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Sunday, 9 August 2009

Oxfam Bookshops Starve The Real Trade

You may be aware of the growing trend for charity shops to snatch business from the genuine second hand book trade. Indeed, it has become so bad in the U.K. that last week it hit the news headlines.

Now my lovely friend ‘B’, who’s been a bookseller longer than he cares to remember, has just told me that an Oxfam representative contacted him, explaining that they were due to open a branch near his new shop and requested that he value some of their stock – gratis. He couldn’t resist the temptation to decline!

Oxfam Bookshops describe themselves thus:

Bookshelves. Photo: Nigel Fairlie

Oxfam is the largest retailer of second-hand books in Europe, selling around 11 million books every year. Most of the 700+ Oxfam shops around the UK sell books, and more than 100 shops are specialist bookshops or book and music shops.

So whether you are searching for a Folio Society edition of Hardy's 'The Mayor of Casterbridge', a 1970's Beano Annual, or a good holiday read, Oxfam is a great place to look.

Books are donated direct to shops by the public, or through more than 700 Oxfam book and music banks in convenient locations around the country”.

As a charity – often doing wonderful work for corrupt third world regimes but never helping Jewish Israelis – I suppose Oxfam feels it has the ethical high ground and can exercise moral blackmail on anyone in its way.


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