Q: Why do you call it the "Dock Sale"
It's called the "dock sale" because it literally takes place on our building's loading dock. During the week that's where freight deliveries enter and exit the building. On the weekend it's a convenient and secure open space for our needs. Yes, we know it's probably *too* small a space...We set up outside when the weather permits.
Q: What books do you have at the sale?
Most of the books on sale are titles published by the MIT Press. They come from our warehouse in Rhode Island after collecting too much dust, or after spending time on the shelves at bookstores around the country. Many of them show signs of shelf-wear such as scratched covers and dented corners, and as such, can't be resold as new books. That's where the dock sale comes in.
The sale books that are from other publishers are mostly overstocks. We hunt around for interesting books at clearance prices and make them available to you at a big markdown.
Q: Where is the sale?
The sale takes place on our building's loading dock, which is located behind the bookstore. Just enter at 292 Main Street and follow the signs to the back of the building. We often have a sale in the bookstore too to correspond with the dock sale, but the big bargains are on the loading dock. If the weather is nice, we may even be set up outside!
Q: Why do we have to check our bags?
We're not worried about anyone stealing. Our main concern is the crowding. It can be difficult to move around easily at the sale. This would only be made more difficult if we let everyone in wearing backpacks and carrying shopping bags. The back check table is staffed at all times. We've never lost a bag. If the sale is held outside we have a lot more space so we don't bother holding bags.
Q: How does the pricing work?
Each MIT Press book at the sale is marked on the page edge with a colored marker. The color corresponds to a price:
- Red = $10.00
- Blue = $7.00
- Green = $5.00
- Purple = $3.00
Books from other publishers have a more conventional price sticker on the cover and are priced as marked. Books with price stickers are taxable.
MIT Press journal backissues at the sale are striped with a black marker and are priced at $1.00 each.
Q: What is the deal with the book dealers?
Internet tools have made it easier for people to make a living reselling used books online. As you might expect, people whose living depends on finding used books with profit potential tend to behave a bit more competitively at sales like ours. We've received lots of complaints from our regular customers about this behavior and have taken the extra step to make Saturday a "dealer-free" day. There are purchasing limits in place on Saturday, and a ban on book scanning devices. There are still plenty of great books to find on Sunday though, and Sunday afternoon tends to be the calmest part of the weekend sale.
Q: Will you have book "X" at the sale?
Unfortunately we really can't predict what books we'll have at the sale. If it's less than a year old, we definitely will *not* have it, but beyond that we have no effective way of knowing.
Q: Can you help me find book "X" at the sale?
The sale is a book browser's dream...but not so much so if you prefer organization. Because of the high volume we simply don't have time to put the books in sections or to alphabetize them. This obviously makes finding particular books difficult. I'm sorry to say we probably won't be able to help you hunt for the books you want, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to find them yourself...It does work!
Q: What do you do with the books left over after the sale?
Many of them will end up in our sale book sections in the bookstore. The rest will go into storage and make an appearance at the next book sale. We don't take bids or sell-off the leftovers in bulk.