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

Sunday March 9
All Rooms 11am - 4pm


Second Soviet Super Sale
Psychology & Self-Help


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

Maps and Directions
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 green FOPAL reusable bags from us for $2/ea (or bring your own grocery-size reusable bag) and stuffing them with any items in the room for $5/bag. Fill four bags at $5/bag and fill a fifth bag FREE! (We no longer receive sufficient used paper grocery bags along with donations for this purpose.)

Library Events for the Next Month
You can find out about Palo Alto Library events on the Library's event calendar. Some of those events are funded in part by the proceeds from these book sales.
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.

A Reminder about the 12-Book Limit
Most people who come to our sales early on Saturday are enthusiastic, cooperative, and they appreciate the reasons for our 12-book limit, which is in force only until the Sale Manager announces that the limit is lifted. This usually happens around noon; earlier when all who are in line have been admitted, and when the Fire Department's occupancy limit is no longer a problem.

Shoppers may not bring in more than one bag per customer, or any oversize bags. Standard grocery-sized bags are okay - and of course we encourage the use of our highly visible flashy green FOPAL bags, for sale outside the entry ramp. Please remember that boxes and large backpacks are a safety hazard, and we cannot allow them when the book room is crowded.

We will remove shoppers from the sale if the they refuse to limit the number of books in their possession to 12. A reminder: as always, customers are welcome to choose 12 books, pay for them, exit Marty's room and re-enter as many times as they wish, honoring the waiting line if it is still in existence.

Our goal is to make our book sales as pleasant and rewarding as possible, for as many customers as possible. We are grateful for the support of most of our shoppers for shopping according to our rules. We ask for the commitment of our "business clients" in considering the rights of all of our customers and observing our rules. -FOPAL Book Sale Committee


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.

Spring Forward This Sale Weekend

Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday, which means you'll want to be sure to move your clock forward by one hour on Saturday night. Otherwise, you'll arrive at our Sunday sale an hour late! Incidentally, the correct term is daylight saving time, not daylight savings time. If you had it wrong, don't feel bad. More people Google the incorrect phrase than the correct one!

Massive, Monolithic, Monumental Book Sale

The Soviet Super Sale continues to provide more books for this month's sale. We're calling this the Second Soviet Super Sale and including books from several areas of interest including: History, Military History, and Philosophy and Historical Fiction. So if you didn't get enough books on the Stalin era or post-Stalinist power struggle and the Khrushchev Era...then March at FOPAL is the month to shop and buy more books from the Second Soviet Super Sale!

Also, for this weekend's sale look for a special from our Psychology & Self-Help section in the special book case near the fiction area (southwest corner) of the Main Room, as well as in the assigned Psychology & Self-Help bays. The Psychology & Self-Help section manager and her assistants have been working together to process hundreds of books that were donated by a local retiring psychology professional and another health science specialist that worked for Veterans Affairs in Menlo Park. These two generous donations offer sale goers enough books to see half of the collection in the March sale and the other half in the April sale!

Stamp book price now half-off for the March FOPAL sale. Long-time volunteer Althea Andersen has had two stamp book collections for sale for the past two months so she's reduced the price of one so they both are now $50. And, in our Ephemera area, check out a huge donation of LIFE Magazines.

The March FOPAL sale is also going to be a big one for DVDs. The Palo Alto Library cleared out a huge number of DVDs from its collection and we are now offering them to you to own. The DVD shelves are packed full waiting to find their way to homes of FOPAL's movie lovers.

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 photos.

The old shelf preview photos work too.

Second Super Soviet Sale

To celebrate the February Revolution of 1917, which happened in March, and the return of The Americans on FX we are having a Second Soviet Super Sale. After a successful First SSS we had a spontaneous popular uprising and received so many additional Soviet related books that we are having a Second SSS to affect a Great Purge of the collection. We have an excellent selection of both rare Soviet editions from houses such as Progress Publishers, and rare pamphlets. Other sections include: biographies, autobiographies and memoirs, works by or about Marx, Engels, Stalin and Lenin, and the ever-popular topic of Cold War Espionage. After March there will be dispersal of Soviet remnants to other areas. -Suzanne Little, Nigel Jones, Vladimir Johnson

