Registered Since: 2008-09-29 22:58:49
Posts by Xavier:
Posted by Xavier on 12.23.2010 at 4:44 pm
From the beginning, we have had a goal to make Better World Books the world’s best online bookstore. A critical part of this has been affordable global shipping. As we have grown, we realized it became possible for us to offer our worldwide customers the same thing our USA customers enjoy: free shipping!
In order to achieve this, we have begun to take the weight of the books into account when we price them. This means that you will generally see paperback books being very affordable, hardcovers slightly more expensive, and some heavy textbooks significantly more expensive. Overall, you will still save an average of over 50% off the original prices on our used books.
We also have taken the opportunity to upgrade EVERY order to international priority shipping. In general, this will mean even faster and more reliable international shipping, although we were already upgrading some of you behind the scenes.
This is a big step, but it is just the beginning. We have plans for support for more currencies, more payment methods and even better delivery service for certain markets. Keep an eye on the site in this coming year.
Please write and let us know how we are doing. We love to hear from you!
Xavier and Kreece
Co-founders of Better World Books
14 Comments » | Tagged Company News
Posted by Xavier on 09.24.2010 at 3:58 pm
If you are reading this post, there is more than a fighting chance (groan) that you saw our recent feature on national television during the Notre Dame game. If not, you can check out the video below. Notre Dame is highlighting the research, scholarly achievements, and social initiatives of Notre Dame faculty, students and alumni with its “What Would You Fight For” campaign. We couldn’t be prouder to have been featured.
We’re fighting to bring books to those who need them and to end illiteracy in the world. And now we’d like to invite you to join the movement to build a better world together. What can you do to help? First, help spread the word by ‘liking’ us on Facebook. And second, next time you’re shopping for books, please shop BetterWorldBooks.com – you get excellent selection, amazing service, free shipping and best of all, every purchase helps fund literacy initiatives worldwide. Give us a try — we appreciate the opportunity to earn your trust and make you a customer for life!
Of course there’s way more to the story than we could squeeze into a two minute video. As two of the original co-founders, we are thrilled to tell the story but we didn’t do this alone. It’s important for us to to acknowledge everyone who was a part of building Better World Books and we want to share the bigger story with you. Read more…
15 Comments » | Tagged Uncategorized
Posted by Xavier on 02.12.2009 at 4:27 pm
The following message sent from your e-mail account to “firstname.lastname@example.org” has been blocked because it contains inappropriate language. Please remove any inappropriate language and resend the message.From: email@example.com
Subject: Your order has been shipped!
Message: B499466660000.000000000001.0001.mmlState of South Dakota K-12 Data Center
2 Comments » | Tagged Uncategorized
Posted by Xavier on 01.23.2009 at 12:15 pm
To the stakeholders of Better World Books:
To this point in its history, Better World Books has posted a cumulative loss. In short, more money has been spent than has been earned, sacrificing short-term profitability for long-term growth. We’re hardly the first company to do this: Amazon lost over $1 Billion before it turned the corner. We do not have a billion dollar cushion. We have neither a dot-com bubble nor wealthy founders to draw upon to fund continued losses. As a responsible B Corporation, we have succeeded in many ways: creating jobs, funding literacy, and saving books from landfills. Economically, the company has grown revenue year-over-year in a way that very few businesses have. But towards the goal of becoming a profitable enterprise, we have not yet succeeded. As a management team, we regret it deeply.
In a better economy, we may have grown our way to profitability or raised additional outside funding. As the world looks now, we see the very real possibility of a deepening worldwide recession and have to prepare for the worst. This means making sure that Better World Books supports itself and its future growth solely through the sale of books. As such, we’ve worked since November to implement a “profit improvement plan” that spanned every aspect of the business.
Many aspects of this profit improvement plan have been achieved over the past three months with significant improvements in productivity, decreases in expenses, and growth in sales on BetterWorld.com. Unfortunately, this only gets us part of the way to our goal. While we expect considerable sales growth and future operational improvements, they are far from certain and we can’t bet the company on them. Most of the expenses that are discretionary have already been cut. Regretfully, we have to get the rest of the way to profitability by reducing payroll.
