The Elora Festival
136 Metcalfe St. Elora ON N0B 1S0
Contact: 519-846-0331 or

Book Sale

Elora Festival Book Sale May 2014

Year-Round Drop Off Location:

Elora Festival Book Sorting Depot
380 St. Andrew Street West, Fergus ON

Drop “Box” (Shed/Wardrobe) is located on Maiden Lane on the West side of Exphairtese Salon and Spa and Cherry Hill Video. Please do not drop off books at our main office in downtown Elora.

The drop box is emptied daily, sometimes more than once. If you would like to coordinate a drop-off with our volunteers present to receive the donation, they are there on Mondays between 9:30 and 12 (some exceptions around holidays).

Request a Pickup:

We understand that people move or downsize, may not be able to pack and deliver the books themselves, or are looking to donate a loved one’s books/records/ephemera/etc. Our volunteers assist as necessary in making your donation process as stress-free as possible. Please email or call our office 519-846-0331  ext. 87418 to request details or to leave a message to arrange a time.

Christmas Mini Book Sale 2016

Gently read adult and children’s hard and soft-cover fiction as well as materials on a Christmas theme; free admission and parking. All books $1.00 and up.

Friday, November 18, 2016, from 3 p.m.  –  8 p.m.
Saturday, November 19, 2016, from 10 a.m.  –  2 p.m. 

Elora Festival and Singers Book Depot: 380 St. Andrews Street, Fergus (side entrance)

29th Annual Giant Book Sale 2017

Always the first full weekend in May! Over 60,000 used books, games, LPs, CDs, DVDs, sheet music and posters; $5.00 adult admission on Friday night with a voucher redeemable in books on Sunday afternoon; free admission on Saturday and Sunday. Free parking all weekend.

Friday, May 5th, from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Saturday, May 6th, from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 7th, from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Location: Elora Curling Club- David Street West, Elora

Over 20 dedicated volunteers work year-round to sort, organise, and price the 60,000 books for our annual giant sale. This gently-used-book sale is one of the largest in Ontario and draws people in from far and wide. There are no restrictions on the number of books you can purchase, and with over 40 different categories there’s sure to be something for you! All the proceeds of this charitable fundraiser go to the Elora Festival and Singers (Elora Festival charitable# 11926 3945 RR0001 — The Elora Singers charitable# 1350 7824 RR0001).
Donate to the Elora Festival now via Canada Helps

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the EFS book volunteers?
Where do the 70,000+ books come from?
Can books be donated for the book sale fundraisers? Where do I take them? When does the Book Depot accept books?
What type of book can be donated?
What organisations help the EFS book volunteers operate the Book Depot and the book sales?
How many sales are there in a year?
How are materials priced?
What types of material are set out for each of the sales?
There are so many books at the May sale; how can I find what I want?
What should I bring to the sales?
What happens with books that are not sold at the sales?
What method of payment can I use at the four book sales?
Why is there a $5.00 admission fee on the first Friday of the May sale?
Who comes to the book sale(s)?
How do people hear about the sale?
Who will answer other questions about the book sales or book donations?

Who are the EFS book volunteers?

Volunteers are book lovers and supporters of the Elora Festival and Singers. There are about 25 regular volunteers who work on book intake, book sorting and pricing, book packing and storing and waste recycling. This team works every Monday morning from 9:30 till 12:00 o’clock. If there are many books to price, they’ll return on Monday afternoon, and on Thursday morning to catch up.

For the annual sale in May, many more eager EFS supporters join the team, volunteering to set up the arena, to greet buyers, to complete book tallies, to hand out flyers, to re-organize book displays, to feed the volunteers, to answer questions, to survey customers, and to clean up the space.

All these volunteers know the value of the Elora Festival and Singers and realise that the profits of the book sale fundraisers help to maintain a vibrant arts community in Centre Wellington.

Where do the 70,000+ books come from?

Wellington County residents donate thousands of books as they buy new ones or recycle their stocks. Books also are donated from farther afield, from places such as Oshawa, Kitchener, Guelph, Hamilton, and Toronto. As more and more people come to the book sales, more and more books appear at the Book Depot in Fergus. Volunteers monitor the donations and empty the book storage box every day, all year.

Can books be donated for the book sale fundraisers? Where do I take them? When does the Book Depot accept books?

The Book Depot at 380 St. Andrew St. W. In Fergus (side entrance) has a small book shed outside the door.

you can put well-boxed or bagged books in the shed anytime day or night, seven days a week. We ask that boxes be manageable in size.

If you have a large number of boxes that will not fit in a small shed, or do not have a way to transport a large donation, someone may be able to pick them up. Please contact the EFS Office at 519-846-0331 of 1-888-747-7550 to see if an arrangement can be made with volunteer drivers.

We hope that you’ll bring in your books before April 20th each year, since volunteers are busy preparing for the May sale and cleaning the Book Depot after it. By mid-May, volunteers are again ready to receive your book donations.

What kind of book can be donated?

We ask that you only donate books that are clean and in good condition. Please carefully select the books you donate and discard or re-cycle the rest yourself so that volunteers do not have to bear large waste disposal costs.

We accept the following items: hard and soft cover books in good condition; CDs and DVDs; sheet music and vinyl records (33, 45, 78); ephemera; art/culture, gardening and craft magazines; and early materials that might interest a book dealer, such as pre 1960 National Geographic magazines, pre 1930 textbooks, or pre 1950 encyclopedias, onion skin editions or full sets.

