library "all-digital". PARC has always been a huge supporter of FOPAL and for the next three months we'll be offering some great books on subjects such as Computers, Science, Business, Psychology, Sociology, and Linguistics, among others. The books feature many esoteric and obscure subjects and can mostly be found in the individual Sections (look for the "Xerox PARC Library" stamp on the page end). We'll also have a specially curated "Featured" section in the book case next to the DVD section. -Jerry Stone


Typically the outside $1 tent sale is reserved for better hardcover books selected for sale by our section managers. But, for this month we are adding new/never opened DVDs that we received, many titles will have multiple copies available. Here are some of the movie titles to give an idea of what you might find: The Great Debater, starring Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker, City by the Sea, featuring Robert De Niro, Frances McDormand and Palo Alto's very own James Franco and...My Big Fat Greek Wedding starring Nia Vardalos & John Corbett. All these DVDs are worth purchasing and watching for $1/ea.

Half-price sale in Home & Craft

It's SALE time in the Home & Craft section. Most of last year's Better Books are now 1/2 price- They are a whole year older and maybe that makes them an even better bargain so grab them fast for pleasure, investment or resale. -Nancy Welch

Highlights in the Music and Dance Section

Cuban Ballet by Octavio Roca, Dance 2wice by Patsy Tarr and Abbott Miller, and American Mavericks: Musical Visionaries, Pioneers, Iconoclasts, Leonard Bernstein: American Original by Burton Bernstein.

Lennon Revealed by Larry Kane, The Kennedy Chronicles: The Golden Age of MTV Through Rose-Colored Glasses by Kennedy, Situating Salsa edited by Lise Waxer, Air Guitar by Dave Hickey, The Barbed Wire Waltz by Robert & Einzi Stolz, Piano - The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand by James Barron and The Queen's Throat - Opera, Homosexuality and the Mystery of Desire by Wayne Koestenbaum. -Charlotte Epstein

Greeting Cards

Greeting cards in ALL categories including Valentines can be found outside the main room at bargain prices. A selection of Valentines cards will be offered in the January sale since the February sale will be after Valentine's Day. Greeting card price will increase to 50 cents per card in 2014. Get your cards this month at this still unbelievable price. -Marda Buchholz

Philosophy for January

The Philosophy section is in the main aisle in two adjacent bookcases.

Left Bookcase, This bookcase focuses on books by or about specific philosophers. Many of the old favorites are here again this month such as Aristotle (12), Plato (15), Russell (5), Seneca (2) and Wittgenstein (2).

Chinese, we have 10 books relating to Chinese philosophy, located on the bottom shelf.

Right Bookcase, this bookcase focuses on books about philosophy. This includes dictionaries, encyclopedia sets, and single volumes from sets, histories of philosophy or specific groups of philosophers or schools of thought.

You will find some of our recent arrivals on the top shelf, including: Hamerton-The Intellectual Life, 1911, Highet-Man's Unconquerable Mind, 1954, Fillingham-Foucault for Beginners, Kohanski-The Philosophical Programmer, signed, Moore-Ethics, Pears- The Nature of Metaphysics, 1957, Safranski-Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil, Santayana-Persons and Places, Wellmuth-The Nature and Origins of Scientism, Aquinas Lecture 1944 and Zizek-Looking Awry, Lacan.

Noteworthy: Henri Bergson-Matter & Memory, Elizabeth Kamarck Minnich-Transforming Knowledge, an analysis of our educational systems by a noted professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies. Marcus Aurelius-The Dialogue, Alan Stedall reimagines Meditations as conversations with Galen and others.

Ethics and Morality- On the second shelf are 35 books related to Ethics and Morality. -Nigel Jones


Do you miss Dr. Kildare, Chicago Hope and ER, and is Grey's Anatomy keeping you alive by easing your thirst for Medical Fiction and Drama?

The Health Section has an enormous, heartwarming and often gut-wrenching collection of books written by doctors (and patients), about doctors and patients, their personalities and problems, and the ailments and disabilities that beset all of us. The writing is challenging, hypnotic, educational, fun to read and engrossing: Is there anyone among us who doesn't often focus, willingly or not, on what's hurting -- and on the medical professionals who care for us? (Or we wish they did.)

This is Medical Literature: Mostly fiction and memoirs, but filled with facts, a prescription for broad spectrum treatment of the Wider World of Medicine. Also contains Complications, Confessions and "Death of the Good Doctor." Highly Effective in treating Curiosity and possible Deficiency of Really Good Reading. -Karen D & Verne Rice

Humor Section Continues to Spread

Usually 2 bookcases with 10 shelves this month we have 3 bookcases with 13 shelves. For convenience they are described as Right Wing, Left Wing and Ultra Left Wing.

