Better World Books

Better World Books
B Corporation
Industry Online bookseller
Founded 2002
Founder Christopher “Kreece” Fuchs
Xavier Helgesen
Jeff Kurtzman
Headquarters Mishawaka, Indiana;
Atlanta, Georgia;
Dunfermline, Scotland
Revenue $65 million[1]
Number of employees

Better World Books is an online for-profit bookseller of used and new books founded in 2002 by Christopher “Kreece” Fuchs, Xavier Helgesen and Jeff Kurtzman.[1] It is a B Labs-certified B corporation (not to be confused with a benefit corporation), which donates books or a percentage of its profit to literacy programs around the world.[2] By 2013, the company has donated an estimated $14 million under this program.[1] The company discloses information about funds raised, books re-used or recycled, and books donated in a ticker at the top of its website.[3][4]

Better World Books’ used book inventory comes primarily from regular book drives at over 1,800 colleges and universities and donations from over 3000 library systems, in addition to donation boxes found on corners and on college campuses.[5] The company has distribution warehouses in Mishawaka, Indiana and Dunfermline, Scotland.[1][6]


In 2001, shortly after their graduation from the University of Notre Dame, Better World Books founders Christopher Fuchs, Xavier Helgesen and Jeff Kurtzman sold their used college textbooks online.[7][8][9] The three then formulated a business plan using their experience selling books online.[7][8][9] In 2002, Fuchs and Helgesen held a book drive benefiting the Robinson Community Learning Center in South Bend, Indiana.[7][8][9] During the drive they collected and sold 2,000 books, which raised $20,000.[7][8][9] Half of the drive’s proceeds went to support literacy initiatives at the community center.[1]

In 2003, the three entered their business plan into the Notre Dame Social Venture Business Plan Competition, which was sponsored by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.[8] They won the competition and competition’s grand prize of $7,000 and mentorship from entrepreneur and IrishAngel David Murphy.[8] Murphy served as Better World Books president and CEO from 2004-2011 before leaving to direct Notre Dame's Master of Entrepreneurship program (ESTEEM).[6][8][10]

Better World Books acquired a US Small Business Administration-backed credit line in 2004.[7] In April 2008 Better World Books secured an additional $4.5 million in venture capital via Good Capital, LLC and 18 private investors.[11]

In 2008, the company opened an operation in Dunfermline, Scotland and started a UK website in 2010.[12][13][14][15][16]


Better World Books donates one book to Feed the Children, Books for Africa, or smaller donation recipients for each book sold on[17][18] Better World Books provides additional support to literacy non-profits including:


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Anne Field (May 4, 2013). "Secrets of a Successful Social Enterprise". Forbes. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  2. Kyle Westaway (December 2, 2011). "New Legal Structures for 'Social Entrepreneurs'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  3. Ashley Booker (August 29, 2013). "Students help fight illiteracy through online book vendor". The University Daily Kansan. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  4. Zak Stambor (November 30, 2011). "A broader mission". Internet Retailer. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  5. Kristi York Wooten (August 16, 2011). "Can Buying a Book Help Kids and the Environment?". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  6. 1 2 Gene Stowe (May 26, 2013). "A decade's worth of doing good". SouthBend Tribune. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Stephanie Elam (July 2, 2009). "Building better world a book at a time". CNN. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Elizabeth Station (Winter 2008). "Book Value". Notre Dame Business. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  9. 1 2 3 4 Doug DeLoach (August 19, 2011). "Doing good, doing well". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  10. "David Murphy Biography". University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 15 October 2014. External link in |website= (help)
  11. Good Capital, LLC (April 7, 2008). "Good-Capital-s-Social-Enterprise-Expansion-Fund-to-Invest-Up-to-2-5-Million-in-Better-World-Books". Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  12. "'Responsible' book seller opens UK online shop". IT Pro Portal. December 9, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  13. Zak Stambor (December 8, 2010). "Better World Books opens an e-commerce site in Britain". Internet Retailer. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  14. 1 2 3 4 Ina Steiner (December 9, 2010). "Better World Books Launches Site in UK". eCommerce Bytes. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  15. 1 2 3 4 "Better World Books launches UK retail website". UK Fundraising. December 8, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  16. 1 2 3 4 Charlotte Williams (September 12, 2012). "Better World Books launches UK site". The Bookseller. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  17. David Markiewicz (August 24, 2011). "Better World Books tries to do good by doing business". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  18. Ariel Schwartz. "Better World Books Takes a Page From Toms Shoes' "One For One" Playbook". Fast Company. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  19. Michel Marriott (August 21, 1991). "When Parents and Children Go to School Together". New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  20. 1 2 Nicholas D. Kristof (November 5, 2011). "His Libraries, 12,000 So Far, Change Lives". New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  21. Rebecca Bailey (June 21, 2007). "Dartmouth-based partnership aims to help English teaching in Latin America". Dartmouth News. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  22. Jamie Reysen (October 1, 2009). "Prison Book Program collects books for prisoners nationwide". JSONS. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  23. Dara Olmsted (November 5, 2010). "The Great American Book Drive". Boston. Archived from the original on April 16, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  24. Emily Sweeney (June 10, 2012). "Helping inmates roam world of words". Boston. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  25. Amanda Gray (February 18, 2011). "Robinson Center celebrates 10th anniversary". The Observer. Retrieved September 18, 2013.

External links

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