We do not accept the following materials: post 1950 encyclopedias (see above); post 1960 National Geographic Magazines; post 1930 textbooks; Readers Digest condensed books; discarded library books (except mystery/adventure in dust covers); VHS or cassette tapes; weekly magazines such as McLeans, or Readers Digest; travel guides or Guiness World records older than 5 years, or harlequin romances.

What organisations help the EFS book volunteers operate the Book Depot and book sales?

We thank our many generous supporters; the Elora Curling Club; Freshco; The Elora United Church; Rona; Portage Academy; De Boer’s Farm Equipment; Vanier Centre in Milton, Eric Van Grootheest of Royal LePage; Better World Books; St. John Ambulance; Centre Wellington Fair Trade Working Group

How many sales are there in a year?

In most years, if volunteers can manage it, there are three sales: a Christmas sale, a spring sale and the giant May sale. You will find the date, location and contents of each sale on this website. As well, if you live in Wellington County and surrounding areas, watch for posters in the community, such as at the local library or Information Centre.

How are materials priced?

Each item is priced by a volunteer according to its condition, its popularity, and possibly the number of items of its type or title. Volunteers attempt to be consistent with pricing items, working with new volunteers as they join the team. Books are priced reasonably for quick sale. Books in poor condition are discarded; hard covers are removed and the pulp/paper is sold by the tonne to a paper recycler.

Rarer books are researched and priced according to their value and set out in a separate section called “Collector’s Corner” at the May sale.

What kind of material are set out for each of the sales?

At the children’s sale at the Elora United Church, items are in good condition and priced form 50c to $5.00. Admission and parking are free.

At the Christmas sale at the Book Depot, volunteers display gently read adult hardcover fiction, paperbacks and books on a Christmas theme. This sale includes a very large variety of reasonably priced materials for tots to teens: paper back and hardcover fiction, fun and games, general knowledge books, comics, CDs and DVDs. Admission and parking are free.

At the March sale at the Book Depot, volunteers set out a few thousand books from the largest stocks: hardcover fiction and paperbacks. Books are in good condition and reasonably priced; admission and parking are free.

The annual giant spring sale is held on the first weekend in May at the Elora Curling Club. Volunteers set out over 70,000 adult and children’s books of all genres as well as games, CDs, DVDs and ephemera. All books are reasonably priced, with prices determined by condition and value.

There are so many books at the May sale; how can I find what I want?

Because there are over 70,000 items at the May sale at the Elora Curling Club, the tables of books are carefully labelled. Buyers can locate a section by referring to the large signs on the tables and by using the floor plans that are provided at the sale and posted on the walls.

Customers can take their time browsing materials in over 50 categories, choosing from Music, Art, Gardening, Politics, Paperbacks, Hardcover Fiction, CanLit, Classics, Crafts, History, Science, Cookbooks, Hobbies, Health, Poetry, Travel and many more. Visit the children’s section, Collector’s Corner and the new section called “Staff Picks.”

What should I bring to the sale?

Since you’ll probably find many treasures, it’s a good idea to bring a strong bag or box. Some are available at the sale if you forget. If you need help carrying a large number of books to your vehicle, you can ask a volunteer to help you.

What happens to books that are not sold at the sales?

Books at the fall Children’s sale and the Christmas sale are re-boxed for sales that will occur later in the year.

Since there is no place to store unsold books after the May sale, books are given freely to some local charities that promote literacy. Some are shipped overseas for use in underprivileged schools. In May 2014, generous people dropped enough money into the jars at the exit door to pay for the shipping of boxed books abroad.

The remaining books are donated to an organisation that will accept and use them. For example, in May 2013 and 2014, World Books sold some valuable books online and donated the remainder to build libraries and provide literacy resources to schools in Haiti, South East Asia, Mexico and Central America.

What method of payment can I use at the four book sales?

Since we are a volunteer organisation and set up the Elora Curling Club for only a few days, we ask customers to pay with cash or cheque. There are banks and ATMs in Fergus and Elora.

Why is there a $5.00 admission fee on the first Friday of the May sale?
EFS volunteers expressed concern that the first night of the May sale was overly crowded; for this reason, a $5.00 admission fee was introduced for Friday night to spread the crowd over a three-day sale. Customers who pay the Friday admission fee receive a $5.00 voucher, a credit of $5.00 towards books purchased on Sunday afternoon.

Who comes to the book sale(s)?

In a “walkabout survey” done at the May 2014 sale, the following data was gathered: 67% of those surveyed had been to past book sales, while 33% said they were first-time participants. 62% of those surveyed live in the Fergus/Elora area, while 38% came from other locations, such as Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Toronto and area.

How do people hear about the sale?

42% of people surveyed in the informational survey done at the May 2014 sale said they learned about book sales by word of mouth.

21% said that they are aware that the sale is always on the first weekend in May, and they mark that weekend on their calendars. They “just know.”

37% said they heard or saw advertisements through (in descending order): ads, newspaper articles; posters or signs; websites; radio announcements; coming events calendars or announcements.

Who will answer other questions about the book sales or book donations?
If you can’t find the answer to your question(s) on this site, please call the Elora Festival and Singers office at 519.846.0331 or toll-free at 1.888.747.7550. x 7400 or leave a message for our volunteers at x 87418 and someone will answer your question(s), or contact a book volunteer for more information.

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