My time with Book-Aid.
Updated: May 16, 2022
In the 1980s a desperate plea came from Africa and other countries where economic crises and foreign currency restrictions had reduced supplies of Christian books to an all-time low. This cry for help from vast numbers of Christians suffering from the "Book Famine" became impossible to ignore. Book Aid Charitable Trust was set up in order to make large shipments of new and secondhand Christian books and Bibles to these needy areas. In particular, Book Aid supports Christian bookshops, mainly in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Books are gathered by volunteers through a network of UK collection points. They are then transported to the warehouses in London and Ranskill. The books are sorted, boxed and placed on pallets ready for shipment. When the books reach their destination they are sold at affordable prices. The money raised is used to enhance and develop local literature initiatives and support Christian ministries. Smaller shipments of more scholarly books are occasionally made to equip Bible College libraries where they are used to train a new generation of ministers of the Gospel. Of those books not required overseas, some are sold in Book Aid bookshops in the United Kingdom and the money raised used to pay shipping and administration costs. Since 1988 over 30 million Christian Books and Bible have been shipped to book hungry areas thanks to the generosity of British Christians.
I have been connected with Book Aid since around 2016 as a supporter and advocate among those who I know.
In 2018 I joined Book Aid for 6 months on a part-time basis to help develop online sales. The idea was to list online less than 1% of the books. Income from these operations would support the general budget of Book Aid which at that point was looking not well.
Using my previous experience in Ecommerce, we set up few sales channels online, keeping the costs to the minimum. Over the next 2 years, the online sale of some of the books helped substantially with the budget. Not only the whole budget was covered, but much-needed maintenance of the facilities was done!
Writing from the perspective of July 2021, I know that Book Aid was able to continue operations through the pandemic, even though physical shops had to be closed.