There is no good or painless way to reduce payroll, but we tried to do it in a way that best fits with our company’s values. By instituting across-the-board salary cuts, at the suggestion of some employees, we saved 30-40 jobs. The salary cuts will be in place for at least six months. These cuts will be reviewed in August 2009 and our hope is that we can reinstate compensation to its previous levels if we are running profitably.
1. The salary of the founders and CEO will be cut by 20% for at least six months. VP’s will take a 15% pay cut for at least six months.
2. Other employees, both hourly and salaried, will take a 10% cut if they make over $30,000, or a 5% cut if they make $30,000 or less, for at least six months.
3. We will cut 42 full time positions across Indiana, Georgia and California. In most cases, the reduction will be a capable person who was working in a role that the company can no longer afford. In some cases, it was a relocation of mission to consolidate or save the company money. In no cases was it easy.
4. We are consolidating the marketing team to Atlanta to reduce costs and increase effectiveness.
Along with these announcements, we have refined our strategy to reflect that we will have to do more with less. It comes down simply to some things we will do a lot more of, some we will stop doing, and some we will maintain while focusing on profitability. Your supervisor will share this list with you and can discuss how it may change your role. As always, we encourage you to contact members of the leadership team directly with any questions, big or small.
Again, we empathize with you during these painful changes. We thank you for your continued support during this transition and for being a part of Better World Books.
5 Comments » | Tagged Uncategorized
Posted by Xavier on 01.22.2009 at 12:17 pm
I can’t wait to meet you! You sound like such a well read person. Although, I have to say, it sure has taken you a while! I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but how would you like to spend five months sandwiched between Hamlet (bipolar) and Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (pyromaniac)? At least Hamlet was an upgrade from that stupid book on brewing beer. How many times did the ol’ brewmaster have one too many and topple off our shelf at 2am?
I can’t wait to meet you! You sound like such a well read person. Although, I have to say, it sure has taken you a while! I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but how would you like to spend five months sandwiched between Walter the Farting Dog (oh, the stench) and Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (pyromaniac)? At least Walter was an upgrade from that stupid book on brewing beer. How many times did the ol’ brewmaster have one too many and topple off our shelf at 2am?
From: LindaCreated: 1/19/2009 3:53:17 PMTo: Better World BooksSubject: Mental illness – a poor subject to mockDear BetterWorld staff:While I am certain that your email below was intended in a humorous vein, I have to express my considerable disappointment in your making light of mental illness.I have bipolar disorder and am reasonably sure that my mother had it as well. She, unfortunately, was not properly diagnosed, and committed suicide in January of 1987.The following is taken from “emedicine® from WebMD: Bipolar Affective Disorder” and was written by Stephen Soreff, MD, President of Education Initiatives, Nottingham, NH; Faculty, Metropolitan College of Boston University, Boston, MA, and Lynne Alison McInnes, MD, Associate Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Department of Psychiatry and Human Genetics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine:Mortality/MorbidityBipolar disorder has significant morbidity and mortality rates. In the United States during the early part of the 1990s, the cost of lost productivity resulting from this bipolar disorder was estimated at approximately $15.5 billion annually. Approximately 25-50% of individuals with bipolar disorder attempt suicide, and 11% actually commit suicide.If I need to drive the point home further, perform this little test: line up a group of your friends or coworkers and have 1 in 4, or, worse yet, 1 in 2 step forward. In total, they represent the ratio of those who suffer from bipolar who will attempt suicide in their lifetimes.It serves as a painful illustration that bipolar is an inordinately poor choice of maladies of which to make jest.As much as I do love a good laugh, I would sincerely hope that you will revise your future shipping confirmations in such as way as to not belittle those who face the challenges of living with mental illness – not least of which is the stigma that mental illnesses are amusing – which they most certainly are not.In the past, I’d recommended your services highly to friends and colleagues. After receiving this email which perpetuates the stigma of mental illnesses, I regret having touted your services and philanthropic nature to people whose relationships I value.Should you choose to make a public apology to your customers for this error in judgment, I will continue to do business with you. Barring that, I will not only take my trade elsewhere, but will also notify my friends and colleagues of this less-than-amusing email and suggest that they also consider purchasing their books from other merchants.Sincerely,LindaSanta Clara, CA
8 Comments » | Tagged Uncategorized
Posted by Xavier on 12.23.2008 at 11:30 am
“Friends, Readers, Customers, lend me your eyes”
It’s not often you take the time to tell someone how important they are to you. So first things first, we’d like to say thanks for all you do. Literacy has been recognized as a human right for over 50 years, yet 1 in 7 people is still illiterate. Illiteracy is at the heart of poverty, hunger and war from the Congo to California. Six years ago, we were just two recent college grads running a single book drive, and we didn’t think we’d have much impact past the community center in South Bend. Since then you’ve taken us from Sudan to Brazil to Mexico, showing us the incredible power that social entrepreneurs can have in building a more literate world.