Psychology & Self-Help

Interested in Eric Berne (May 10, 1910 - July 15, 1970), a Canadian-born psychiatrist best known as the creator of transactional analysis and the author of Games People Play? Then March is your month for picking up a collection of Eric Berne's books. We have for sale in the Psychology & Self-Help section a 1961 copy of his Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy for a mere $6 -- on Amazon you'll find this same book priced at $12.55. Or, a 1964 copy of his well-known book Games People Play, FOPAL price $3 -- Amazon listed at $4.03. And, a 1973 copy of What Do You Say after Hello? AbeBooks is offering this classic for on-line sale at $3.47 and for you at FOPAL only $2. Look for these and many more books by well known psychologists and psychiatrists in the assigned Psychology & Self-Help bays. In the Psychology & Self-Help special book case near in the fiction area (southwest corner) of the Main room, look for three (3) new still in the plastic books by Yves Chesni: Dialectical Realism: Towards a Philosophy of Growth, Studies On the Development of Consciousness and Inner Voyage. These books sold new on-line are priced between $13 and $7. FOPAL's prices will be half of what you'd be paying on-line and we don't charge $3.99 for shipping!

Stamp Books

Stamp books are sometimes donated to FOPAL and after a little research we put these on sales for our Stamp Collecting customers, or perhaps to those who'd like to start a collection. Found near the exit door of the Main Sale room, next to Games and Puzzles on a top shelf, you'll find two full stamp books. One is titled Norman Rockwell Classics and Historical American Stamps 1940s-1970s and the other is The American Historic Stamp Collection, Volume I, 1920s-1980s by the Franklin Philatelic Society. Both are now priced for $50.

Ephemera Has Lots of LIFE in March

We have 16 volumes of LIFE magazines from 1942 to 1946 in the Main Room or about 240 issues and copies are in good shape. These volumes each have about 15 issues of the magazines. (Some volumes are incomplete.) They are priced as a set at $400 for all volumes. Many of these older issues of Life are worth more than the per price issue at $400 for the set. One of our volunteers did some on-line price checking and found on AbeBooks that many are selling at $3 to $18 per issue and some at many multiples of $18.


With the recent Oscars being held just this past week, movie going may be on your mind, here are the highlights to the DVD section this month: six winners of the Oscar for best picture, 20+ films with a "Rotten Tomatoes" rating of 90 or higher, two classics in the AFI top 100, two comedies from the late Harold Ramis. (Harold Allen Ramis (November 21, 1944 - February 24, 2014) was an American actor, director, and writer specializing in comedy. His best-known film acting roles are as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters (1984) and Russell Ziskey in Stripes (1981); he also co-wrote both films. As a writer-director, his films include the comedies Caddyshack (1980), National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Groundhog Day (1993) and Analyze This (1999). Ramis was the original head writer of the television series SCTV, on which he also performed, and one of three screenwriters for the film National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) And he worked on all nine seasons of The X-Files! Thanks Dean Ujihara for these DVD mentions!

Philosophy for March

The two Philosophy bookcases are arranged so that the left one is primarily about specific philosophers, their works and commentaries on their works, whereas the right is more to do with philosophical topics, historical overviews and schools of thought. The selection of books relating to ethics continues to grow and this month we have a shelf and a half dedicated to it.

All recent arrivals are in the right bookcase and include: Visions of the Future - Heilbroner, Diderot - The Testing Years - Wilson, Confessions of a Philosopher - Magee, Consilience - Wilson, Alternative Modernity - Feenberg, and Self Expression - Flanagan.

A selection related to China is on the bottom left shelf. -Nigel Jones

Music Books for March

Some highlights in this month's Music and Dance section --

Music for the Joy of It by Stephanie Judy
Social Dance: Steps to Success by Judy Patterson Wright
Music I-LXXIV by August Kleinzahler
My Song: A Memoir of Art, Race, and Defiance by Harry Belafonte
Lambs' Tales from Great Operas by Donald Elliott and illustrated by Clinton Arrowood
The Symphony: A Listener's Guide by Michael Steinberg
Dave Tarras: The King of Klezmer by Yale Strom
Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs by Leonard Cohen
From Africa to Afrocentric Innovations Some Call "Jazz" by Harlton Hester (4 volume set)
Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes by Greil Marcus
-Charlotte Epstein

Greeting Cards

Added to the normal categories of cards this month are April Fool's Day cards. In addition, Passover cards and Easter cards are also out this month for your early shopping. We greatly appreciate greeting card donors - commercial cards are especially appreciated. -Marda Buchholz

Book Sets

If you have empty bookshelves, come see what is offered in Sets on aisle 6.