Right Wing- upper shelves / Wet Weather = Dry Humor.

This month, for no apparent reason, we have our largest selection ever of humor from the British Isles.

Wodehouse: a bio by McCrum, the complete Mulliner, and five novels including Thank You, Jeeves, the first Jeeves novel, Spike Milligan: Spike was many things, one of which was a founding member of the Goon Show, (the essential precursor to Monty Python, who were his devoted fans).

Dawn French, Mr. Bean, Times Humor, 1956, Frank Muir: the stylistic opposite to Spike, Brit Think. Grossmiths-Diary of a Nobody, (first appeared in Punch 1892), a nondescript Penguin paperback in which the nondescript Mr. Pooter invites you to visit his family. Jerome-Three Men in a Boat (surely a masterpiece of its genre)

Two collections of Irish Humor, Two collections of Limericks

Autographed Books: does anybody care? Apparently you do and I can think of three reasons: you thought giving an autographed book was a neat gift idea, you have always wanted an autographed book (who cares who it's by), or you are a dealer and I accidentally made your day. This month we have the following: Dave Barry-In Cyberspace, Dr. Science's Big Book, Jean Humburg-Honk If You Like Canada Geese, Jeffrey Shaffer-I'm Right Here, Fish-Cake. (This may be no more than an optimistic guess but it does seem to say Jeff, or John or something like that)

Left Wing- Top shelf- The Marx Brothers, Woody Allen and a raft of people you have probably seen on TV, also a full shelf covering the classic era from Robert Benchley up through the 40s, 50s and 60s, and of course our old favorites including, Dave Barry (12), James Thurber (10), Garrison Keillor (15) and O'Rourke (8).

Ultra Left Wing- lower 3 shelves - Basically an assortment of great books I could not get into the other 2 bookcases, or duplicates or miscellaneous stuff....

Cartoons- 99% of our cartoon collection is in the Bargain Room, and 99% of them will be only 50 cents!

More Milligan: Spike won an award and Prince Charles sent a congratulatory message to which Spike said, "Well, he's a groveling little bastard!" The next day he faxed HRH saying, "I suppose a knighthood is out of the question?" He ended up with a CBE and KBE. -Nigel Jones

Children's Room Recommendations from Arushi

In Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, he describes how people who are not considered normal deal with life at Mica High School. It tells the story of Stargirl, a most unusual young lady, through the eyes of Leo Borlock. Leo, as is clear from the very beginning of the book, is attracted to the unusual in life, such as porcupine neckties. From the moment Stargirl appears at Mica High, Leo can sense that underneath all her abnormal portrayal of herself, she is actually a very nice person. The students at Mica High are unable to trust the conflicting personality that she projects. They don't understand her wacky behavior or the wacky clothes she wears. Stargirl is a beautiful tale depicting the wonderful act of finally belonging.

Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements is probably one of most fun books I've ever read. The story starts off with a bang when Bobby wakes up one fine morning and looks in the mirror. That's when he discovers that he has turned invisible overnight...and he has absolutely no idea how to turn back to normal. Full of quirks and sudden twists and turns, the story moves forward, showing how Bobby struggles with invisibility before he learns how to deal with it, actually, Bobby even finds a few things that are great about being invisible. But until Bobby meets Alicia, a blind girl who doesn't care if Bobby is visible or not, Bobby starts to lose hope that he will ever lead a normal life again. When Alicia and Bobby start becoming friends, she shows Bobby that there can be a way through every situation, whether permanent or not. Things Not Seen is an amazing book whose story continues in an equally thrilling novel, Things Hoped For.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a beautiful story of the four March sisters; Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, whose family has recently lost its fortune. This is a lovely classic that tells the tale of how each one of the sisters must deal with their own problems as well as dealing with the little money they have. For Meg, it is sacrificing her love of beautiful and fine things in order to follow her heart. Jo, an ambitious budding writer, must learn to control her temper and become more ladylike, but she realizes that she doesn't have to lose her fiery spirit to do it. Beth, by far the most sweet and bashful of the sisters, must conquer her many fears in order to shine. Amy, the youngest, must let go of her childish pride to turn into a proper young lady. In the midst of all of this, the four sisters befriend wealthy Theodore Laurence, the boy who lives next door. Full of adventure, romance, and tragedy, Little Women is a book that explores the life of the four March sisters during the Civil War. -Arushi Sahai

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