Since that first book drive, you have raised over $4.6 million for literacy by making the conscious choice to buy from Better World Books. Each book bought has been another book in the hands of someone like William from Malawi, (see attached picture) who built a windmill in his village solely based on a picture in a donated engineering book! Each book bought is another day that a girl in Vietnam goes to school (see other picture). Who knows what will she be capable of? There are too many more stories to tell and people to thank.
They say the best part of the holidays is giving, so this is the part where we ask you for a favor. It’s now, in these crazy economic times, we need your support more than ever. Anyone can help when times are good, but it’s these times of adversity when those who are without need us most. It’s hard to ask any more of you, so we’ll make this part easy with three things you can do to make an even bigger impact for those in need:
1. Watch the new video from Invisible Children to see why it matters where you buy your books.
2. Forward this e-mail to at least 10 friends & family. You’re our marketing department. Help us spread the word.
3. Buy BetterWorld.com gift certificates as gifts for your loved ones this Christmas. They get to choose from millions of new and used books while funding literacy. It’s the simplest way you can support our movement.
Without you, none of this would be possible. We wish you well these holidays and just wanted you to know that we’re thinking of you.
Thanks for all you do,
Xavier & Kreece, Founders of Better World Books
Posted by Xavier on 11.13.2008 at 5:34 pm
I had the pleasure of speaking to the 2008 Green Business Conference yesterday in my lovely home city of San Francisco. I was on a panel that addressed the way businesses and financial institutions were handled the crazy financial times we’re in. Let me tell you, people could not be more optimistic. With the lost credibilty of the world of high finance and greed, people are hungering for something more real and authentic. The Green Business community provides this in spades.
I would like to claim that I stole the show, but that honor goes hands down to Tom Szaky of Terracycle. In a true show of audacity, he proposed the elimination of the concept of waste in favor of “upcycling”. In his company, Caprisun pouches are turned into tote bags and old floppy disks into jot pads. What separates Tom is not just that he’s a visionary, but that he’s scaled his enterprise, growing over 100% a year and working with some of the biggest names in packaged goods.
Posted by Xavier on 10.13.2008 at 3:08 pm
David Murphy, CEO of Better World Books, and yours truly are speaking at the inaugural Social Capital Markets in San Francisco. This is truly a landmark event – the first conference I’ve ever heard of based on investing with a social impact.
David is speaking in a session on “pitching your ideas”. On the panel with David are:
Ben Black from New Cycle Capital. New Cycle just closed a $30 Million fund to invest in conscious companies.
Karyn Barsa, CEO of Investors Circle, was formerly CEO of Smith & Hawken and COO of Patagonia. Investors’ Circle is a network of socially conscious angel investors.
Moderating is Tess Reynolds from New Door Ventures.
Ben says that a warm introduction is key. In this day of LinkedIn and Facebook, any entrepreneur worth their salt ought to be able to make a connection with the funder you want.
