our state newspaper two days ago complaining that the author had taken some pre-loved/unwanted/second-hand books to her local charity shop - only to be told they did not want them. "People don't read books any more," she was told.
Of course today there is a letter from someone they would be more than happy to accept the donation. Their charity outlet has readers.
The charity outlets around here all have books. One has a particularly good book room. It is down a little ramp at the back of the shop. I admit the place has an unusual amount of space but it is also extremely well organised. The fiction is in alphabetical order. The non-fiction is arranged pretty much by sunject. (The librarian bit of me does a bit of quiet rearranging once in a while so that things are actually easier to find but, on the whole it is not bad.) There are piles of magazines - useful to take to people in hospital if they are fairly recent. There are knitting patterns, sheet music, records, DVDs, CDs and videos. They will put out anything which still has some re-sale value.
It always amazes me what people give away and what sells.
But books not selling? I think not. I went in on Monday to pick up a couple of geographical type magazines for the stroke patient and there were seven or eight people browsing the shelves. I know one was a book dealer who comes in regularly. The others were people looking for things to read because they were on holiday, going on holiday, were not sure they could get to the library in time to return books etc. The place acts as a sort of book exchange as well. The person in charge of the area knows me. He has sometimes put things aside to ask me if I think it might be more valuable than they can sell there. The answer has sometimes been yes so it goes up on the internet.
I know that the second hand book business is not a happy place for authors trying to sell their books. They get nothing for the resale of their books (and I think they should as they get paid so little) but it is surely better that money is made by a charity than the books just thrown out.
So, why on earth refuse to take the books if you have the space for them?