Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Reverse books

In my (still successful) efforts to avoid joining and re-joining book clubs, I forgot one book club that I'm delighted to remain in: the reverse book club. The marketing line is: "4 books for £5 a month and you'll never receive any of them!" The reason: the organisation gives them away on their members' behalf. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, more than half the population lives on less than two dollars a day, and a single book can cost more than a month's wages. Refugee camps in Kenya, colleges in Malawi, primary schools in Somaliland --- all benefit from the fantastic work of Book Aid International. In February, J. K. Rowling and other authors auctioned various literary items to raise £63,000. Book Aid International have just sent supporters like me their newsletter detailing how they are spending this and other donations to improve literacy and education in as many places as they can. The reverse book club has enabled the organisation to send 81,000 books with donations received so far --- not publishers' remainders but mainstream, current reference works and novels, educational and vocational textbooks, children's fiction and more. It's an impressive outfit and well-worth supporting -- as the slogan states: "books build futures".