Rural Librarian: December 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Better World Books - Creative Book Recycling That Earns Cash For Your Library

In my continued quest to find alternative revenue streams for the Pioneer Memorial Public Library, I have connected with Better World Books. A fellow librarian tipped me off about BWB, so I made contact and have set up an account. Here's how it works:

Once you sign an agreement the portal to order shipping supplies is open to your library or school. BWB sends free boxes and shipping labels that makes this book recycling program even more attractive. To make sure you are not creating a larger carbon footprint through excessive shipping, BWB asks that you send no less than six to twenty-five boxes of books at a time. When you have filled up your boxes all you have to do is call UPS for a pick up and the shipping is prepaid by BWB.

Better World Books sells these books on 50 online sites and sends your school or library 15% of the profits. An additional 5% goes to the charity of your choice. While 15% may not seem like a lot, BWB is keeping books out of landfills and creatively recycling these materials by reselling them online. The customer service representative that I spoke to said that they process about half a million books a week! That is a mind boggling figure.

Founded in 2002 by three friends from the University of Notre Dame To quote from their website, "So far, the company has converted more than 58 million books into over $10.4 million in funding for literacy and education. In the process, we’ve also diverted more than 40,000 tons of books from landfills." That's a financial and environmental coup by any standards.

There are a few rules that you need to adhere to in packing up books for BWB such as:

* no Reader's Digest Condensed books

* no Who's Who books

* no damaged or marked-up books

* no Harlequin Romance novels

* nothing from the Modern Library series.

BWB suggests that these be recycled locally, while some may recommend these books as excellent fire starters. ;-)

I'll report back at a later date as to the profits we have received from Better World Books. Even if it's not a lot, it makes me feel good to know that these books may be reused and reread by people who need them or want them. I think of Better World Books as good reading karma.

If you have books to donate to the Pioneer Memorial Library in Randolph County, West Virginia, please feel free to stop by during normal business hours to drop off your books. If you have a larger donation, please call me at 304-227-4788 and I can make arrangements to pick up your books in my trusty Subaru.