Oxfam Bookfest boosts sales by 40%

Charity uses signings and talks to promote bookshops

Oxfam's inaugural book festival generated an estimated 40 per cent increase in sales, the aid charity has announced.

The two-week Bookfest, which took place last month, aimed to highlight the fact that Oxfam has 130 specialist bookshops and 600 stores that sell books.

Oxfam is Europe's biggest high street retailer of second-hand books and the UK's third biggest bookseller. Book sales generate £1.6m each month for the charity.

Events such as book signings and talks took place throughout the fortnight.

Earlier this month, bookseller Marc Harrison described Oxfam as "the Tesco of the second-hand book world" after his Ellwood Books business in Salisbury, Wiltshire, closed.

He said unfair competition from Oxfam, which receives free stock, volunteer helpers and reduced busines rates, was destroying the industry.

An Oxfam spokesman denied the charity was putting second-hand bookshops out of business.

He said online rivals such as Amazon and the recession were affecting the market.

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