Sunday, November 01, 2015

It Doesn't Add Up

On the rare occasions that I get out of the house to do some browsing of this world I like to go book shopping.
Any book shop will do but second-hand bookshops are the best. A few charities have decided that second-hand bookshops are the way to go. Indeed, I for one applaud the idea of a shop filled with second-hand books where the money goes to charity. For me it's a win win situation. It certainly trumps me having to tell charity canvassers that knock on my door, right in the middle of me eating supper, that their beaming faces are not welcome.

Recently though I've noticed that the price of the used books in said bookshops has been rising. Not that I'm against giving more money to charity but sometimes it just doesn't add up. I imagine that some bright spark has suggested that "the internet" is a great place to gauge prices. This is a good idea in one sense, imagine a charity shop selling a rare first edition for 99p! That just wouldn't do. The adverse side of this practise is that the lazy bright sparks just price everything on an internet average, or at least that's my theory.

Take for example today. I was in a local charity bookshop and a certain volume was £15. For what it was and its condition it seemed a little steep. I scanned the barcode and found that I could purchase a better copy online for half the price including postage. Guess who won that round?

If these charity bookshops continue to overprice books they're going to lose sales, as they did today with me. It doesn't add up! I don't give to charity, the charity loses money and they're left with dead stock.

The joy of charity shop book shopping is that great finds can be had for a few pounds. Over the years I've spent hundreds of pounds buying books from charity shops. But if they're going to price me out of their market we both lose.

A common sense rethink of pricing is needed to keep these valuable resources going.

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