Bega Rotary reports record numbers at the 2018 summer book fair

BOOK WORMS: There was no shortage of books to browse at the Bega Rotary book fair, which saw record numbers of visitors on Friday and Sunday.
BOOK WORMS: There was no shortage of books to browse at the Bega Rotary book fair, which saw record numbers of visitors on Friday and Sunday.

The Bega Rotary book fair moved a record number of books over the weekend for their annual summer event. 

Bega Rotary’s Charlie Blomfield estimated over 20,000 books went through the doors of the Bega Showground pavilion.

“Friday was certainly the biggest day we’ve ever seen,” Mr Blomfield said.

“Saturday was a little quieter than we expected, it really dropped off in the afternoon because of the heat.

“But we made up for it on Sunday, which was one of the busiest last days we’ve ever seen at the fair, it really took us by surprise just how many people turned up.”

While there was an increase in the amount of people visiting the book fair - and the amount of books they took home with them - Mr Blomfield said takings were slightly down this summer because more books were given away for free. 

“Our main focus is making more books available to the community, increasing access to reading for everyone by providing quality secondhand books” he said.  

“I’m hesitant to say that we necessarily sold 20,000 books, because a lot given away for free.”

Children at the book fair could take up to 10 free children’s books, an initiative started six months ago at the winter book fair to encourage early reading habits. 

Over the course of the weekend, Rotary chose other genres to give away for free.

“On Saturday we opened up the non-fiction section, so gardening and cooking books were all free, and on Sunday we extended this to sport and lifestyle too,” Mr Blomfield said. 

“It means our visitors got something different everyday in terms of benefits or bonuses they could take home over the weekend, there really was something for everyone.”

Mr Blomfield said that providing free books didn’t negatively impact Rotary’s income over the course of the weekend. 

“Even when people picked up freebies they still made donations to Rotary, giving us a $20 note even if their total was far less,” he said. 

Funds from the book fair are contributed to Rotary projects including science and engineering scholarships, RYDA driver lessons, local facility upgrades and supporting volunteer groups.