A Big Green Box Appears in Decatur

The for profit company gives part of its profits to charities.

This large neighborhood collection box is a place to donate books for literacy programs around the world.

Better World Books was founded in 2002 as a company that sold textbooks online. Since then, the company has been hosting book drives and collecting used books and textbooks through its network of college campuses and libraries. To date, it has converted more than 42 million books into almost $9 million in funding for literacy and education programs.

Through large green book bins like the one in Decatur, it also has donated more than 3 million books to literacy programs such as Books for Africa, Room to Read, Worldfund, the National Center for Family Literacy, and Invisible Children.

Here are some locations around metro Atlanta of addititional collection bins.

maya July 23, 2011 at 10:29 PM
I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by Fedex. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores.I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, http://BuzzSave.com
Karen Skellie July 24, 2011 at 04:53 PM
The Friends of the Decatur Library (a non-profit) are always willing to accept book donations in good condition for resale to benefit the library. Textbooks can go to Better World, but think of the library first!
Doug Robinson July 25, 2011 at 12:03 PM
Please do not confuse Better World Books with a charity. It is a "for profit" company which donates a small portion of its profits to charities, not much difference with most other corporations. My question, are they paying the City of Decatur for the sidewalk space? Eagle Eye Book Shop accepts donations and the proceeds go to support the Empty Stocking Fund.
S. BethTaylor July 30, 2011 at 05:29 PM
I wonder how the Better World Books bins were added around Decatur. I agree that this organization has had a lot of questions about the percentage of money they give to charity while using the word "charity" a lot on the bins. Many people believe that this company takes away much needed local funds and gives a small portion back (about 10 - 15% of profits) but keeps the majority of funds for their own profit. I wonder how the presence of the Better World Books was authorized.
S. BethTaylor August 01, 2011 at 03:25 AM
It is my understanding that perhaps the Decatur Education Foundation has brought the bins of this for-profit company to Decatur.
Erin Levin August 08, 2011 at 08:13 PM
Hi Karen. Thank you for this comment. We'd love to talk with you about helping support Friends of the Decatur Library. Many of our drop boxes in Atlanta help fund local libraries. Better World Books loves libraries. We work with over 2,500 libraries across the US, Canada, UK & Ireland. This would be a great way for us to work together as well. Please email us at donate@betterworldbooks.com to set up a time to chat. Here's more info on the drop box program: http://goo.gl/G5hzx Doug & Beth, thank you for reading this article and re-iterating that we are a for-profit social enterprise. We take pains to make this clear, describing ourselves as a for-profit social enterprise right on our drop boxes - we also avoid the use of the word ‘charity’ completely on our drop boxes to ensure there is no confusion. Unlike most corporations, we raise an average of 7-10% of used book revenue for our library & literacy partners at home and abroad. As a percent of revenue, that is 2,500 times more than the largest pure-profit corporate donors in the U.S.. We are about to hit the $10 million raised for library and literacy partners mark. As a social enterprise, we have a triple-bottom-line to serve people, planet and profit. By collecting books that may end up in the landfill and providing carbon-balanced shipping, we empower people around the world to get rid of their books wisely. Here is a link to learn more information about our impact: http://goo.gl/b9qFo Erin BWB Community
Erin Levin August 08, 2011 at 08:16 PM
I wanted to let you know I replied to your question below. Thank you!
Erin Levin August 08, 2011 at 08:16 PM
I wanted to let you know I replied to your comment below. Thank you!
Erin Levin August 08, 2011 at 08:16 PM
I wanted to let you know I replied to your question below. Thank you!
S. BethTaylor August 08, 2011 at 08:39 PM
I think having the word "donate" on 3 sides of the Large Green Bins is misleading. As you mention as well, a person who puts a book in is actually giving to a for-profit company which gives a lot of money away but also makes millions of dollars a year. I think if a more well known national company without a "charity sounding name", for example, "Barnes and Noble" said "donate here" and then got inventory to sell in that manner, it would be clearer that this is a bit confusing and murky. Many people believe that if they put a book in the Better World Books bin, they are giving all of it to charity---not just 10%. I think the word "donate" is misleading. When a book is donated to the library, the Salvation Army, or Captain Bombay's sponsored "Learning Tree" ( for women in India,) 100% of it is going to the agency which is serving the community. Many other companies donate a lot of money, time, and expertise to important causes including literacy. I appreciate that you donate as well. I just think Better World Books is "acquiring inventory" from people who think they are "donating to a charity.". I believe this impression is left by the combination of the location of bins--often near schools; the name of the company; and using the word "donate" so freely. Thanks for taking time to respond.


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