About Us

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Who We Are

We are a 100% volunteer organization who love books, like to have fun and believe everyone should have access to affordable personal health care. All of our proceeds go to Planned Parenthood California Central Coast, which includes five clinics in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties.

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Our History

The Planned Parenthood book sale began in 1974 and has always been an entirely volunteer effort. It is named for Mary Jane McCord who faithfully volunteered for over 30 years and was considered to be the heart and soul of the sale.

For the first few decades the sale was held each Fall in a different place, depending on where a vacant storefront could be rented. Whenever possible, the sale site was somewhere on State Street since foot traffic was essential. Books were sorted in small rented properties and members of the community left books for donation in an empty freight car located at the back of the PP clinic on Garden Street.


A major change took place in 2002 when a vacant storefront could not be located and it was determined that a permanent home was needed.


New leadership decided that the 2003 sale would be held at Warren Hall, on the Earl Warren Showgrounds. This required spending more on rent, but it also meant there would be adequate free parking and much more space than had previously been available. At the same time, generous donors provided space for year-round sorting and packing on Gutierrez Street.

Proceeds from the sale grew rapidly when the sale moved to Warren Hall and customers became accustomed to finding it there at the end of September every year. Many refinements were made, such as cash registers, the ability to take credit cards, a more efficient system for moving the sorted and packed books to the sale site, and a holding area so customers could leave books while they continued to shop.


Another major change took place in 2012 when the sale’s leadership decided to earn more revenue by selling some books online. This has worked very well, particularly for books that are too esoteric for the local sale.