Posted by Jack on 08.28.2008 at 2:18 pm
You’ve heard of them, Jordan’s Bulls, Montana’s 49ers, Gretzky’s Oilers, Bird’s Celtics, Magic’s Lakers, the teams that any player hates to play because they know the odds are against them because that other team of stars is going to play all out until the buzzer sounds. At Riverfest in Niles Michigan, in the Dragon Boat Races, the town of Niles is that team. Reaping both the benefits of home [river] advantage and a team comprised of grizzly veterans and new rising talent, the deck was stacked against any competition. Niles is known for both experienced play and a solid farm system, bringing refined talent to the adult level from the highly competitive youth races. The Niles High School Band would hold up that dominance in the youth league, but in the adult race, change was in the air.
Better World Books came to Riverfest to sell books and engage in a great festival, they came to put a creatively designed float in the water, but most of all they came to win. Like a rookie in battle who is too ignorant to know to fear a war champion, Better World Books was the lowly infantry man to Niles’ Achilles; but unlike the lofty Greek, Niles had no perceivable weakness. Better World Books would have to simply be the better team.
Murmurs spread around the festival all day of a young upstart team, made up of heart and absolutely no talent whatsoever, a bookish crowd with warehouse tans that would take on the Olympic level competition of the iron-fisted Niles crowd. Could the tiny Better World Books boat stand against the wrath of the Dragon Boat embodiment of Posiedon himself?
The race started close, jitters clearly affecting Better World Books as the Viking like warriors of Niles stroked even and true. But slowly something changed. Cows lay down when it is going to rain–they just feel it in the air and react–so when all of the kids stopped playing and went to watch the river, the prescience of the youth was palpable; victory would be a cruel mistress today.
Only a few meters left, rowing beyond their own abilities, infused with the spirit of Michael Phelps, the scrappy squad of ARC stud, Jorge Fragoso, Howard Roark-esque architect Jaime Knabet, superstar receiver, Javier Castro and hard hitting Maintenance standout David Sherwood were joined by the husband and wife Majerek in an epic throwdown. Also, Better World Books saw promise in a few Niles folks who were left off the famed squad. It was those few crew members, the rejects, who had become the proverbial cornerstones of the squad. With this group they would stand strong, crushing through the ripples of the river and the mighty approach of the heroes of Niles, Michigan.
Better World Books: Ballerific
Life moves on, and as Herodotus said, “You can never step in the same river twice.” Jordan has retired and Montana is in the booth, and Niles, Michigan is left scratching their heads as to how a small upstart company came in and simultaneously sold books while taking the checkered flag at their own flagship event. Will they ever recover or are the nouveau riche of the Dragon Boat circuit set to become the next giants of the Mitten State scene? Only time will tell, but the pantheon of great teams will truly never be the same.
Posted by admin on 07.04.2008 at 4:36 pm
We’re live at Rothbury Music Festival! Our hi-jinx will be (roughly) recounted and hopefully you’ll get a (clean) image of what’s going on here.
Author signings. First things first Hunter Lovins, author of landmark Energy Unbound and most recently Natural Capitalism (we have signed copies and gave us a Top 10 Reading List!) came by followed by Winona LaDuke, author of Recovering the Sacred. But the storm was building, and it wasn’t for our first two ultra-respected authors…
A large black man, lanky but confident moving slides into the bookstore, not around the back to the signing table but straight to the front and asks for a Sharpie. A line of 75 has formed and more are being snagged by the antics of one Aaron King. He is Michael Franti He has put out DVDs, he has sold myriad CDs, and now he’s drawing hundreds of people for not just a book signing, but individual conversations, photos, and for every single person, a hug. His manager was concerned about how the line was moving and I responded, “Sorry, D’Arcy, admittedly we’re not quite used to author huggings.”
Used to it or not, it would go on for an hour followed by the man himself laying some knowledge on us to the tune of a top 5 book list and signing Ryan’s (real) guitar (I say real because earlier I won a Guitar Hero contest on stage, because I am that big of a nerd. I also just got in a discussion with an author about the merits of double dash vs. semicolon). Not too bad, I’d say.
The night will be punctuated with a movie in the tent, re-sorting the books (gotta make it look like we have more after we’ve pushed so much stock!), and rocking out to Diplo to the wee hours. Then tomorrow, more signings and more sales!