Posted by Xavier on 10.07.2008 at 2:47 pm
In case you’ve been in some Rip Van Winkle-esque coma since the dot com days, the American economy is in free-fall right now. Its as though a 700 lbs. chicken has come home to roost in our San Francisco neighbor’s china shop. I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a little jumpy here at Better World Books. While many of you reading this may dispute it – books aren’t an “essential” item and are more likely to be cut from consumer spending when budgets are tight. We are hopeful, however, that the superior value of used books (especially those bought online) will make BetterWorld.com a more appealing option in this age of high gas prices.
We need to turn this economy around and I’m an ardent believer that a truly green economy is our answer. The economic opportunity to reuse items (such as the Better World Books model), to build renewable energy sources, and to make our homes and businesses more energy efficient is a trillion dollar opportunity that can’t be outsourced. I believe Better World Books is a perfect example of this. We’ve taken over an old packaging plant in post-industrial Mishawaka, Indiana and created a lot of jobs. These aren’t just your standard warehouse pick-and-pack. They include high-paying jobs in technology and analytics.
Posted by Xavier on 10.06.2008 at 2:21 pm
People’s perception of Better World Books’ marketing success, or lack thereof, always surprises me. Some people are stunned that we have established a nationwide college book drive campaign, partnerships with the nation’s top libraries, and millions of customers, while not having a marketing budget or even a marketing staff until the spring of last year. Others tell me, “wow, it’s awesome what you guys do, you really need to start telling people about it because I’ve never heard of you before.” The funny thing is, they’re both right.
People are so used to bad marketing that they often don’t recognize good marketing as marketing at all. Every time someone walks into our office, that is marketing. Every time they meet a member of the Better World Books team and have a positive impression, that is marketing. Every time a customer is flabbergasted, they are going to tell people, and that endorsement won’t cost us a dime. It’s awfully tough to fake authenticity and passion,and that’s why I believe that everyone in a company is working in marketing, whether they like it or not.
- Aaron King africa ARC betterworld.com better world books fund Better World Books in the field blog book drive book drives book reviews books books for africa bookstore campus chicago children's books conferences dana barrett david murphy green festival green for all hilarious posts Impact invisible children library literacy literacy statistics massachusetts Natasha National Center for Family Literacy NCFL off-topic Our Partners partner updates Pat Plonski Phi Theta Kappa podcast Poll Wednesday press room to read Show Us Some Love social entrepreneurship Spooky Book of the Day worldfund Xavier Helgesen
- Africa 2010 (10)
- Antiquarian Ramblings (9)
- Ask the Dust: Notes from the Rare Book Section (4)
- Author Podcast (48)
- Better World Book Club (20)
- Book & Author News (49)
- book club (4)
- Book Lists (108)
- Book Reviews (67)
- Books on the Big Screen (7)
- Company News (81)
- Contests (16)
- Dispatches from the Green House (47)
- Flabbergasted (15)
- From our Friends (84)
- holidays (21)
- Impact (179)
- Impact Vignette (5)
- In the News (22)
- LEAP (14)
- Literacy Trips (20)
- Our Partners (184)
- Poll Wednesday (19)
- Show Us Some Love (29)
- Social Enterprise (19)
- South America 2011 (6)
- The Man Behind the Curtain (22)
- Uncategorized (375)
- Video Impact Story (6)
- Week In Review (18)
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- April 2007
- March 2007
- February 2007
- January 2007
- December 2006
- November 2006
- October 2006
- September 2006
- August 2006
Latest Commentsmy all time favorite was "The Pokey Little Puppy." When I got older it was "Ali...
I loved all things Beverly Cleary when I was a kid. That and, of course, Little...
At about age nine, I fell in love with Louise Moeri's "A Horse for X.Y.Z." This ...
Don't forget Freddie the Pig....
Baby Island - Carol Ryrie Brink Una and Grubstreet - Prudence Andrew Miss ...