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Books for a Better World

March 11, 2010

By Jennifer Chaky

I frequently have customers ask me what they can do with their used books. Here at the store, I started a book swap-shelf where locals can pop in and browse the books that have been left by others and drop off books that they are finished with. Books are just one of those things that should be passed on. It keeps books out of landfills/incinerators and spreads knowledge. What can be better than that?

Well, here is a website that took that idea to a world-wide level and is going beyond just sharing books: it is also supporting world literacy. At Better World Books individuals can actually sell their unwanted books using the buyback program. Simply type in the ISBN of each book you want to sell, and Better World Books will give you a price for each book and even pay for shipping to them (using carbon-offset shipping no less!). They then sell the books, with proceeds going to five major nonprofit literacy partners and over 80 literacy-based non-profits.

Jennifer Chaky is the owner of Go Lightly, Montclair New Jersey’s green-living store. She lives in Montclair with her daughter and menagerie of rescued animals.

And if you are shopping for books, you can browse the huge selection that will either come from Better World Books new or used, or from an independent bookseller partnering with BWB. They even have a database of local libraries that offer “online sidewalk sales” of discarded library books.

So when you’re doing your Spring cleaning, or next time you’re in the market for books, check out Better World Books and be a part of making the world better!

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