"No good ever comes of gentleman amateurs buying and selling"—Milton
September 9, 2009 8:28 AM Subscribe
Oxfam, the 67-year-old Oxford-based confederation of multinational organizations, spends more than $600 million a year around the world fighting poverty, famine, climate change and discrimination. $32 million of that budget comes from book sales at its 130 second-hand bookshops in the UK, making them the second largest retailer of second-hand books in Europe. Now, independent booksellers are beginning to speak out about the competition. On the BBC, in the Telegraph, the Guardian, and the New York Times, some British booksellers are questioning the wisdom of charities using chain stores to raise funds. Are they “destroying lives here to save them elsewhere” as they’ve been accused of by one former UK bookseller, or is this the logical economic result of “the English town with the secondhand bookshop everybody loves but most people never actually go into.” as David McCullough, director of trading for Oxfam recently speculated?
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