There was no doubt it was a cookbook. I could tell by the pictures. The language, though, was in doubt. We eliminated Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean and were pretty sure it wasn’t Arabic. Our best guess was that it was a southeast Asian language, either Thai, Laotian, or Vietnamese. I was making a trip near a Thai restaurant, so I took the book with me to show to someone there. The server who greeted me summoned a cook. She looked at the book and said, “Oh, this is Thai country cooking.” I had eaten at an upscale Thai restaurant once (thanks to my employer’s conference funding) and noted the French titles in the menu listings. So, I assumed she meant that this cook book did not show the French influence. She asked me “How much do you want for it?”. (Of course, the reason I was there was that I did not know what it was worth.) So, I asked, what will you offer? She said, “Ten dollars.” I said, “You can have it for that.” Then explained why I was selling the book: to support Mennonite Central Committee that provided disaster relief and development assistance to many countries. This is done in Harrisonburg, VA through Gift & Thrift and Booksavers of Virginia. Several years later another Thai cookbook was donated to Booksavers. Yes, the same cook bought that one as well. A second cookbook that almost got sent to recycling was saved for another use.
Saving non-Biblical information
Someone donated a well-used Bible to Booksavers. The King James Bible was an older one, probably nineteenth century. Ordinarily a volume in that condition would be sent to recycling, plus, it did not have a title page. We should send it to recycling. But, someone noticed that the clippings, notes and a filled-out Family Information page in the Bible had local information. So, the manager took the Bible to our silent auction division. I do not remember the final bid on the Bible, but we saved the volume from recycling because someone wanted the local news and genealogical information in the Bible.
Box better than the game?
How a item looks can be very important, though. Sometimes looks are more important than the contents. A number of computer games had been donated to Booksavers. Neither I nor any of the pricers knew much about the games and Amazon was not much help. A young man at my church was interested in computer games, so I asked him to review the games. He found enough information on several of them to post the games on Amazon. One, “Casper the friendly ghost”, he told me was a terrible game. However, there were very few copies of the game of this older game still available and our box was in excellent shape, so it was of sufficient value to list on Amazon. (This was long enough ago that I do not remember the details of sales.)
A beautiful Bible
A beautiful, oversized leather-bound Luther Bible, probably from the eighteenth century sat on the shelf. It had been there for months maybe longer. The cover was in unusually good shape for the age of the book. The problem was that the title page was missing. There are enough Luther Bibles out there that some of them are not worth much. Knowing the date and publisher and perhaps the edition name could make the difference between a fifteen-dollar volume and a fifty or one-hundred-and-fifty-dollar volume. One day a young man came to the store and wanted an unusual gift for his fiancé. The manager thought for a while and looked at the top shelf where the Luther Bible sat. He said he had an old Bible that could be worth ninety dollars. Would he be interested? The problem was the Bible did not have a title page. He said that was not a problem. How the book looked was the important thing for his fiancé. Problem book sold!