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If you are fortunate, no matter how much space you place between tables, you will not have enough room for people to move. However, when you begin, you do want to make sure that you have room between tables so at least two people can move comfortably in the aisles. Ideally, and for most efficiency, tables should be placed approximately three feet apart.

The placement of the tables, whether one, two, or more adjacent to each other depends on the size of your room. However, you do want to allow for a break between tables in the form of an aisle so people can move up and down with some degree of comfort. Then it is important to determine placement of categories for each table. There is definitely a science to deciding on how best to utilize space depending on the number of boxes in each category. The book has been written, but the science remains somewhat inexact. Generally, it is beneficial to place related categories together on a table, for example, self-help, diet and exercise, and medicine might be grouped together. Similarly, all religion, books on death and dying, and philosophy might also be grouped together. After you have set up your tables and placed your signs, you can begin bringing your books to their respective tables.


Space is finite, and if you are fortunate to have many, many books for your sale, you are going to look for the best way to display these books. Many book sales use a double-tiered system that involves the use of milk crates and six-foot x 12”x ¾ inch boards on six foot tables. The milk crates are placed on the back of the tables with the boards on top providing a second shelf for book display. Books can, of course, be stored under the tables, but it is more difficult to see these books and the double-tiered system does allow for the best access.


As stated before, and as you will quickly find out, books are heavy. If you place your biggest, heaviest books on the top tier, the milk cartons will bend and eventually collapse. You can display some of your more desirable books here; just be sure to balance the weight. It may seem unnecessary advice, but sometimes you may not realize the amount of weight you have put on that first tier until you see the milk carton slowly begin to bow.


As books are unpacked, all should be facing in the same direction and all should be as accessible as possible to the potential buyer. Whether you use a double tiered system or not, there is often an overflow of books. Your hardcover, most desirable books should be placed on your tables, and the small paperbacks should be placed in flats under the table. You can always place the flats on a low box to raise them and provide better visibility and access.

In the course of unpacking, you may sometimes find a better table arrangement than the one you originally planned. Change whatever you wish before your create your maps, create your maps, print them, and if more change is necessary, make it the next time.

Extra boxes can be placed under the table for use by your patrons.

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