Book-lovers are being asked to donate tomes to libraries after a council slashed its budget.

West Sussex County Council has been warned its actions could have an impact on charity shops in the county.

The Conservative administration is planning to cut 16% from its book-buying budget in 2012/13.

To make up the shortfall the council is now appealing for people to donate used books, and says it hopes to exceed the 7,000 received last year.

It has asked for hardbacks that are less than four years old and paperbacks less than two years old, and says any that are not suitable will be “sold or recycled”.

But Theresa Boyle, manager of the Oxfam Book Shop and online store in Worthing, said the move was a concern for charity shops.

She said: “I have noticed quite a few places putting out signs saying they want more books so they are obviously not getting enough.

"It’s not surprising if the council is asking for them as well.

“We get a lot of old books and would welcome the council passing them on to us. I certainly wouldn’t want them to be pulped if they could be sold on.”

Mrs Boyle said the Montague Street shop was always on the lookout for new books and volunteers.

Alan Goodman, team leader of West Sussex Library Service, said: “As the county council has been faced with making budget savings for the coming year, the fund allocated for buying books and other material for libraries has been reduced from £1.2 million in 2011/12 to £1 million in 2012/13.

“If a book is not suitable for library stock, we may be able to use it to generate some extra income to buy more books by selling it in a library or to a private recy- cling contractor.

“Because the scheme is very specifically targeted at newish books in good condition, we expect the vast majority of donations to be suitable for adding to stock.

“We know that many regular library users are book lovers who also use book- shops and charity shops – as a source to buy books and as somewhere to give their own unwanted books.

“We expect that this will continue. Many library users have donated books over the years and in fact 7,000 were added to library stock last year, without a campaign.”