A parody history book about Yorkshire has raised thousands for foodbanks through sales on Amazon, thanks to a loophole that means that even when the book is heavily discounted, the same royalties are paid as when it’s full price.
Forgotten Yorkshire, from the spoof Tripe Marketing Board, usually costs £9.99 but was heavily discounted down to 99p – a 90% price reduction – on Amazon in the run up to Christmas, and again at the end of March. When it spotted that its royalties were unaffected, the Tripe Marketing Board decided to do something with the cash and, spotting a food bank in London that was raising funds to try and avoid closure, decided to donate to that. With that food bank reaching its target, the Tripe Marketing Board has since been supporting local food banks in Yorkshire.
The TMB has been encouraging people to buy as many copies as possible when the book is at the discounted price, donating £2 from the royalties of each sale. Promoting the opportunity as widely as possible, sales took off – before Christmas, almost 7,000 copies of the book were sold over a five-week period.
Usually, says the board’s Paul Etherington, they sell one or two copies a month.
“When we originally noticed the price drop, we thought it would affect our royalties. When this didn’t happen, we thought we needed to do something with this so when we saw the food bank in London that needed help, we decided to work with them.”
The TMB donated £10,150 to the Deptford-based Kath’s Place, a We Care food bank, as well as £1,250 to the Eaglesham Street Larder in Glasgow and £250 to the Your Pet food bank in Yorkshire.
“Kath’s Place then said they’d raised enough and suggested we found another food bank to work with, and we have since been supporting some in Yorkshire.”
The Welcome Centre in Huddersfield and the Food Aware CIC in South Yorkshire were each awarded £2,078 from royalties amassed from the sales in the run-up to Christmas.
Amazon then re-introduced the 90% discount on Forgotten Yorkshire at the end of March 2023. In the 10 days before the offer ended on 4 April, an additional £2,436 was raised for Food Aware.
Additional donations of £453 have also gone to the We Care food bank and £703 to the Food Aware CIC from funds raised in January 2023, as well as a discretionary payment of £250 to Food Bank for Whitby.
So far over £20,000 has been raised in total, including around £600 from a Crowdfunder campaign. The Tripe Marketing Board is also donating £2 for each copy of Forgotten Yorkshire purchased either from its website (where it is currently on offer at £2). The TMB is also encouraging people to give their copies to charity shops when they’ve finished with them, so the book can raise even more money for good causes.
Fundraising consultant John Thompson, who Etherington approached for a steer on how to promote the donation offer more widely, said it was something that could be replicated by others:
“It’s quite a novel approach, and one I think other fundraisers could benefit from by keeping an eye out for heavily discounted books and approaching authors to see if they’d be happy to split the royalties on the same basis that TMB does.”