Tampering with Tradition: The Regent Booksale On the Move

First Scribes Bookshop closing… now changes are afoot with the famous Regent Booksale. Clearly, second-hand book purchases in Dunedin will never be the same again.

I have written before about my annual midnight visit to the Regent Theatre, to check out their stock of donated books. Well, the Booksale was cancelled in 2020, for obvious reasons, and now in 2021, the sheer number of books involved has provoked a change. The 2021 Booksale will be held in December, across town at the Edgar Centre. And rather than 24 hours straight, it will be split into 12 hours on one day, and 12 on the next:


My feelings on this are mixed. The Regent Theatre is indeed rather cramped during the Booksale (as a certain poem of mine has pointed out), and it isn’t the most convenient location. The Edgar Centre is closer to where I live, and much bigger. On the other hand, one can simply park a couple of blocks away at the Countdown supermarket carpark, and then walk over to the Regent Theatre… so I was happy enough with the old location.

My biggest objection to these changes is actually the timing. There is a reason I go to the Booksale at 2-4 a.m.. It’s because that is when you have the place to yourself, rather than forcing your way through crowds. In the early hours, it’s so gloriously quiet… just you and the books. And the staff, who appreciate having someone to talk to. Under the new system, it will be crowds all day, without the atmosphere of the nocturnal. And that’s just wrong.

(Besides, won’t someone think of the vampires?).

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