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, bookstore, hunter lovins, michael franti, rothbury
Posted by Jack on 07.04.2008 at 4:00 pm
We’re live at Rothbury Music Festival! Our hi-jinx will be (roughly) recounted and hopefully you’ll get a (clean) image of what’s going on here.
*We’re awoken at 6 AM to the sounds of the “yeah dude!” type guys next to us. They’ve pulled in at 5 and are trying to navigate a gigantic RV*
“YOU CAN’T MOVE IT WITH THE THINGS ON! THE THINGS, BRO! TH… **** IT NOW, THE THING’S BROKEN!”
*One of us leaves their tent*: Guys, it’s 6 AM, come on with the yelling.
(White hat brigade): WHATEVER DUDE, WE’RE GONNA BE PARTYING ALL WEEK! COLLEGE, WOOOO! [end not actually said, just implied]
So 6am it is. We stagger over to our area and setup our supersweet bookselling area. We’re 8 strong (Me, Geoff, David, Kelly, Jaime, Aaron, Jesse, Ryan) and we’re ready to move some books and engage in the nebulously metric’d activity that is “brand awareness and customer outreach.” We’re not exactly sure how that’s going to work, but dammit we’ve got a lot of shirts, buttons and stickers and a case of Diet Coke and I’m pretty sure the mixture is going to work.
On the other hand, our nutritional sustenance was hand selected by an architect from Chile and the head of Customer Service and they’ve decided that we need (actual numbers, keep in mind this is 8 people for 5 days):
48 Hamburger/Hot Dog Buns
16 Cans of Baked Beans (no can opener)
60 Red Bulls
Two boxes of Cheerios
60 packets of Instant Oatmeal
The first day we come out strong, books are being sold, shirts are being worn, hula hoops are being… hula hooped(?)… and necks are being sunburned while hippies and college lads and lasses of all shapes, sizes and ages mill around the store taking our awesome selection of books (thanks Shannon and Kelly!) while we run around handing out discounts and put in 9 hours of in yo face marketing. The workday ends at 8 PM, Disco Biscuits begin and the rest is left for another blog but I’ll tell you that many more stickers were given out and many a friendly discussion continued.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, bookstore, festival, idiocy, rothbury
Posted by Jack on 07.04.2008 at 3:38 pm
We’re live at Our hi-jinx will be (roughly) recounted and hopefully you’ll get a (clean) image of what’s going on here.
We begin our journey by driving due north from the Green House in South Bend. We’re driving for a ways when Jesse and Aaron decide it’s time for some food, so we GPS the nearest place and in our attempt to wade through the McDonalds and Burger Kings of the world we see “Sidetrack Bar and Grill.” Now you would think that the “Sidetrack” might not be the most convenient place to go eat, per se, but at this point collective hunger reigns and after the previous night of Taco Bell owning my stomach, Sidetrack it is.
We’re 10 miles off the highway and we still haven’t reached our destination but we’re definitely the residential area of the farmland boonies. At this point I believe we’re in a suburb of Muskegon, Michigan, so yeah, it’s a little Deliverance-esque. We roll up to the “restaurant” (actually a gutted house with a “patio” that’s the backyard) and go in. The only three people in the restaurant laugh aloud and say “You’re not from here, are you?” and we take a seat. There’s Poison on the jukebox, Jean Claude Van Damme (and not even Bloodsport, some other random one that starts with a semi-pornographic introduction and I think ultimately had to do with child slavery?) and when Jesse asks “Do many people come here from the highway?” the waitress looks at him like he’s crazy. He might be, but that’s not going to help us here.
We pay our bill, take a photo and it’s time to roll out. We wade through crazy storms and a system of registration that’s running like a well-baked machine and finally pull up to our campsite. Tuckered out from the excitement of unloading books and setting up tents in the rain we crash like a plane out of fuel. Rothbury has officially begun.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, bookstore, Michigan, rothbury festival
Posted by admin on 10.16.2007 at 7:30 am
My adventure began in Greeley, CO at the Phi Theta Kappa Colorado Region Conference. Beforehand, Ron Fay, Phi Theta Kappa advisor at Aims Community College, and coordinator of the most successful Phi Theta Kappa drive in the Rocky Mountain Region (81 cartons this spring!) gave me a great tour of the campus.
The conference was great fun and inspired many new Phi Theta Kappa groups to get involved with Better World Books. After talking to each other and hearing of how successful the Phi Theta Kappas at Pikes Peaks Community College (35 cartons!), Arapahoe Community College (37 cartons!), and Colorado Mountain College-Alpine (32 cartons!) and others were this year. Thank you all for the opportunity to attend.
