Wednesday 9 March 2016

New Website Launched for Socially Enterprising Book Business

On Monday this week I had a great visit to Bookdonors to help launch their new website. It’s the first time I’ve taken the train to Tweedbank on the new Borders Railway. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was fantastic. Highly recommended.

Tom Kenny, the Bookdonors MD met me at the station, which is a short walk from the Bookdonors warehouse and offices. It’s such an impressive set-up with an enthusiastic staff. I had a full demonstration of the new website.

I love the author pages and of course the Bloody Scotland / Tartan Noir selection of Scottish Crime books. I then had my photo taken with MY van!

Or I should say the Rhona MacLeod van, as she’s the star of my forensic series advertised on the back. There are also vans for Bloody Scotland authors Alex Gray, Caro Ramsay and Val McDermid … which seemed perfect for this week's International Women’s Day

Lin and Zoe

While there I met Zoe, a real life Wiccan who had read The Special Dead. It was great to hear from someone from the world I had written about. She gave the thumbs up to my research, but also pointed out that Wiccan men are usually called male witches, rather than warlocks. I rather like that… 

Bookdonors Press Release

Bookdonors has launched a dedicated eCommerce web site, to capitalise on its strong links with charity shop book suppliers. Leading crime fiction author, Lin Anderson, who officially launched the site commented, “By offering used and new books side by side this web site gives customers real choice. Purchasing books from Bookdonors will support an organisation which has strong social and environmental objectives, which provides an alternative ethical choice to larger ecommerce sites.”
Bookdonors is a leading not-for-profit Social Enterprise based in Tweedbank, just outside Galashiels, in the Scottish Borders, where it employs 32 staff.  It trades in used books for the benefit of people, charities and the environment. All of its sales are used to fulfil the triple social mission; to provide flexible and adaptable employment opportunities, to help protect the environment by promoting re-use and to provide additional income to a range of charities. 
To achieve these goals it collects and processes over 600,000 books each month, from Charity Shops across Scotland and N E England. That translates to sales of over 8,000 books per week, which helped the company to a turnover of £1.4m last year, with corresponding payments to charities of over £200k for supply of books in the last 2 years. “Much of this growth has been driven by adding a range of new sales channels, but research that we commissioned identified that many customers are seeking alternative suppliers that are less commercially focused and a have strong ethical or environmental dimension, ” comments, Managing Director, Tom Murdoch-Kenny. By putting our inventory of 250,000 very good quality second hand on-line, and adding options to buy new for a further 50,000 titles we feel we are giving the customer real choice from an alternative source,” he added

The achievements of Bookdonors have not gone unnoticed and The NatWest Social Enterprise 2015 SE100 Index which tracks and recognises the performance of social enterprises, rated Bookdonors #8 in the UK Retail (Including Fair Trade) Sector. So Bookdonors has clearly already made an impact. Local Author, Historian and Director of the Borders Book Festival, Alistair Moffat commented, “Bookdonors is a great idea very much worth supporting. And while I am slightly taken aback at the number of my books donated, they couldn't have been given away to a better cause.”
The company is not content to rest on its laurels however, and Bookdonors is keen to leverage its exports to the USA and Canada, by adding a Scottish dimension to the web site to promote Scottish literature. Lin Anderson added, “I was so pleased to see strong Scottish themes running throughout the web site. In particular the showcase of our ever growing stable of 'Tartan Noir' crime authors is to be commended. Showing books in series order and proper author biographies are nice touches too.”

Bookdonors website for online purchase of second-hand and new books: