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A Novel Story

Atlanta-based Better World Books makes giving back green - in more ways than one

The Backstory

It all started in 2001 when two friends graduated from Notre Dame and did not know what do to with their used textbooks. Their answer was to create a whole new way of doing business.  

Better World Books (BWB) is a for-profit social enterprise that collects and sells books online with each sale generating funds for literacy initiatives in the U.S. and around the world. With more than eight million new and used titles in stock, Better World Books is a self-sustaining company that balances the social, economic and environmental values of its stakeholders.

BWB diverts books from landfills by conducting book drives on 1,800 college campuses, and by collecting discards from over 2,000 libraries nationwide. And now, they want YOU to get on board their green, social business.

One little disclosure - I work as BWB’s Community Manager and selfishly want you be a part of our local community!

Likes for Books

Through August 15th, BWB has a social media campaign that makes giving back easier than ever. For every single new “like” on Facebookand “follow” on Twitter, the local social enterprise will donate a book to a child in need via their partners at Feed the Children. Please, share the literacy love to educate the world with just one click!

Green ‘Drop Box’ Movement

Did you know that 2 billion pounds of books each year are sent to the landfill? And 21 percent of people in the US are functionally illiterate.

Better World Books has a way to help address the environmental impact while also building advocacy around education and book donations. It's their Better World Books green drop box program. The program is completely free, will help raise funds for local businesses, will support literacy efforts around the world, will empower our local community and will bring heightened awareness to Atlanta’s wonderful programs, location and passionate commitment to improve our world. 

As you may have seen, BWB has around 200 big green book collection boxes around the city and is launching many more. Their philosophy? One parking spot can help change the world :).

A favorite neighborhood spot just placed a big green drop box.

“We love having a Better World Books drop box at Farmer D Organics because we want to help further the vision for a better world,” shares Daron ‘Farmer D’ Joffe.

How it works:

  • Businesses, schools and organizations’ choose a site at their location (the BWB drop box takes up less than half a parking space)
  • BWB places, services and maintains the collection box (they will ensure that the area immediately around the box is kept clean)
  • BWB provides phone, email & texting options for people to notify them when the drop box is full and come pick up the books
  • BWB then sorts the books they receive from the box, sell what they can through www.betterworldbooks.com and on their additional 24 affiliate marketplaces. Books that cannot be sold are lovingly donated or properly recycled. 
  • Each quarter, a percent of every book sold will go to the organization where the box is placed and another percent to their literacy partners at home and abroad (you choose which pre-approved non-profit will benefit)
  • If you are interesting in hosting a drop box, check out their book collection site here.

Banding Together

This summer, BWB was honored to partner with musicians around the world to spread awareness about the global literacy famine. With Ludacris and Dosomething.org, BWB collected 250,000 books from communities across America to raise funding for New Orleans education rebuilding through the Epic Book Drive.

They also partnered with number one selling indie-rock band Dispatch on their Amplifying Education summer tour. Fans filled school buses with books before the shows that are now being sold on www.betterworldbooks.com, also for New Orleans.

BWB is committed to actively living out their commitment to making this a better world through education and opportunity. They fund many of the great organizations on the front lines of eradicating poverty through education and take time out to visit them, includingInvisible Children, Worldfund, Room to Read, the National Center for Family Literacy and Books for Africa.

I was able to bring books from BWB via their partners at Books for Africa this summer to a school in the largest slum in Africa – Kibera, Kenya – that is also helped by our friends at the African Children’s Choir. Seeing the smile on a young girl’s face when she realized she could actually keep the book I handed her was priceless and something I am so excited to continue bringing to people at home and abroad together.

Super Secret Surprise

BWB estimates that on August 15th they will hit a huge moment in their company’s history – raising $10 million for their literacy and library non-profit partners.

To celebrate this exciting feat – which is all thanks to their supporters and customers – they are making a mysterious mystery announcement.

Stay tuned on their FacebookTwitter and Blog sites!

Erin Levin August 09, 2011 at 09:09 PM
Check out our Drop Box video: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=952595054726

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