The trip to Colorado gave me the opportunity to visit many other great schools as well.
CU-Boulder had an amazing book drive this spring, coordinated by Alternative Breaks. Brie, the drive coordinator, has handled the book drive for 3 semesters and brought in 105 cartons this spring promoting solely with e-mails and using only two collection bins! This spring we are planning to get another student group involved and double the number of promotion methods and collection bins – Go Buffaloes! Let’s see 210 cartons for literacy!
Golden Key and Mortar Board are planning to take the reins of a drive at CSU-Ft. Collins. Not to play off of an old rivalry, but I think CSU could compete well with CU-Boulder’s spring book drive — they have an incredibly motivated group of coordinators and I’m excited to see how successful this drive can become.
I was also able to visit Front Range Community College–Larimer, where the Office of Student Life will begin coordinating numerous student groups on campus for a successful drive. These groups will be responsible for varied aspects of the book drive and each will have the opportunity to table in the Student Center. This should be a great way for the student groups to increase membership while supporting literacy!
Thank you, everyone, for the opportunity to visit! I’ve had an awesome time meeting everyone and becoming more familiar with your campuses and experiencing the beauty of Colorado!
Posted by admin on 08.29.2007 at 7:38 pm
This past year Villanova University’s Habitat for Humanity in conjunction with the Villanova bookstore collected the surplus books on their campus to support Books for Africa.
The word spread so completely on campus that Villanova staff later dropped off books at our collection center over the summer while in Indiana .
Read their impressions of Better World Books in action:
“I wanted to let you know that I did end up stopping by Better World Books on my way to Chicago . The organization is wonderful and they were very helpful taking my books and asked for the organization who informed me of them. I would definitely encourage Villanova to use them for a book drive in the future – they were very efficient and organized. I feel like it’s so cool seeing a place you donate to, up close and personal, so I am passing along these photos!”
“My club adviser for Habitat sent me pictures of your center in Indiana from a colleague of hers who also went to drop off boxes. She returned boasting about the large scale organization and incredible mission statement of Better World Books-and the pictures were really something to see. I was surprised at just how many books you had! I just wanted to send that back to you and let you know again how happy we are to be working with you and how everyone who learns more about BWB is only that much more impressed with it.”
Posted by admin on 05.25.2007 at 12:44 pm
Melanie Brooks, the Publications Coordinator at the UMaine Bookstore in Orono just wrote up this great article about the store’s partnership with CASA (Central American Service Association), a student group dedicated to helping communities in Honduras :
The University Bookstore has been involved with Better World Books for two years, helping CASA raise over $3,600. Better World Books is a positive alternative to throwing away books that have little to no value at buyback.
Many bookstores across the country see Better World Books as competition, but not us. Better World Books sells books online that UMaine students can’t use – and a portion of that sale helps to benefit CASA.
“I love the fact that our bookstore at University of Maine has a great relationship with Better World Books . It is such a great organization. We all can benefit from it. Being part of the book drive helps CASA achieve our financial goals for Honduras . It’s just amazing what simple steps of recycling can mean to a community and the environment,” says Danijela Krsmanovic, UMaine sophomore and president of CASA.
The University of Maine bookstore spends a great deal of energy to partner with different organizations on campus that have an altruistic motive. Better World Books is just one example of how student organizations and the University Bookstore successfully work together to promote awareness and community relations.
While the bookstore collects the books, it’s really CASA that does all the work. They come to collect the books in boxes we provide and ship them out on their own. For very little work on our end we get rid of unwanted books and help out a wonderful student organization at the same time. If only everything could be this easy!
Many thanks to Melanie Brooks, David Hazen, Bill Hockensmith, Marisa Schrock and all of the bookstore staff for their wonderful help & participation! Also, huge thanks to Danijela Krsmanovic (that’s her in the photo below!), Amber Gallant, Kathleen March, Emin Okutan and all of the CASA & Alpha Kappa Psi students who have helped spread the word, pack up books & make the book drive a great success! The books collected in their drive not only help CASA, but also make great positive impact on our Latin American literacy partner, Worldfund, helping them fund high-quality education for impoverished children.
