Concordia’s epic book fair

From Nov. 4-5, the 22nd edition of the annual book fair is taking over Concordia’s EV building

Whoever said that people don’t read anymore might want to stop at Concordia’s epic book fair for a reality check.

The two-day sale has been a successful tradition. For over 20 years, it has attracted students looking for their textbooks to save money, but also staff members and even non-Concordians looking to find a treasure.

Luke Quin, writer and coordinator for the fundraising book fair.

“It seems like for young people, though they utilize technology or listen to audiobooks, there is still an appeal for hard book,” said Luke Quin, writer and coordinator for the fundraising book fair. “Especially when it comes to older books, earlier edition, things that might not be accessible on Amazon.”

Quin explained that the idea behind having thousands of books on display at a low rate is to collect funds for scholarships, but also for the Student Emergency and Food fund. This particular fund is intended for any students in immediate financial need, to provide them with gift cards for groceries.

Books donations are made all year round, often from professors and retirees who are emptying out their offices, Quin said. While people might expect it to contain only academic novels, there are also entire sections dedicated to children’s books, sport, fiction or even good old romance.

“I came last year, so I am coming back to try and find anything interesting,” said Nazim Ben, a Concordia student in the Finance Department. “I am just curious for anything that is cool!”

Indeed, patience is needed to browse through the multiple sections. Susan Hawke, a retiree who has volunteered at the fair since its second edition, remembers how it started simply with two or three tables in the Hall building.

“It was always my fear, for a long time, that people would stop reading or [stop wanting to read in book format], but it always seems to be the reverse,” Hawke said.

If you’re measuring success in terms of money, the event has been prosperous, managing to increase the number of donations over the years. The Advancement and Alumni Relations reported that the 2018 edition raised over $31,000, a record for the event.

But for Quin and the volunteers, it’s also successful as it takes used books that might have ended up in the garbage and offers them to students instead.

“People that go through the cash register, they go with a stranger’s book that is falling apart or some old fiction book that was selling for 25 cents,” Hawke said. “You never know what appeals to people, it’s quite fun, matching people and books.”


Feature photo by Jad Abukasm

Student Life

Concordia’s annual used book fair is set to be EPIC

Books for a cause

For those who prefer books with yellowed pages and broken spines, mark your calendars for Concordia’s annual Epic Used Book Fair, which takes place in the EV building atrium on Oct. 29 and 30. The sale is perfect for uncovering rare literary finds at accessible prices, and it supports Concordia’s student body and the wider community.

Event coordinator Luke Quin believes that selling secondhand books has the ability to enrich the lives of students by not only raising money towards scholarships, but also by repurposing ideas. “It’s entrepreneurial, but socially driven,” Quin said. “We’re raising money and providing a new home for books that would probably end up in the garbage.”

The event, hosted by Concordia Alumni, raised $25,000 last year, and Quin has even higher hopes for this year. “With support from Concordia and the community, the event has only gotten bigger.” The money raised is funneled into two or three direct scholarships, as well as an endowment that ensures there will always be a Used Book Fair scholarship available. Another portion of the money goes towards the Multi-faith and Spirituality Centre’s Student Emergency and Food fund, which gives grocery cards to students in need.

Encore books and records is a hole-in-the-wall store on Sherbrooke St. W. that sells books, both used and new, records and other collectibles. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

“We’re also giving experiential opportunities for the volunteers, a lot of which are international students looking to engage and network,” Quin said. “We’ve really built an event that is students helping students.” He said the great location in the EV building atrium gives the sale a lot of traffic potential from shoppers passing by on Saint-Catherine St., as well as students. The books are priced at $3 and up, and will be sorted by subject, so there is sure to be something for everyone.

Many of the donated books come from professors and students, past and present, but Quin said that more and more donations are coming from outside the university. “Many smaller charity organizations don’t accept books because they’re cumbersome and difficult to sort through,” he said.

Donations for the Epic Used Book Fair are accepted year-round. For those who have large donations, boxes of books labeled “Concordia Used Book Fair” can be dropped off at the receiving dock of the Hall building downtown, or at the receiving dock of the Richard J. Renaud Science Complex on the Loyola campus. If you have a few old textbooks or a smaller amount to donate, there is a pink book bin on the Hall building mezzanine at the bottom of the escalator.

For more information on the book fair, follow the Concordia Epic Used Book Fair on Facebook. The event already has over 7,000 RSVPs, so go early to get the best pick. The sale runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. both Monday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Oct. 30. There is also a pre-sale on Sunday Oct. 28 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. with a $5 entrance fee. Stop by and see what you can find!

Feature image by Alex Hutchins.

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