ExLibris is back!

We're pleased to announce that Nottingham's masked booksellers, ExLibris, (members of the The Federation of Masked Booksellers) will be having another Megabooksale in 2022 (assuming the world isn't rocked by another covid variant). As we're getting on a bit, this may be our last Megabooksale!

During the two years that the Nottingham Megabooksale has been suspended, our stock has been building up till ExLibris Depot is bursting at the seams. There is also stock at our sub-depots (AKA friends' houses) and people have very kindly held onto donations for us, until we're ready. Expect therefore a lot of books.

For details, see the Upcoming book sales page.

In case you haven't heard of masked booksellers, we raise money for charity by selling unwanted books. People give us books or we try to be around charity shops when they are throwing out books they don't think they can sell, and libraries when they are throwing out books they don't think people want to read. These books would probably end up in landfill or - much worse - they could be pulped and turned into a biography of Nadine Dorries!

Since we started in 2006, ExLibris has raised £24636 for various mostly local charities. At our last Megabooksale in 2019, we raised a record £3619.

Copyright problem

You may have noticed that this web site has been down for a few weeks. This is because we were being pursued by a company called PicRights for displaying a picture credited to Agence France-Presse without paying them a licence fee. This picture was on BBC, so anything on BBC is fair game, right? Not right apparently, and this particular picture did have AFP in big letters, bottom right corner. The BBC web site also displays picture credits, I've since noticed! For what people think of PicRights and what PicRights think of themselves, see Trustpilot reviews.

There are apparently a number of outfits doing this. Some of the money they get will presumably go to the owner of the copyright and the rest to PicRights. This has been causing big problems for small businesses and charities everywhere. They wanted £1500 for this one picture!

We ignored PicRights for several months during which time we got e-mails and letters every few weeks. The tone of these communications was not threatening, but someone demanding a large amount of money periodically is unnerving enough. The last one included the sentence: "Unless you contact us or remit the payment within 14 days, we may withdraw the proposed fee and refer this matter to our outside legal partner to pursue other options". OK, that's threatening.

We were finally rescued by some extremely kind solicitors who wrote a letter to PicRights on our behalf, pro bono. PicRights replied that their action was perfectly justified but they had overcharged us and the amount should have been £79! They said we wouldn't have to pay them the £79.


Beware, therefore, all you webmasters out there... get that picture of the cat doing something excrutiatingly hilarious with a tortoise off all web sites under your command NOW!!! We're not sure of the status of pictures displayed on Facebook groups.


The Federation of Masked Booksellers is a free exchange for ideas and information useful to Masked Bookseller groups with the following aims:

Masked booksellers also believe that people who stick sticky stickers on books - eg "now only £4.99!" - should be gunned down without pity.

Masked Booksellers to the rescue

Disposing of an unwanted telly at the local waste disposal site, two off-duty Masked Booksellers pull up behind a car with an open tailgate. They can see some books in the car:

(Horrified) "Is he going to throw those books in the skip?"


The Masked Booksellers jump out of their car, approach the elderly man, who is just on the point of skipping some books and ask if they could have them instead. It's the classic moment that every Masked Bookseller hopes one day will happen to them! They explain briefly that they sell books for charity and the man says he used to take books to a charity shop until he got done for parking and the charity shop people refused to tell the traffic warden that he was unloading. He had already thrown some books in the skip but at least ExLibris get the rest (an eclectic mix, some in good condition, including a Japanese dictionary).

Book rescue. It's what we do. It's who we are. A Masked Bookseller must be ready to intervene at all times.


Whenever someone gives a donation of books in plastic boxes and doesn't want the boxes back, we tend to be gleeful. However... plastic boxes becomes brittle with time; they are not really designed to withstand a heavy load of books, so they can suddenly split or the bit you're holding can break off, leaving dangerously sharp edges (see above) and/or the box with its contents on your foot.

It is therefore recommended by FMB that work gloves should be worn when handling plastic boxes. Cracked or broken boxes should be discarded.

Here at FMB central, we're getting complaints from many member groups that book donations are being left outside FMB premises IN THE RAIN!! I know, hard to believe there are people around who could do that, and some of what we've been hearing is too painful to relate. All FMB groups are thankful for donations of books but: