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Book sales

Some churches and groups have been running book sales during Christian Aid Week for more than 30 years! They are a tried and tested way of engaging your local community and raising funds. Book sales can be a flexible format - you can combine them with other community and fundraising events. For one supporting church, their sale is part of a Book Festival, with workshops and talks; for another, it is an opportunity to sell artwork in addition to books. 

A 3-year project... 

There are no hard and fast rules, but experience tells us that it may take a while for your book sale to become known, so we advise that you think of a book sale as at least a 3-year project. That means over time you can find your feet and your customers can find you. 

An ecumenical matter! 

A book sale is a great way of working with other churches in your area. You could team up in many different ways, be it working together on the sale's organisation, advertising in each other’s newsletters and church notices, putting up posters in porches and on noticeboards, and creating a buzz about it on social media. 

Planning is key 

The planning for our most successful book sales held during Christian Aid Week starts in October the year before, with regular meetings being held from February/March. If you are reading this after October, it's still an activity worth thinking about - please read on... 


You will not have a problem getting stock - once people hear that you need books, you'll find they will flood in! One month should be ample time beforehand to make your request for books. You'll need to consider where to store the books as they come in and what to do with any unsold books after the sale. If you cannot store the books for next year, or want to start your stock afresh, unsold books can be sent to charity shops, sold on the internet, or sent for pulping. 

Ongoing sales 

It makes your efforts worthwhile to hold your book sale over a few days. You will need to think about how this will affect the regular activities at your sale venue. 

One in a million! 

Our book sellers went on the internet and researched the best prices for their books. However, the general rule is: cheaper prices sell more books!

You might find a rare book amongst your donations - it is good to make friends with a local book expert who can advise you on what price to ask. 

Role up! 

Each book sale will be different depending on scale and location. However, here is a list of some of the roles which we have found to be key across most of our book sales. 

  1. Promoting your sale - posters; social media.- can you interest your local print media?- is there a local personality that you can ask to help promote your sale? 
  2. Receiving/collecting books. 
  3. Sorting books and identifying any that may be valuable. Consider a section of books about your local area and its history 
  4. Pricing. 
  5. Lifting, carrying and replenishing books. 
  6. Sales staff. Most of our sales are cash only, which is handy if you have a cash point nearby. Make sure you have sufficient float and get in touch with us if you would like to explore contactless payment options. 
  7. Delivering unsold books to alternative sales outlets/pulping locations. Most of the unsold books from our biggest book sale are sold on to World of Books or similar internet sellers. That way, Christian Aid continues to raise money even after the sale has ended. This might work for your sale, too! 
  8. Thanking afterwards - donors of books, volunteers, local promoters. 

We hope you enjoy running your book sale - big or small, your sale and the funds you raise will contribute toward sending poverty, standing up against the barriers that keep people poor, and speaking truth to power.