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Good Books at Good Prices

By Eddy Ball
November 2006

people browsing books
The Book Fair drew browsers and shoppers to the D-module mall. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Lindia Engram
Occupational Health Nurse Lindia Engram spent part of her lunch hour checking out new books. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Sharon Bobbitt
After working the Book Fair for a few years, Books are Fun representative Sharon Bobbitt has become a familiar face to NIEHS employees. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Every fall and spring, the NIEHS Fitness and Wellness Committee puts a little twist on its recreational theme by sponsoring a two-day Book Fair to help employees exercise their minds as well as their bodies. This fall's event on October 11 and 12, like earlier Book Fairs, gave employees a chance to do some early shopping for solstice season celebrations - or just spend some free time looking for new hardcover books at discounted prices.

Because the vendor, Books Are Fun, a division of Reader's Digest, gives 10 percent of sales back to its sponsoring organization, the event was also a time for Program Manager Diane Crawford, Fitness Room Manager Stephanie Bullock-Allen and Fitness Specialist Jennifer Cordone to pick up some additional funds for incidental expenses and, most importantly, incentive prizes for such programs as the "Biggest Loser" competition.

Visitors at the Book Fair browsed shelves in D-module filled with items priced as much as 70 percent less than retail. The event featured many books, puzzles, learning toys and games for children and young adults, in addition to best sellers, cookbooks, coffee table books and special interest titles for adults. The Fair also offered a selection of music CDs, DVDs, knick-knacks and book-related items.

Books Are Fun operates book fairs for schools and several area businesses and organizations, such a Sygenta, Rex Hospital and Duke Children's Hospital. According to company representative Sharon Bobbitt, organizations with 300 or more employees can sponsor book fairs with Books Are Fun, which operates from a warehouse in Raleigh. A ten-year veteran of the company, Bobbitt looks forward to the fairs as a break from her usual job as a contract accountant. "It's given me a chance to see people I've met year after year," she said. "I also get a chance to see what the books look like and discover what's new."

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