Jump to content

Thousands in scramble for free books after Amazon supplier abandons warehouse


Recommended Posts

They stand knee-deep in Danielle Steels, Len Deightons and even the odd Jeffery Archer, rummaging around in the reading matter.

Strewn across the floor of the drafty warehouse are thousands and thousands of books, ranging from well-thumbed paperback novels to musty hardback technical manuals, faux-leather bound poetry collections, 1970s cook books and long-outdated sports almanacs.

Many are a little dog-eared or have yellowing pages.




But this does not deter the army of foragers who have descended on the 56,000 sq ft premises.

For the books are being given away after the warehouse was abandoned by its owners, and the lure of acquiring a free, instant library is proving hard to resist.

People have travelled from as far as Hertfordshire and the West Midlands to the old Bookbarn site in Bristol.

Today Porsches and BMWs were alongside vans in the car park as the most ardent book hunters carried out their finds in crates and on trolleys before loading them into their vehicles' boots.

In an endearing display of how the British love the offer of something for nothing, someone had even come with a small trailer on the back of his car. Others were seen stacking books in prams.


Inside the warehouse, Travis Speedie was crouched in a mound of books, ferreting about and gleefully placing his finds into a large wooden box.

Tossing aside the likes of the Driver's Atlas of the British Isles, Edwina Currie's Life Lines and Winnie the Pooh, the 25-year-old student was on the hunt for something more cerebral.

Over two hours he had already managed to find 20 volumes of Compton's Encyclopaedia and was now desperate to complete the set.

'I love old books,' he said. 'It's a mess in here, real chaos, but it's so exciting looking through it all. It's like finding treasure when you discover something you want.

'I've also found a nice, illustrated copy of William Blake's poems and I want to get some history books too.'


Hazel Gurneet, 61, a Retired PA, had found 'a couple of cratefuls' of things she fancied, mainly gardening and natural history books, and was coming back for more.

'It's an unbelievable site when you walk in here. Lots of the bookcases have been knocked over and the books are everywhere,' she said.

'It doesn't feel right having to walk over all these wonderful books to find what you want. But given the cost of new books these days, who's going to refuse this?'

Nurse Sarah Campbell, 27, there with her son Daniel, seven months, said: 'It's a strange situation, but I've managed to get a carrier bag full of children's books for my little boy.'


It is thought that the warehouse on an industrial estate once contained as many as five million books, which came from private homes and college and county libraries or were surplus stock from book dealers, and that it supplied online book sellers.

The lease on the premises recently expired and the firm running the secondhand book business moved out, leaving it full of books.

Managers of the industrial estate invited people to help themselves so they can free up space at the site. No one at Bookfarm was available to comment.


Ashley Nicholson, a director of the company which owns the industrial estate, said: 'We asked Bookbarn to clear the books and they got rid of some of them but there is still a huge, huge number inside the warehouse.


'So we thought it was a sensible idea to give people the opportunity to come along and choose themselves a book or two and help us clear the warehouse.


'The response has been unbelievable since we opened it to the public on Monday. It's like a swarm of locusts.


'I've seen people backing cars and vans into the warehouse so they can stock up.

'One couple even came in a campervan and I think they slept overnight and then crammed as many books as they could into their van and drove off.'

The contents of the aircraft-hangar sized warehouse are a librarian's worst nightmare, with the books piled willy-nilly and not separated according to subject or genre.


Thus a copy of James Herriot's Let Sleeping Vets Lie can be found beside 'World Famous Unsolved Crimes', and Beginning Gliding next to Kramer vs Kramer.

For those with the time to browse, the great giveaway continues next week.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...