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 admin on 09.03.2008 at 11:28 am
It took hours upon hours of work, but we’re live on WorldofGood.com! WoG, an eBay initiative “…is the world’s first online marketplace to convene thousands of People Positive and Eco Positive sellers and products all in one place, empowering you to shop in ways that align with your personal values. Respected, independent organizations verify the positive impact every product has on people and the planet. Our goal is to ensure that every choice you make here is a good one.”
Awesome (check out their press).
We couldn’t be happier to be working with such a great collection of people, as we endeavor to make it easier for you to make the world a better place! (That sentence was a mess, but my heart’s in the right place, just read it until it makes sense).
If you go to their Resources section you can see that we’re offering over 100 titles in the realm of anything from social entrepreuring (a topic we know a little something about), to microfinance to women’s studies. Don’t just sit here, go check it out!
Posted by Jack on 08.20.2008 at 2:49 pm
Hey all, today I’m with the other betterworld.com guys at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose. I’m rocking the “social media” track and sitting through hour after hour of lectures about twitter, facebook and all the like. A certain book keeps coming up though and everyone I’ve spoken with says it’s a social media bible of sorts: Groundswell by Charlene Li.
I haven’t read it yet but consider it ordered. Anyone read this one?
Posted by Geoff on 07.18.2008 at 4:32 pm
If you’re looking for a memoir about addiction, scrap Frey’s book and check out An Officer and a Junkie. Here you’ll find a well-documented story about a humble guy named Mike Winder going through the horrible realities of addiction.
The story begins as his parents drop him off for his first day at West Point Military Academy and chronicles how he became addicted to various drugs. His drug use at first is reminiscent of a Hunter S. Thompson dope journey but changes course as the years of drugs take serious toll on his body, his mind and his relationships with family.
Mike and I grew up together and he was one of my first friends when my family moved to a new town. We often played hoops together, caused trouble here and there, but also stayed up late occasionally doing homework or studying for physics tests.
The fact is that An Officer and a Junkie simply has more value for people and society. Chances are that, whether you are aware of it or not, you know someone that is an alcoholic or a drug user and functions in his or her everyday life. Some people can even achieve at the highest of levels while simultaneously stuck in the snare of addiction (some examples – Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, and Mickey Mantle).
I saw my friend Mike during most of the stages of his book, from his acceptance to the Academy, his drug abuse, graduation, addiction and recovery. He lives with the physical and mental repercussions of his drug use everyday – his doctors assure him a lifelong sentence of antipsychotic and mood-stabilizing medication – but he is committed to sobriety and living a healthy life.
We all know about the James Frey Oprah debacle. If you think it’s important for a memoir to be true and want to read a good book, check out An Officer and a Junkie.
Which is more important in this case: the story or the truth?
Posted by admin on 05.23.2008 at 10:13 am
Maybe you haven’t seen the new site yet, that’s cool, we can still be friends, but seriously, you should check it out: www.betterworld.com. If you have, sneak those eyes down to the bottom right to the staff picks section. There we have a ton of suggestions to ease your searching soul, be it searching for high literary works (Eliot, Pynchon), style (Dior, Victorian era), horror (King), business books (the brothers Heath), or just a good read (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime anyone?) or Bengal poetry (not even going to try to type that author name, it’s not going to go well).
Regardless of what you’re into, you’re going to find a good suggestion and a good price at the site, so check it out. Also, expect more reviews and more staff picks coming soon.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, betterworld.com, staff picks
Posted by Jack on 05.21.2008 at 10:31 am
OK, ok, I know what you’re thinking: “Jack, what did you expect me to do while you were gone? How can I go on without a BetterWorldBlog update?” and I hear you, I do. Trouble is, with the awesomeness that was Chicago this weekend, I was real busy, don’t worry, we’re going to work through this, and let me tell you how.
First, I made you some things, interviews and stuff that are going to be on the new site. See, I still dig you.
Second, I’ve got photos to prove I was at work, they’re not all up yet, but they’re comin, just you wait. In fact, I’ve got video. Yup, video.
Third, there’s more exclusive content coming, just for you, because we’re going to do this together. By the way, have you seen www.betterworld.com lately? I’ve been real busy, but I think it’s coming together. I’m doing it for you reader. Did Van Gogh’s screaming alien people complain that his masterpiece was taking too long? I think not!
Your bookstore loves you,
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, betterworld.com, blog
Posted by admin on 01.25.2008 at 11:13 am
Before I was writing here on the blog and running book drives around the northeast of the US and Canada I was busy being a music major, doing everything from conducting orchestras to playing classical guitar concerts to a regular Wednesday gig at a pub in Ireland. Even these days I’ve been known to write the occasional piece for a festival or dance.
