Bill Parker of DMS Moving Systems supervised the crew taking the books to Bookstock '09. (Neal Rubin / The Detroit News)
Bill Parker brought the big rig because he wanted to take all the cartons in one trip.
All the cartons that were left, anyway. A third of the books, records, DVDs and other treasures for Bookstock '09 had already been hauled to Laurel Park Place in Livonia. But there were still thousands of boxes, stacked as much as six high and five deep in a 20-by-90-foot warehouse in Birmingham.
The organizers of the Bookstock '09 Used Book & Media Sale, launching Sunday and running through May 3, stopped trying to count the merchandise a few charity mega-sales ago. All they know is that there's tons of it -- too much to be left to amateurs to carry.
Parker, 45, of Van Buren Township was supervising a crew of six from DMS Moving Systems in Canton -- or seven, including himself. At this point, he's not supposed to be lugging sets of encyclopedias, "but I can't stand just watching other people work."
As the son of two teachers, the ex-husband of another and a fan of words and history, he had cut Bookstock a sizeable break on the price of the move. "I told my bosses, 'Listen, they're doing a good thing here.' "
Standing in the morning chill last week behind a strip mall on Telegraph Road, he prepped for the job by swigging a powdered diet drink. The 20-year-olds on his team drank Mountain Dew. At 8:18, the warehouse door opened, and the contest began: books vs. truck.
Would a semi be enough?
Seven years and $350,000
My money was on the books. When you can see 11 cartons of Russian-language romance novels -- plus, oddly, a Russian biography of Sophia Loren -- you know the volume of the volumes will be vast.
As an honorary co-chairman of Bookstock, I'm bullish on bulk. In seven years, a project that began with a small cluster of women from Oakland County has raised $350,000 for literacy and education programs.
With the economy teetering like a 30-foot stack of National Geographics -- magazines, by the way, are only 25 cents -- the timing has never been better for a huge pool of cheap reading, listening and viewing materials.
"We're not competition for bookstores," says Roz Blanck of West Bloomfield, who first mustered a few friends to put on a sale. "We're only here a week. But if you buy one of Jodi Picoult's novels and you like it, maybe you'll go to a bookstore and buy another."
Early sale on Sunday morning
By 8:47, Parker was congratulating himself on his foresight. "Now you see why I brought a large crew," he said. Pushing a flotilla of small dollies, they were filling the trailer front to back, separating the categories with packing tape -- travel, science fiction, government, biography. In history, Parker's passion, there were 98 cartons.
By 9:06, driver Mark LeSage of Westland was starting to worry. "What do you think?" he asked. "Are we going to get them all on this truck without blowing a tire?"
Volunteers would be waiting at the other end to supervise the unloading. Schostak Brothers & Co., owner of both Laurel Park Place and the warehouse, had provided three rooms at the mall for staging.
Set-up begins Saturday evening and runs until just before the pre-sale from 8:45-11:45 a.m. Sunday. There's a $10 fee to join the dealers and collectors who start lining up by 7; otherwise, from noon through the following Sunday, admission is free.
By 9:24, Parker had called for help. Sofas may be heavy, but cartons of books are relentless.
Like Bookstock, another truck was on its way.
Bookstock Bucks can save buyers cash, or they can find deals at the May 3 ...
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