Activism

Yorkshire history book climbs Amazon charts as thousands exploit loophole to raise money for food banks

Food banks will be receiving vital cash at Christmas after a group of hobby writers discovered an infinite money glitch on Amazon

food bank christmas

Volunteers at Food Aware's Hellaby Food Hub, with copies of Forgotten Yorkshire. Image: Kevin Pulford

Thousands of people will be wondering why they’ve been gifted a self-published parody guide to Yorkshire this Christmas after a Big Issue story highlighting an ingenious fundraising scheme went viral.

Last week we reported on a Robin Hood-inspired plot by a writing group named the Tripe Marketing Board (TMB), who had used a money-spinning loophole on Amazon to sell their book and raise money to save a major food bank in south London.

As the story blew up, it flew off Amazon’s virtual shelves and raised thousands more to support two Yorkshire community food banks.

It all started when Amazon reduced the price of the book, Forgotten Yorkshire, from £10 to 99p. The TMB realised they still received the full royalties from the retail giant when a copy was purchased and decided to take advantage. They started urging people to buy the books and pledged to donate £2 per copy to charity. Effectively, a customer spending 99p on the book generates £2 for cash-strapped food banks, courtesy of Amazon’s deep pockets.

The TMB had raised £1,000 in two weeks before The Big Issue story. In the five days since, it has raised another £3,000 and the book has reached second place in Amazon’s “parody books” chart. By Christmas, the team expects to raise at least £10,000.

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One of the two groups benefiting is Food Aware CIC, which helps deprived communities across Doncaster.

Striking ambulance workers with copies of Forgotten Yorkshire. Image: Kevin Pulford

“Support such as this is most needed in order to keep our community projects going to enable is to continue to support this in need in unprecedented and extremely worrying times,” Sean Gibbons, MD of Food Aware, told the Big Issue

“It will help us support even more families as the cold weather hits over the winter period. It is going to be a very long January, February and March and demand for our services is going to increase even further.”

Mexborough Foodbank, run by Food Aware, has seen a huge increase in demand due to the cost of living crisis. Last Friday, in its last session before Christmas, it gave out 48 ‘double’ food parcels – compared to the 25 to 30 it typically distributes.

Along with Food Aware, the Welcome Centre in Huddersfield will also benefit from the money raised.

The team behind one charity shop in Walton Vale said they had bought 80 copies for their members, while dozens responded on Twitter to say they had purchased three copies.

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The deal is still ongoing, with the book remaining at 99p, and the TMB expecting the price to return to normal on December 24. Forgotten Yorkshire and Parts of North Derbyshire and Humberside can be found on Amazon here, for those looking for charitable Christmas gifts.

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