Reading and Recycling: Brotherhood Books
The digital revolution has hit the book business in a big way over the past couple of years, with the rise of e-books, e-readers and online bookshops.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence was an early adopter – they’ve been running an online second-hand bookshop, Brotherhood Books, since 2009.
The enterprise began during a staff meeting, when someone suggested it as a way to do something useful with all the donated books the Brotherhood receives – more than they knew what to do with. In the past ten years, the organisation has received ‘in excess of 45 tonnes of books’.
‘The aim is mostly to raise revenue to support many programs and services we offer, but also to provide a constructive, green method of utilising our donated books,’ says Greg Simpson, business development manager of Brotherhood Books.
The website is searchable, making it easy to both browse and look for specific titles or authors. Freight is free for orders of three books or more.
Brotherhood Books is almost solely run by volunteers, who sort and price the books. One hundred per cent of profits go back into programs that help disadvantaged people to rebuild their lives.
This follows the success of Hunter Gatherer, the Brotherhood’s chain of vintage clothing stores (in Fitzroy, St Kilda and now the city), selling handpicked fashion selected from donations, as well as vintage-style clothes designed and made under its own label.