A dirty secret of the book publishing industry is that millions of books are pulped (shredded) each year. For example, the BBC reported in 2001 that “Up to one million books per month are being pulped in Britain.”
Despite this enormous excess of inventory, I recently heard from someone who complained that inner city kids in the U.S. are going without books. She felt that books a charity was sending to Africa should go to kids in the U.S. instead, but I say it doesn’t have to be an either-or situation.
So here’s my question: is there a way for charities or low-income schools in the U.S. to ask for book donations from publishers?
Is it just a matter of knowing who to contact or are there institutional barriers that would keep a publisher from sending extra books? Is the volume of excess books so big that publishers can’t deal with individual requests? I know there are enough books to go around in the U.S., the U.K., Africa, and wherever else people can’t afford them, but I don’t know how to get them there.
(I did find an organization called Book Aid International on the Internet that takes books directly from publishers in the U.K. and ships them to Africa, which is fantastic, but as far as I can tell, they don’t take books from U.S. publishers and don’t donate books in the U.S. or U.K.)