– Promoting Global Literacy

BetterWorldBooks.comChanging the world one book at a time, is a site founded by three Stanford University graduates whose goal is to improve global literacy rates and reduce landfill waste.

Better World Books runs used text book drives across the country, particularly on college campuses, and claims to have kept over 6,454 tons of books so far from being dumped in landfills. Better World Books is a “self-sustaining, for-profit venture,” not a non-profit. The site sells donated books for cheap via their online store, and donates profits to literacy initiatives around the world. The supported organizations include Books for Africa, Room to Read, and the New Orleans Public Library Foundation. According to, so far over 11.4 million books have been collected, and over $2.75 million has been raised for over 80 literacy and education non-profits. To offset the environmental impact caused by shipping donated books to their warehouse and then to the online buyers, Better World Books purchases carbon credits – more than 2,376 tons worth to date. In Their Own Words

“Better World Books capitalizes on the value of the book to fund and support literacy initiatives locally, nationally, and around the world.

We believe that literacy gives people water to drink, imparts knowledge to eliminate disease, and develops self-esteem that enables people to make their mark on the world.”

Why It Might Be A Killer

Better World Books already boasts impressive statistics for books collected, donations made to literacy initiatives, landfill waste prevented, carbon credits purchased, etc. The site is clearly making an impact, and the more it grows and makes its name known, the more likely individuals will be to get involved in on-campus book drives, to donate books, etc. Online text book shoppers will also be attracted to the online store because the prices are reasonable and you get to feel good about helping a worthy mission.

Some Questions About

Will some people be turned off by the fact that Better World Books is fact a for-profit venture? Do the individuals getting involved with donations or purchasing used text books all grasp that it is not actually a non-profit (as one might assume at first)? Are many of the books donated already out-of-date, given how often text books seem to come out with new editions?