Save Bookdonors Community Interest Company

by Barry Graham in Tweedbank, Scotland, United Kingdom

We did it
On 9th December 2019 we successfully raised £1,910 with 58 supporters in 33 days

80% of our staff are furthest from the job market. The project aims to save these jobs and continue to support the community.

by Barry Graham in Tweedbank, Scotland, United Kingdom


Bookdonors is a not for profit social enterprise based in Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders

We are a stepping stone to helping the long term unemployed into the job market.

We trade in second hand books and our operation enables us to:-

  • Provide flexible, adaptable employment opportunities 
  • Help protect our precious environment
  • Work in partnership with charities to recycle books
  • Provide a high quality product and service to our customers
  • Provide much needed books to primary and secondary schools

Our Story

The idea of Bookdonors started in an attic nearly 15 years ago. 

Having hit upon hard times in the past, the founder of Bookdonors wanted to setup an enterprise to help other people into employment.

The concept grew into one of the first Community Interest Companies in Scotland and was incorporated in 2005, initially starting operations in a run down warehouse in Selkirk employing only 3 staff then moving to a more spacious facility in Tweedbank where we now employ 22 staff and a number of volunteers. 

What We Do

Bookdonors provides collection services to 232 charity shops across Scotland. Our drivers collect unwanted books from these shops for processing at our facility in Tweedbank. When books arrive they are manually scanned and those that have a resale value are listed for sale on Amazon, eBay and Abebooks. Those that are rejected are either selected for donation to local schools, libraries and disadvantaged groups or sent to recycling. No books go to landfill.

Helping People in the Community

Our primary aim is to provide employment for those that would struggle through standard selection processes and to perform in a normal working environment. 

We provide work placements through Momentum, Works+, Jobcentre Plus and give on-going support to our employees to develop these skills and confidence.

Clive, Processing Operator, 8 months 

"I was long-term unemployed struggling to get employment due to lack of experience. Bookdonors has helped me get into employment and become more confident by getting into a daily routine. Working with a good bunch of colleagues, we do our job but have a pleasant experience while doing our jobs and being part of a company that shares the same values as I do. My dreams for the future are to be in full-time employment, happy and healthy and hopefully help the company grow to be a success and grow bigger to help the community and the less fortunate people in the community"

Maria, Grading Supervisor, 2 years

"After leaving my previous job I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety which effected every part of my life and the ability to find employment. Bookdonors has helped by giving me a chance to return to employment in a supported and friendly environment. It has helped with my confidence and anxiety. Working at Bookdonors helped a lot when my mum suddenly passed away. The staff where supportive and being able to come to work kept my mind occupied. Bookdonors as a company and staff employed are not judgemental and people are treated as equals no matter the gender, race, sexual orientation etc. Bookdonors is the best job I have had, I enjoy all aspects of my job"

Ormonde, Grader, Picker, Packer, 9 months

"I had been without work for a while so I volunteered at Bookdonors which helped to reacquaint me with the working environment and was fortunate enough to be taken on. All I wanted was a chance.  Bookdonors has helped me to relate better to people and situations. I enjoy books so I am happy to work every day and look forward to it. What I enjoy about working at Bookdonors is a sense of everybody working together as everyone who works here is easy to talk to and happy to share information and help. It's great to be surrounded by books so everyday has something new. My dreams for the future are to help Bookdonors thrive and to play a part in the future development of the company, also to improve daily."

Camera shy.

Why We Need The Money

Bookdonors has unfortunately fallen upon hard times.

Since incorporation in 2005, the business has grown and from 2007 has ran at an average of 2% surplus. During 2017 various external factors impacted the business resulting in high costs and less income, such as increasing costs from retail platforms, reduction in value of recycling material and reduction in intake of books.

Bookdonors have tried to continue operations for the past 2 years with the current business model but recognise this is not sustainable. We find ourselves with increasing daily operational costs which we are struggling to meet and are currently at serious risk of closing down.

We are working with Just Enterprise on building a new business strategy and action plan to develop new income streams and a sustainable business model. This will allow us to maintain our primary mission and keep those furthest from the job market in employment. However, this will take time so we need capital to fund our operating costs for the next 6 months.

This funding will be used for wages, rent, utilities, book collections, packaging materials and postage.

Bookdonors is a team that has so much pride in the work we all do to help others, whether it be the charity shops we collect from, the employees we give opportunities to or the schools and community groups we donate books to. We work very hard to go above and beyond because we love what we do and the ethos of the company. We are willing to do whatever it takes to avoid Bookdonors closing and make it the company it deserves to be.

A big thank you from all the team at Bookdonors for taking the time to read about our company and the issues we are currently facing. We just need people to see the potential in us and help us up the next step of the ladder to grow the company and get out of this situation we now find ourselves in. 

Your donations will be very kindly received and much appreciated. 

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