Better World Books has only been in existence for three years; but in that time, they have collected over 600,000 books and since 2003 they have funded the shipping of 500,000 books to Africa in partnership with Books For Africa.
Better World Books is able to do this because it has mobilized approximately 300 university campuses to run books drives around the country. They target the books that students are unable to sell back to their campus bookstores. Natasha Harris, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for Better World Books says “Although these books are considered to be ‘dead’ or of ‘no-value,’ we know that there is a great deal that can be done with them in fighting against global illiteracy.”
Better World Books helps to maximize the effectiveness of the campus book drives by providing the student groups conducting the drives with shipping materials such as: cartons, tape, shipping labels. They also provide them with marketing materials: posters, flyers and buttons. In addition to this, Better World Books offers guidance and advice to campus organizations in order to help make their book drives a success.
Better World Books raises funds to ship their books by selling those that can be sold. But their web site boasts: “Since Day we’ve always donated 100% of our profits after costs to charity.”
At their web site a visitor can purchase books as well as help to donate books. Like Amazon.com the site allows one to search for a book by an ISBN number, Author or Title.
In addition to donating books to African communities, Better World Books helps to build libraries in Nepal, India, Cambodia, Vietnam as well as other Asian countries
They have also partnered with local libraries in the U.S. and Goodwill Industries.
Along with the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, Better World Books is supporting Books For Africa drive that began in 2003 to collect and ship one Million books for Nigeria.
In its “Fall 2004 Newsletter” Books For Africa recognized Better World Books as its largest single donor for Fiscal Year 2005 with cash donations totaling $67,100 as well as helping Books For Africa collect 10 million books, a goal that was reached in October 2004.
Books For Africa Executive Director Pat Plonski. Said “We will have the capacity to ship hundreds of thousands of books to Africa as a direct result of this generous support by Better World Books.”
Proud of their relationship with Books for Africa Ms. Harris stated “In the three years of our existence, we have grown to be about 1/3 of Books For Africa's entire operating budget (and they are the largest shipper of donated books to Africa in the world), as well as their largest suppliers of college textbooks.”
Better World Books offers university students six ways to make a difference by helping to collect books.
1. By becoming a Campus Representative and organizing book drives
2. Starting a Bookstore program and collecting books that can not be sold
3. Starting a Library Program to help them market their discards
4. Starting a Thrift Store Program and forwarding books that can not be sold
5. Donating books personally
6. Donating money personally
Better World Books is an organization with a lot of punch. So drop by their web site at:
Fighting illiteracy has to become a high priority goal of the global community.