Anyway, because of this huge part of my life, I tend to read books that either have to do with music or my other love (modernist literature, particularly turn of the 20th century British lit).
Luckily there has hardly been a better time to be into the former as there are a few great new books for me to suggest that you read (as usual click the cover to check it out at www.BetterWorld.com ):
The one most recently reviewed in the Sunday New York Times Book Review: Grand Obsession. This text, by Perri Knize describes her search for the perfect piano that takes her on a journey all over geographically and mentally. It’s an entertaining and engaging story that will have you longing to play, be it chopsticks or Chopin.
Not being a piano player didn’t take away from my enjoyment of Grand Obsession, but I certainly was more apt to pick up Practicing: A Musician’s Return to Music. I’ve heard great thing but haven’t cracked this one open yet. I’ll review it soon for those of you itching for a book about a classical guitarist who returns after years away from the instrument (tell me almost everyone doesn’t regret not continuing their _____ lessons as a kid).
Last is a book I’m just getting through right now called This is Your Brain On Music. This book approaches music with a far more scientific approach than the previous two. This book deals with layman’s versions of how the brain works in it’s approach to listening to, reacting to and generally engaging with music. Anyone who can understand the haunting quality of a single note or chord or finds themselves playing the same songs over and over needs to check this one out.
Posted by Xavier on 01.22.2008 at 4:56 pm
What a crazy five days it has been! We arrived at the Sundance Film Festival the day before it started on January 16. We’d been asked to take part in The Giving Suite at Sundance Film Festival, which takes the concept of an exclusive celebrity gifting suite and turns it on its head. At this Suite, everyone is welcome, and people buy eco-friendly products (and books!) with 100% of proceeds going to charity.
We’re hoping to fund a lot of girls’ scholarships through Room to Read‘s “Room to Grow” program. We set up a mini-bookshop of about 150 carefully selected titles, and of course people could shop BetterWorld.com if they couldn’t find something on the shelves.
I’ll be posting much more from the festival soon. For now, a few photos:
Some new friends showing off their “Speak softly and carry a bag of books.” tote bags from Better World Books.
Well Read indeed! The Book Throne: it’s everywhere you want to be.
Posted by admin on 01.14.2008 at 10:34 am
Something we all have to contend with, however, if we live outside the public transport savvy cities, as so many do, is that we need a car (I usually ride my bike everywhere, but considering there are 6 inches of snow in Boston right now, you can be assured I’ll be borrowing my roommates car for that grocery store trip…).
OK, so you need a car. Every car dealer out there is telling you that they’re green friendly and the numbers of “City MPG” or “Highway MPG” (sidebar: is this known as “Freeway MPG” in California?) are dizzying. Let “GOOD Magazine” break it down a bit for you, to see which car company talks the talk AND walks the walk in this article.
Also, the future plans for green cars from each company in the graph will warm your heart, and hopefully not completely empty your wallet…
(p.s. If you don’t know about GOOD, they give all of your money to non-profits if you subscribe to their magazine. Check out their info.
Honda’s (not yet released) Concept Car, runs on hydrogen
fuel cell, thereby creating 0 emissions!
[Image courtesy of MSNBC]
If not in the car market, or looking for something a bit different, look into this book at www.BetterWorld.com with some suggestions for making your daily life a little bit greener (and get it shipped carbon neutral, natch):
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, betterworld.com, books, green reading, off-topic
Posted by admin on 01.10.2008 at 9:46 am
The now oft-photographed co-founder Xavier, caught
in his 5 minutes of sitting down time, on “the throne”
If you happen to be perusing CNET’s News Blog today (or if you like following the myriad links that we post), you’ll see a reference to a company you may recognize. Hailed as “Eco-Alternative to Amazon funds literacy programs” Better World Books gets a pat on the back for all the hard work we do (which isn’t why we do it, but it feels good sometimes).
The article begins with a story you may have heard before:
F. Xavier Helgesen had big dreams to build Web sites after graduating from Notre Dame in 2001 with an MIS degree, but then the dot-com industry crashed.
Instead he co-founded a company in 2002 that sells books otherwise destined for the landfill, sends some of the proceeds to literacy groups, and uses carbon-neutral shipping…
and goes on with the good news of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, including our free shipping in the US, our flat rate $2.97 for international orders and how we use not just no-value books but use discarded, once landfill bound library shelving to store the books (680,000 lbs of library shelving, in fact).
Check out the full article.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, betterworld.com, CNET, press, Xavier Helgesen
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