Friday, 6 April 2012

Our local charity shop

is housed in a very large tin warehouse next to the railway line. At one end there is the garage which houses "Fred's Van", a food van which feeds street dwellers. In the middle there is the shop. At the other end is the storage area. At the back of all this is the "bookshop".
I have problems with buying books second hand. I am conscious that writers do not get paid nearly enough for their efforts. When you buy a book second hand then the writer gets nothing. I try not to buy books which are in print  second hand for this reason - even when I want to.  Occasionally, like everyone else I succumb to temptation.  The argument that "charity" benefits is not quite good enough for me.
Our local library also sells books second hand - and gives what it has failed to sell to the charity shop.
On the other hand I think that books which are no longer in print are fair game. It is hard on the author but once a publisher has decided that the book is not going to be reprinted then, should I want a copy, this is the only way to obtain one.
I wonder what is going to happen in the future now that "e-book" publishing and "self-publishing" because of such "e-books" is going to be that much easier. Will places like this charity bookshop gradually become a thing of the past? I have already noticed that the sort of stock these places get is changing. People have realised that second hand books can be sold on the internet. Once there would have been a large pile of old knitting patterns. Now they get sold on the internet. All sorts of other things also get sold on the internet. The bookshop gets almost no hard cover books. What does arrive there is often unattractive and of very little value. Anything of value gets sold on the internet.
I suspect the nature of charity is changing too. We may drop a couple of dollars or a pound or a euro or two in a collection box but if there is something of value or potential value we will first try and sell it on the internet. Is it giving a new meaning to "charity begins at home"?

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