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Westport Book Fair brings thousands of books at discount prices



Photo by Kevin Lee

It is that time of year again to choose from thousands of books at discount prices at a book fair that has been around for over fifty years.

On Saturday, July 7, The Westport Friends are hoping to fill their benches. Not with their usual worshippers, but with over 30,000 gently-used books for sale. The Westport Friends’ Book Fair serves as the main fundraising event of the Westport Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and will take place on their grounds at 938 Main Road in Westport.

Over the past fifty-seven years, the Westport Friends’ Book Fair has become a summer tradition on the South Coast with visitors traveling from all over Massachusetts, and even the country, to attend this record-breaking sale. Generations of families share in the delight of discovering lost literary gems at bargain-basement prices. Gretchen Baker-Smith, Property Coordinator for the Westport Friends and member since 1989, calls the Book Fair, ” A labor of love” for the local community. “I enjoy seeing how passionate people get when they find an unusual book on a subject they love…It really makes my day.”

After so many decades, it is understandable that many myths and traditions surround the Westport Friends’ Book Fair. It is rumored that, in the early years, one book-browser discovered a first edition of Moby Dick which sold for fifty-cents. Traditions include the honorary “Blowing of the Whistle” to signal the official opening of the book sale, and the annual night-before-book-sale “Chopping of the Tabbouleh” which is sold to the public every year on opening day (along with other luncheon items).

The Book Fair officially opens at 11:00 a.m. but the 6-for-a-dollar paperbacks can be purchased starting at 10:00 a.m. with the children’s book section opening exclusively for kids at 10:45 a.m. Rain or shine, the Book Fair will continue through Sunday, July 15 and will be open from 9:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. Prices range from one dollar to five dollars a book with the average cost being $1.50. Light lunch, snacks, and beverages will be sold on the opening day of the sale. Book donations are accepted throughout the year.

For more information please call Greg Marsello, Book Fair Steering Committee Clerk, at 401-624-9840 or visit

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