A number of UK authors and their publishers have joined together to raise money for Syrian refugees through the #BuyBooksForSyria campaign. The campaign aims to raise one million pounds for Oxfam's Syria Crisis Appeal through the sale of bestselling titles. Each participating author, through their publisher, has donated between 1,000 to 2,000 copies of one of their titles to Waterstones. The UK retailer will then label the books with a "Buy Books For Syria" sticker and donate 100 per cent of the profits to Oxfam.
The campaign was the idea of Waterstones managing director James Daunt and Profile Books' Mark Ellingham. Daunt spoke of the initiative, saying:
Everyone is foregoing profits - nobody is deducing a penny anywhere, including the distributors and the warehouses, who are doing it for free. Those authors we contacted directly gave us an answer in about three minutes - Victoria Hislop said yes in 30 seconds. This is simple and effective, and it should result in a lot more help...it only feels right that every single penny of each book sold will go straight to Oxfam.
Authors like Neil Gaiman, Hilary Mantel, David Nicholls, Khaled Hosseini, Bill Bryson, Ian Rankin, Philip Pullman, Salman Rushdie, Victoria Hislop, Caitlin Moran, and Marian Keyes are participating. Publishing companies such as Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster have also joined the campaign. Nicholls highlighted the need for public support in the "current absence of a long-term political solution" and said that "it's wonderful that booksellers, publishers, authors and readers have come together like this". Moran also spoke of the campaign, saying that "whilst the governments of this world still fail to come up with a solution tot his problem, I am proud to do as million of others have, and say 'we see you, we hear you, we will not let you suffer this alone. We promise - help is coming'".
One million pounds will go incredibly far to help refugees. Oxfam executive Mark Golding said that the money has the potential to "deliver clean water to another 150,000 people in Syria, or support to tens of thousands of people in Jordan".
This is the second time in as many months that those involved in the book industry have come together to help Syrian refugees. Near the beginning of September, author and recently announced Doctor Who spin-off Class writer Patrick Ness tweeted about the refugee crisis, promising to match donations up to ten thousand pounds. Within hours other writers, including John Green, Derek Landy, and Jojo Moyes made their own pledges to match donations. They raised over sixty thousand pounds in less than five hours, and over six hundred thousand pounds in total.