The Book Trade Charity (BTBS)


‘To be the resource through which the UK Book Trade helps colleagues in need, and encourages fresh talent to join.’ We reach out to book trade people and their dependants to offer support and guidance in time of need, and provide financial assistance and affordable housing to promote diversity and inclusivity in the Trade’s recruitment.


Established in 1837, we have provided care and support to book trade people for over 180 years. In 2016 we merged with Bookbinders Charitable Society (founded 1830) and we are proud that two such venerable book trade welfare organisations have been able to combine their resources for the greater benefit of the trades and the people who work in them.


We aim to ensure that current and potential book trade colleagues know how, where and when to approach The Book Trade Charity for confidential and sympathetic support and advice, and to help relieve need, personal hardship and distress caused by:

  • financial difficulties, including debt, rent arrears and poverty

  • low household income and lack of savings for emergencies and unexpected events

  • illness (including acute, long-term or terminal)

  • disability, carer situations or bereavement

  • the impact of redundancy or unemployment

  • other adverse social or economic issues

We also support, in practical ways, the industry’s efforts to promote diversity and encourage inclusivity in recruitment and staff retention, particularly supporting young people from non-traditional backgrounds and those geographically distant from employment opportunities.


Open – transparent and accessible to all with a book trade connection Knowledgeable – about how best to support and encourage individuals and families in need Trustworthy – truthful, honest, confidential and compassionate with beneficiaries, residents and anyone who asks for help Flexible – willing to consider new ways to help, and new areas in which to provide support within our overall charitable objectives


Grants: We provide direct financial help (grants) for:

  • welfare needs, these can be regular or one-off, dependent on the applicant’s needs and circumstances

  • entry into The Book Trade, including interview costs (travel, accommodation, subsistence) and addressing any other financial barriers to entry applicants may identify

  • support for interns, where the internships are paid but the remuneration is not sufficient to allow applicants to take up such opportunities

  • retraining, particularly (but not exclusively) for those who are redundant, unemployed or facing insecure employment situations

  • Covid-related Hardship: a new Fund in 2020 was launched to support bookshops and bookshop staff (in particular) affected by the pandemic where income or employment became uncertain. Support can also be given to applicants from other areas of the trade: publishing, wholesaling/distribution, Literary Agencies. Bookbinding etc.


We also offer affordable Housing in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire and Whetstone, London N20 for all ages but particularly for young entrants to the trade, or long-term interns, who are not based in or near London and would not otherwise be able to afford to take up opportunities in the Capital.

For further information on any aspect of our work – or if you are in a more fortunate position, opportunities to support BTBS – visit our website: or email, or telephone 01923 263128.

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