It’s near impossible to do, isn’t it? Because a book has its own story. Its own history. Its own soul. Once it is read you leave your fingerprints upon it, and in turn it imprints itself upon your mind. And once tossed aside it remains alive, seeking another mind to enrich should you decide to clear some space upon your shelves during a ritual clean-out…
But rather than throw it to the trash or try to re-sell it for pennies, why not donate it to Healthy Planet’s BooksForFree initiative? Healthy Planet is a not-for-profit organisation, managing volunteer-run BooksForFree projects that take in public donations, publishers’ surplus, and unsold books from charity shops before giving them away for free. Really. You can walk into any one of the initiative’s nation-wide stores and feel free to take up to three books, free of charge. Regardless of whether you’re donating your own books or not; as the project works to the classic tune of supply and demand, receiving a bag-full of books one minute before passing the same books on in their threes to a new home soon after.
As this is essentially what the project is all about, keeping books in circulation by extending their lives beyond the Kindle revolution and away from the scrapheap. Giving the book another pair of eyes to entertain, another mind to educate, and another set of hands to nestle into whilst converting your own trash into someone else’s treasure. But you needn’t think that you’ll only find old wives’ novels upon these generous shelves, as they are stacked high with fact and fiction, contemporary titles, timeless classics, children’s favourites and even those pricey university textbooks. However this plentiful supply isn’t exclusive to books, as BooksForFree also cater for magazines, Videos, CDs, Audio Books, DVDs and even the old record to complement Dad’s dusty collection. So why not bring the whole family along…
You may well discover their true shopping personalities, as reading the stores’ scattered signs signalling the 3-book-maximum will instantly divide customers into either Camp X’s astounded “three for free??” or Camp Y’s covetous “what, only three?!” responses. As it is a strange concept to grasp, especially when approaching the counter where you find yourself confronted by a donations box in place of a cash register and receive a bookstamp rather than a receipt. You can even return your ‘purchase’ at any time free of receipt squabbles, creating some form of library-shop hybrid without the loyalty card. This makes up a refreshing anomaly within the average shopping experience, noticeable for the distinct absence of cash transactions, chip & pin machines, and promotional offers.
For today’s businesses set a price for everything, but know the value of nothing. And this is how BooksForFree distinguishes itself, as it recognises the value of a dust-ridden literary classic but refrains from barcoding it with a price. It is simply stamped with Healthy Planet’s logo complete with a discreet request to “Pass me on when you’ve finished reading me”, and it becomes a priceless entity. And this collection of entities combine to create a project that provides a contemporary outlet to the cyclical nature of the purchase and disposal of goods, whilst being sustainable in tackling the world’s financial and environmental problems. For these threats are posing ever more questions to our economic evolution, and projects such as this may prove to be part of the solution.
Follow this link to find your nearest store, and be part of the solution;