A piece aired on the radio program Marketplace today about some bright blue bins found throughout the country.
In a nutshell these bins, owned by a company called Thrift Recycling Management, collect a whole lot of books. Some books indeed go to charities; some are recycled and so don’t add to our landfills; but a large portion of them are sold on sites like Amazon.com. Enough for the company to make $27 million last year.
Here’s a quote from Richard Cady, a volunteer at the Prescott (Arizona) Library:
Cady: The average little old lady who is going grocery shopping at Safeway isn’t going to figure this out. She’s going to think that those books are going to children, and I don’t think that’s always the case.
The bins worry Cady because he helps run Prescott Library’s used bookshop. It raises thousands of dollars for library programs by selling donated books. Like many Friends of Library groups around the country, Cady worries the bins are siphoning off donations that normally would come to them.
Indeed. The biggest fundraising event for the Friends of the Library is our used book sale. We’d be beside ourselves with glee to be able to earn one-tenth of one percent of $27 million for the Brunswick Library. That some corporation is making big bucks while competing against us for used books seems just a little unseemly.
So, before you dump your used books in a nameless bin in some supermarket parking lot, please remember your local Library organizations.