Modern Eloquence (1900) in 10 volumes for $50.
Outline of Science (1932) in 4 volumes for $35.
Smithsonian Series (1944) in 12 volumes for $40.
Book of Knowledge - The Children's Encyclopedia (1918) in 20 volumes for $40.
World's Best Orations (1900) in 10 volumes for $20.
The Old West (1946) in more than 20 volumes, volumes available separately at $2.00 per volume.

Science Fiction and Fantasy

In addition to the usual in the Science Fiction and Fantasy section, we have special collections of Isaac Asimov, his Foundation series and more; Anne McCaffrey, her Pern books and lots more; Stephen Brust, mostly Dragherian; and a diverse shelf of fantasy romances. -Rich McAllister

Humor for March

Humor in March has three bookcases.

The right hand bookcase is where most of the new arrivals are found. These include Foxworthy's Redneck Dictionary, Blount's Be Sweet, Fey's Bossy Pants, the Oxford Dictionary of Humor, and that modern masterpiece, Fawlty Towers. Two highlights still available: Gavin & Stacey, where England meets Wales and love conquers all as its occurring, and Bill Gates' Secret Laptop.

Top left of the middle bookcase: signed books, including Adams, Buchwald, Humburg, Bartnikowski and maybe Shaffer, I think yes, but maybe not.

Top left of the middle bookcase: various books laughing at or with Presidents, especially the ever-popular George W. Bush, and poems by R. M. Nixon.

Left bookcase: whatever did not fit in the other two....

Don't forget the Bargain Room, which is whatever did not fit in three bookcases and 99% of all cartoons. -Nigel Jones

Art & Architecture

As usual, many treasures wait on the overflowing Featured Art and Architecture shelves. All in perfect or new condition at bargain prices. Be sure to look for: Joseph Bueys Drawings, Peter Voulkos, Bill Holm's Spirit and Ancestor, Sherman Lee's The Genius of Japanese Design and The Elegant Japanese House. Bring a LARGE, STURDY bag. Enjoy- Mary Smith

Home & Craft

A wonderful soul donated a marvelous collection of woodworking books that now fill the "feature of the month" shelf in Home & Craft. Thank you Thank you. You have no idea how very much we appreciate all of you who take the time and effort to donate. Although Home & Craft is a non-fiction section, this month I have 6 novels with Quilting as the subject. So please stop by. Prepare for the ides of March with a good craft book to keep you safely at home. -Nancy Welch


The bookshelves are getting full. Don't be put off by isolated books. Many good books are placed in isolated spots because no related items are available. Search around. -Robert Jackson


The computer section has a good selection of books on Mathematica and Matlab this month. -Jerry Stone

Health & Medicine

The Health Section has a large and interesting new collection of Asian Medicine books, and a number of fascinating and very attractive ones about Reiki (a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.) And books on Parkinson's Disease and other chronic illnesses are plentiful. And you'll see lots of brand new books on all of our shelves this month. -Verne & Ed Rice

Children's Room - Arushi's Recommendations

The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson is a novel about an island where magical creatures like feys, ogres, mermaids, and many more live alongside humans. But when the prince of the island is kidnapped by Mrs. Trottle and taken to the human world through a magical portal that opens only for nine days every nine years, a search group is sent out to find him. The Secret of Platform 13 is about the adventures the band of misfit rescuers have while finding the prince, who might not be who you expect he is.

The City of Ember is the story of two children who try and find a way out of Ember, the city that was built 200 years ago by the Builders. But the city is dying. The lights that illuminate Ember are failing, crops are not able to sustain themselves, and corruption is spreading. Lina and Doon find an ancient parchment and suspect that there may be a way out of Ember, but who will listen to the word of two children who barely know what they are doing?

Homecoming is the first book in the celebrated Tillerman cycle. It's a heartwarming story of four children, led by 13-year-old Dicey, who seek a home with their great-aunt in Bridgeport when their mother abandons them at the market. Homecoming is about how they make friends as well as enemies as they make their way to Bridgeport. But what if the home in Bridgeport is not what the comforting haven they were hoping to find? The Tillermans must find the courage to continue on their journey through the convoluted pathways of their family. -Arushi Sinha

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