Online activists have cried out during the last month that giant Book retailer Borders is defying common sense with their announcement that they are closing some 200 stores of the Waldenbooks chain by the end of January. Not because everyone will miss Waldenbooks (yeah, we thought they were long gone too), but because Borders planned to trash all the unsold books from the stores.
Change.org wrote Thursday that the company planned to tear the covers off the books and dump the books so they can't be resold. The destruction of the books is a standard practice in the industry.
Borders employees, hoping to shame the company into changing their ways a´ la H&M have formed a Facebook group to support the donation of the books to local libraries and nonprofits instead.
Several Huffpost bloggers have brought up the issue and have encouraged people to speak out against the wasteful destruction of the books. Impact blogger Mary Hall wrote of the missed opportunity to young readers that the destroyed books could have provided; Erik Ose gave a detailed account of how and why the publishing industry chooses to trash books.
But, there's at least some good news, bibliophiles. On Thursday, Borders made some concessions by announcing a new partnership with Gifts In Kind International.
According to Borders' Web site:
"We're extremely happy to announce that we've partnered with leading charitable organization Gifts In Kind International to help donate items that have not sold in Borders and Waldenbooks stores nationwide and cannot be returned to our suppliers.
The relationship between our organizations kicks off this month with a major product donation--including more than 50,000 individual items--to jump-start the alliance with Gifts In Kind. These items will be donated to hundreds of local organizations within the Gifts In Kind national network of charities, which now numbers more than 2,000 organizations."
The company says the initial donation will be the beginning of a long-term alliance with Gifts In Kind. Despite this announcement, many critics of Borders' policies think that the company is still not doing enough. According to Donate, Not Dumpster!, Borders is only planning to donate "non-returnable" goods, which doesn't include most unsold mass-market books. Thus, a hefty sum of books will still be discarded daily.
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