Books in charity shops

I’ve been wondering for a long time why the range of second-hand books in most charity shops is so restricted. I rarely see paperbacks more than a few years old, hardbacks ditto (and they all have dustjackets). Where are the paperbacks from the 1930s to 1980s? Where are the hardback novels of the 1950s to 1980s?

In Vitalise the other day I found an almost closed box of books. I only had a quick look because we were running late to pick up the M, but I found a lovely copy of East Lynne and another 19thc novel. I’ll put images up when I have a moment. They also had some non-dustjacketed hardbacks from the 1970s and some paperbacks from the 1970s-1980s, all in good condition. I took my haul to the counter where the assistant was baffled because the books had no prices on them. Another assistant explained to her that these were from the box left out for recycling.

It made me wonder how many books are just pulped by charity shops – so I’ve emailed Oxfam, British Heart Foundation, Marie Curie, Barnado’s, Cancer Research, The Children’s Society, Vitalise, Age Concern, Help the Aged, PDSA, Scope and Tenovus. Will update this site with any responses.



2 Responses to “Books in charity shops”

  1. Normal In London Says:

    There are a LOT of books pulped by charity shops – mainly due to space restrictions. there are so many books donated to the shops (usually as a last resort to get rid of stuff!), and there are a hell of a lot that are unsaleable.

    There is usually a 2-4 week cull period (depending on the item) – if anything hasn’t sold in the time, the item needs to be taken off the shop floor as it is now unlikely to sell, and there is more stock that needs to be put out to sell in order to raise as much money as possible.

    A good charity shop book volunteer will know their audience, and the know what books tend to sell in their shop and will cater to the audience without wasting precious space!

  2. maglinty Says:

    FoI requests?

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