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Better World Books

Updated on July 16, 2014
Better World Books Logo
Better World Books Logo

Better World Books is a new and used bookstore that lives up to its name. They believe a successful business is not only based on its profits, but also the effect it has on the world.

The simplest way in which they and you can have an impact is for every book purchased they will donate a book to someone in need. These books are donated through the nonprofit groups Books For Africa andFeed The Children. As of August 1, 2011 they have donated over 5 million books.

Better World Books Donation Box
Better World Books Donation Box

Although Better World Books is a for-profit company, a portion of the profits from every book sold goes to non-profit literacy programs around the world. They have partnered with over 80 literacy programs to help with their belief that a good education can break the cycle of poverty. As stated on their website, “they are committed to helping provide better lives and a chance for economic, social and political freedom through literacy”.

Their grant program, Literacy and Education in Action Program (LEAP), funds specific projects for literacy, education and libraries. These organizations write LEAP telling them what they plan to do with the money. The grant applications must explain how the organization will spend the money down to the dollar. LEAP then decides which projects will offer the most bang for their buck. These grant funds are separate from the money they have already set aside for library and nonprofit partners.

Better World Books helps the Environment
Better World Books helps the Environment

Better World Books is committed to reduce their environmental impact. They will never throw a book in the trash. This would just result in more landfill space being taken up. Any book that cannot be sold or donated will be recycled. Their recycling efforts go beyond books. As of the writing of this article they have reclaimed over 720,000 lbs. of metal shelving from libraries. Realizing that shipping books by mail creates a carbon footprint they give the option, for only a few extra cents, to ship “carbon balanced”. The extra money they charge goes to support the Tatanka Wind Farm, a renewable-energy project. Specifically they are donating to the projects in North and South Dakota.

Check out their site at You can shop for books or just find out more about them and the partners they work with.

Better World Books Drop Off Bin
Better World Books Drop Off Bin

Amazon Alternative

With Amazon trademarking shooting products with a white background, manipulating shipping to maximize profits at the expense of struggling authors and being sued for making it too easy for children to make purchases on their site, maybe it is time to start looking for a new place to find books.


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