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Publishers and publishing, Book industries and trade


The goal of this project was to look at book waste from a local independent bookstore, Powell’s Books, in Portland, Oregon and compare local donation and literacy programs—such as Little Free Libraries (LFL), Children’s Book Bank, and programs with the Multnomah County Library (MCL) to see if there were books or print materials that were being thrown away, recycled, and/or turned into pulp that could have been utilized in other ways towards literacy efforts. Through a process of interviews with staff at Portland’s largest local independent bookstore, MCL, a LFL steward, and Children’s Book Bank, as well as analysis of book desert maps, census data, and lit reviews I attempted to map out gaps in book access and literacy, what efforts were already being made, and where there was still lack in spite of those efforts. Then looking at data from those same methods, I compared and analyzed how much book waste, which is defined here as books that were damaged, stripped, or otherwise deemed unsellable, such as Advanced Readers Copies (known throughout the industry as ARCs), could still be utilized towards literacy efforts and minimizing book deserts. Through my findings, it would seem there is some missed opportunity to rehome some of these books before they end up being stripped and/or thrown out, inevitably ending up in landfills. However, it seems monetary donations are often viewed as more effective in aiding in literacy programs and their efforts than book donations alone.


© 2022 Megan Jessop

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


Paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Writing: Book Publishing.

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