An alternative to the book table at the retreat (where selected books are offered for sale) is to have a “donations” table, where books are available for a donation–“whatever you can afford”. We actually do this in addition to a regular book table, giving our ladies the option of either buying a new book, or giving a small donation to obtain a used book.
During the month(s) prior to the retreat, we ask ladies in our women’s ministry if they have good books that they have read and would like to donate. These books are carefully reviewed and either accepted or rejected, as we know that all so-called “Christian” books are not profitable reading (see our guidelines here). Often people have extra Bibles lying around at home too, and we welcome those donations as well.
At the retreat, these books are displayed on a table with a money box labeled “whatever you can afford.” One year, someone expressed that she was so blessed that she was able to pick up a special Bible–something she would have been unable to afford–for just a small donation. This is a blessing for the women, especially those who love books and can’t afford to buy them. The income from this table can cover a shortfall at the book table or can provide cash to purchase books for the book table next year.
What a great “recycling” program!