Teachers poised to pounce as Bookstock opens

Neal Rubin
The Detroit News
Student Alex Danish, 18, works with instructor Dawn Raymond of Brightmont Academy, using materials she has purchased from Bookstock in Livonia.

Dawn Raymond of Farmington Hills says she's a book hoarder at heart. She's also a book sharer, and a teacher.

If there's a better place for her than Bookstock, it has angels — and the angels are handing out free bestsellers.

Formally known as the Bookstock Used Book and Media Sale, Bookstock kicks off Sunday and runs through April 14 at Laurel Park Place in Livonia. Entering its 17th year, Michigan's largest used book bazaar has raised more than $2 million for literacy and education projects in Metro Detroit and beyond.

It involves 300,000 books, audio books, CDs, DVDs and vinyl records, sorted and laid out end to end in the shopping center on Six Mile east of Interstate 275. 

Some of the books purchased by instructor Dawn Raymond from Bookstock.  Student Alex Danish, 18 works with instructor Dawn Raymond of Brightmont Academy, using materials she has purchased from Bookstock in Livonia, a resource for teachers for used books and materials, in Birmingham, Michigan on March 21, 2019.

Standard paperbacks are $1, trade paperbacks and most hardcovers are $3, newer hardbounds are $4, and Raymond has been looking forward to pouncing on them for months. She even has a Bookstock flier taped to her door at the innovative Brightmont Academy in Birmingham.

I should point out at this point that I've been an honorary chair of Bookstock for more than a decade and a book lover since before kindergarten, so I'm not exactly neutral here. I should also point out that Bookstock loves teachers, and teachers love us back.

It only makes sense. We're both in the literacy business. Detroit Public Schools Community District Deputy Superintendent Alcyia Meriwether is our honorary chancellor, and we even have something called Teacher Appreciation Day, where teachers with a school ID get 50% off — except that this year we have two of them, from 3-9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

Among the half-price treasures Raymond, 49, staggered out with last year were new math books, packaged with workbooks; middle school literature; Spanish and AP history flash cards; and a bevy of biographies.

"I like to get them off the computer a little bit," she says of the middle- and high-schoolers she teaches one on one. "If they have a good reading level, you want to push them."

Lori Jennings takes a similar approach at Davison Elementary-Middle School in Detroit. The biggest difference is that Raymond walked out last year with one bulging sack of books, and Jennings had five.

Matching students' specific interests as she shops, "You kind of steer them to what they need," Jennings says. "You stretch them."

Jennings, 53, teaches fourth grade. One of her students last year, DaiAna Glover, won the annual Bookstock B.E.S.T. essay contest, which comes with a cash prize and the right to jump up and down in spontaneous glee. 

That award is given Tuesday evening. Other special events abound and are listed at, starting with the Sunday morning pre-sale. It's $20 to beat the crowds from 8:15 a.m. until the mall opens at 11, but if you're planning to stay up late Saturday savoring Michigan State basketball, no worries: With 300,000 items, we're setting out fresh merchandise every day.

April 13 is Cookstock, with all cookbooks half price. Bookbuster Days are 3-9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, with every fourth item free.

Spend at least $25 during Bookbuster and you'll be entered into a drawing for Detroit Tigers or Detroit Grand Prix tickets, or a figure skate signed by Olympic gold medalist Meryl Davis.

Plus, you'll own more books.

E-readers are great. Books are different. 

"Nowadays, we don't feel a book. We don't touch it," Jennings says. 

If you read from your phone or your tablet, the words are competing with distractions. If you have a book, all you're doing is reading — and that's a splendid thing.

Twitter: @nealrubin_dn