Hot tip: Shop the Great Northfield, Minn. Book Fair

The book Debbie Tungland bought last year

When Debbie Tungland recommends you shop the Great Northfield, Minn. Book Fair, it’s like Warren Buffet offering you a “hot” stock tip. She has that kind of track record. Debbie is the woman from Kenyon, Minn, who last year at the Northfield Hospital Auxiliary Book Fair invested one dollar for a copy of “Profiles in Courage” by John F. Kennedy and sold it for $3,000. That’s a nice return. 


She discovered an inscription inside the book signed by the 35th president. She had the signature authenticated and ultimately found a buyer,  a rare book dealer in New York.

She’ll be back next week for the 54th annual book fair. It starts Tuesday, April 28, at 5 p.m. at the Northfield Ice Arena and runs through Saturday, May 2.  She recommends you come, too.

If you do, you will find some 10,000 used books priced to sell. There are cook books, children’s books, biographies, books on psychology, theology, music, and romance novels, all neatly  organized in some 25 different sections.  In addition, there are CDs, DVDs and vinyl records.  

Debbie has been attending the book fair since 1999. It has now become an annual family event.

“We’ve turned it into a special deal,” she said. “My two daughters --- one from St. Paul and one from Blooming Prairie --- are readers, and we meet at the book fair, shop and then go out to eat.”

Debbie’s good fortune is now part of her family folklore and part of the book fair’s folklore, too. It’s that jaw-dropping “Rembrandt in a garage sale” story that inspires people.

She had second thoughts about selling the prize book, but she’s made peace with her decision.

“I’ve got the story, so what the heck,” she said.