Monday, April 1, 2013

Innovative Bookseller Better World Books Combines Labor Outsourcing With Book Donation

In the past I've reviewed Better World Books and some questions members of the bookselling community might have had about whether or not they... act like a business but pretend to be something else.
That question aside, they're doing something innovative and amazing to help folks get things done.
They have boxes you can use to donate books to them. The for-profit entity sells them, pays operating expenses, and a small percentage of the profits generated by selling the books goes to a charity. Last I checked, that charity was usually Books For Africa, but I haven't paid them that much attention recently.

Well, now you can put those donation boxes to work for more than creating jobs at Better World Books and giving folks in Africa stuff to read...

Here's a testimonial:

Tyrone S., Arizona
“In today’s day and age, who has time to walk their dog? So I hired a Drop Box for a full week. It just stood there. It doesn’t speak English, or at all. It’s a giant, inanimate green box.”"

but I haven't paid them t

Here's some ad copy promoting the product:
"As we continue to place book Drop Boxes around the country, we have come to realize the full potential of these marvelous constructions. 
Sure, they look nice.  Yes, they can hold approximately 800 books at a time.  And, of course, they attract well-read and environmentally-conscious consumers to every location that hosts one.  This is all common knowledge.  But they can be so much more!
So that’s why we are announcing our “Hire a Drop Box” program. You read that right—not rent. Hire.
Let us paint you a picture:
You’re heading to that company softball championship game. It’s the bottom of the ninth, and your star shortstop (let’s call her Christine From Quality Assurance) takes an injury. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can snag those line drives like Christine From Quality Assurance.
Or can they? Hire a Drop Box. Slap a glove and a hat on that thing. You may not have a star shortstop per se, but at least you won’t have to forfeit for not fielding enough players."

And, another testimonial:
Alice J., Ohio
“We needed a substitute teacher for a few days at the school where I work, so we tried a Drop Box. Guess what makes a great teacher? A human being. Not this thing, though. Who thought of this service? It makes very little sense.”

Alright, Bad Bookseller readers, get back to me with any reviews. Have these guys worked out for you in the past?
Looking forward to your feedback on this!


  1. Nice article. I think I loathe the people who utilize the various ubiquitous drop boxes somewhat even more than I loathe Better World Books. I mean, come on. It takes time to research a supposed charity, but isn't it worth it?
    Put the books you don't want in a weatherproof container on the side of the road if you don't want to lug them too far. A nice galvanized trash can?

  2. PS I'm al not fond of Bookfinder these days. They permit 20 listings of the same book, for example, by big-time sellers, including Better World Books. (Recently saw 10 or more listings - same book - WRONG publishing date). Bookfinder used to be such a good site. It was nice when they had standards.

    1. Nothing you're describing is new... they've taken feeds from the larger private online bookstores for YEARS.
      If you didn't notice marginal listings 5 years ago, I did.