1 Comment » | Tagged Uncategorized, book drive, bookstore, campus, CASA, Maine, Orono, University of Maine
Posted by admin on 04.11.2007 at 4:11 pm
Hi All!! I hope everyone’s semester is moving along beautifully and we’re all getting excited for BOOK DRIVES!! I received this letter from an owner of Beat the Bookstore, and we at BWB thought it was so kind we’d share it with the world. Beat the Bookstore is a rapidly growing used-book franchise; you might see one opening in your town soon! Please take note, Better World Books and Beat the Bookstore have no contractual agreement; we are just two businesses with high hopes of making every book count.
I actually donate to Better World Books through a student organization at Utah State University . As I have gotten to know the faculty sponsor/designated adult for the Golden Key Club, she has told me about the club and how they work with Better World Books . At the end of each buyback period, we truck the books to her office for distribution to you, I guess.
This actually works out great as a marketing and overall goodwill system for our store. We are the only store in Logan that provides value for textbooks that don’t get used again, and it’s possible because of Better World Books . I’m actually working on putting up signage in my store to advertise this. I know that the Golden Key Club receives payment for each book that Better World Books accepts, so the value is for all parties:
- Beat The Bookstore helps students get rid of their old books for a good cause
- The Golden Key Club gets an avenue for fundraising for their activities
- Better World Books gets to change the world through its programs
If you do have any signage, posters, or ideas of how to better publicize this relationship, would you be willing to part with it? Any business owner worth his or her salt in this world has to be involved in doing something for those who are less-fortunate, and I’m glad that I’ve got a way to contribute to a better future in a small way. If we can do more to promote Better World Books in the store, let me know.
Owner, Beat The Bookstore
2 Comments » | Tagged Uncategorized, beat the bookstore, book drive, bookstore, campus, Golden Key
Posted by admin on 11.16.2006 at 12:30 am
There are innumerable benefits to coordinating a campus book drive, for student leaders and bookstores alike. The most obvious, of course, is the tremendous amount of material and financial support that Better World Books is able to provide to our literacy partners as a result of their hard work.
For student organizations, spearheading a drive is not only a meaningful service project, but also a successful fundraiser, as well as a great way to generate some buzz and raise your profile on campus, which can lead to a greater recruitment turn out.
For bookstores, supporting a drive drives foot traffic to your store, and does wonders in terms of generating goodwill toward your store – particularly during buy-back, when it’s needed most. Many stores are taking the positive PR one step further, by providing bookstore scholarships or making donations to local charities with funds provided by BWB.
But in many cases, there are far greater – yet harder to measure – implications to coordinating a book drive. For example, many of the 900+ BWB book drives that took place last Spring were coordinated by Alternative Breaks groups. Alternative Breaks is an amazing organization that provides students with the opportunity to engage in week-long, intensive service-learning projects over Winter and/or Spring Break, as opposed to hitting the beach for a week of debauchery.
These groups often use the funding they’ve generated through their campus book drive to subsidize the expense of sending large groups of students to a distant locale for a week of service. Speaking from experience (I participated in 3 Alternative Breaks as an undergrad), I can tell you that some of the students who participate in these trips will have the most profound, defining experiences of their lives. Some of these students will be so deeply moved that they will alter their course of study and their chosen career paths. Some of them will choose a life of service as a direct result of having participated in an Alternative Break. Indeed, most of the choices I’ve made in my own professional life can be traced back to my first Alternative Break in 1997, when I traveled from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Atlanta, Georgia to work with the city’s homeless population.
So please, dig deeper. Look beyond the most obvious and immediate benefits of coordinating (or simply supporting) a campus book drive. There is such great potential in cultivating a civically engaged student body. One act – be it donating a book, coordinating a drive, or supporting a student organization that is – can set off a chain reaction that will dramatically affect the lives of far more people than you’ll ever know. Pay it forward.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, book drive, bookstore, campus, literacy
Posted by admin on 09.08.2006 at 6:53 am
The North Hennepin Community College Bookstore in Brooklyn Park, MN is an avid supporter of the Better World Books donation program. Tom Curtis, the Inventory/Freight/Web Ordering Specialist sent us this link to their website featuring the BWB program.
Please see below for an excerpt from an article featuring the bookstore’s BWB book drive effort which appeared in the Summer 2006 North Hennepin Community College class catalog.
“This year, during the spring buyback program, the bookstore collected 24 boxes of books – more than 1200 pounds – from students, staff and faculty. “It was a great donation for a worthy program,” said Jeanne Kiel, Bookstore Supervisor. “We’re hoping to send regular shipments of books to Better World Books, not just at buyback time.”
www.nhcc.edu Summer Magazine 2006 page 11
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