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Finding the positive ending for unavoidable book disposals

Martin Crouch, Distribution Liaison Manager, Taylor & Francis, Oxfordshire

Every year, our department has the unenviable task of disposing of books that have been on our shelves for many years and are unlikely to find a future buyer. These numbers have been trending downwards but, at first glance, it looks like we’ve stayed about the same for two years. However, it would be a mistake to judge the year by its cover – the closure of our Kentucky warehouse meant that we had an unusually large quantity of books to dispose of, which led us to establish a very exciting new relationship with the UK-based Book Aid International.Book Aid helps millions of people across the world access books, especially in areas where they are in short supply,and we thought this was a great use for our surplus books.Our partnership began with a “big bold test” to see how many books marked for pulping (a method of recycling paper) could be simply diverted en masse to Book Aid. So, in October 2018,around 14,000 books were shipped across the Atlantic, and more than 80% of them were accepted by Book Aid.Of course, we’re always keeping an eye on how to make things more efficient and, following that initial success, we’ve introduced a selection process on our side. In December 2018 our UK team identified 53,000 books to be delivered to Book Aid in the first quarter of 2019.As people who are innately passionate about books, consigning them to be pulped is a gruelling task. And so the idea of donating them to Book Aid and getting knowledge out to less peaceful and secure parts of the world