The fifth annual Hesperia Unified District Scholastic Book Sale was the biggest yet, raising more than $3,000 for scholarships.

"Oh, man, we made close $33,500," Deb Baker, assistant to the superintendent and the woman who organized the event in conjunction with the Parent Coordinating Council. "That's half off. That's $66,000 worth of books we sold. We had books we cleaned out in less than an hour. We had about $22,000 in advance orders just from our district alone."

The book sale, held January 26, featured books sold for half-price from Scholastic Books. In addition to publishing textbooks, Scholastic is a children's book publisher, and is the American publisher of the Harry Potter series.

"We had a lady who came from Newberry Springs to stock up their library," Baker said. "It has become part of our culture, this book sale, and we're proud of that.

Scholastic held its first off-site warehouse sale at Hesperia High School in 2003. The event was such a success that Baker asked if the school system could get a portion of the profits for the scholarship fund from their next sale.

"This will be the last year that we get 10 percent of the net profit for our scholarship fund. At this point, we get whatever the average is of the sales of the last three years. It will be a consistent amount from this year on."

The PCC and HUSD sold $22,000 in books in 2007 and $27,000 in 2006. Under the new deal, the HUSD would have gotten $2,750 in scholarship funds this time around.

"We had about seven cash registers that were going non-stop. We had people in line at seven and it didn't start until nine," Baker said. "Those gals from the PCC who work the sale, they literally don't sit down from 8 o'clock until about 12:30; that's when we get our first break."

Even though Harry Potter has battled Voldemort for the last time, as of the summer 2007 release of the final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, children's books still flew out of the cases set up at Hesperia High School.

"Our pre-K through second grade books, those are the cases that cleared out the fastest. Literally within an hour to an hour and a half and those cases were gone," Baker said. "We had more cases than we've ever done.

"A lot of that went out to teachers, but we had a lot of parents shopping. Perhaps it's a sign of parents being involved with getting their kids to read. I know we had some teachers who suggested books for parents whose kids are having some trouble learning to read."

Scholastic benefits as well: Not only do they move tens of thousands of dollars worth of books, but the HUSD sale is a model they use to promote the off-site warehouse sales to other school districts.

"We are their most successful off-site book sale anywhere," Baker said.

And next time may be even bigger:

"We're considering holding it before Christmas so people can buy them as Christmas gifts."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.