Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Saving Books (for free!)

A free bookshop just opened in my town! How amazing is that??!! I really do mean free too . . . you can take up to three books at a time and it works like any normal secondhand book store. You go in, you browse, you pick your books, you take them up to the counter. . . where instead of paying they stamp the inside cover. And you're good to go!

The store is part of the 'Books for Free' initiative, which is run by the eco-charity Healthy Planet. The books in the bookshop are books that would have otherwise been going to recycling or landfill. I admit, there are some books that should be recycled (not because they're 'bad', but because they're out-of-date, misleading or damaged beyond repair), but there are many that do end up there that shouldn't. I picked up two books from the shop this week and looking at their condition are somewhat horrified that they've been rescued from the pulpers!!!

Both of these are good condition (almost brand new looking) paperbacks! The Siege of Krishnapur is a Booker prize winner that was nominated for the 'Best of Booker.' What a waste it would have been for these to be pulped.

I love that this initiative is saving good books from being destroyed, while at the same time giving access to them for free. When I visited the store it was full - people like me, who wouldn't pass up the opportunity for free books or to visit a new bookish cause - but also people like low-income families who wouldn't normally be able to afford three children's books (let alone three children's books per child). I feel like this is one of those cases where everyone is. Hopefully this new little store will be able to stick around for a while!! (at the moment it's in a disused shopfront).

What do you think of this cause? A good idea? Do you know of any similar programs in your area?


  1. I agree that it's a great idea - but who pays for the costs of running the shop?

    1. I don't think their overheads are very large - they only open two days a week, are staffed by volunteers and operate out of a disused shopfront (that is still being advertised for permanant rent). Presumably other costs are met by the charity behind it.