Fighting to Bring Literacy to the World

Fighting to Bring Literacy to the WorldIf 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 – 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.First and foremost, we want to acknowledge our Notre Dame classmate and co-founder Jeff Kurtzman. Jeff left a high-paying banking job to help build a business that could help build a better world.  The three of us worked day and night together for years to get the company off the ground on a shoestring. Jeff loves the startup phase, and eventually left BWB to help start other ventures, most recently a project to help save lives by getting incubators to remote and disaster-stricken places.

Better World Books Co-Founders Jeff Kurtzman, Xavier Helgesen, and Kreece FuchsBetter World Books Co-Founders
Jeff Kurtzman, Xavier Helgesen, and Kreece Fuchs

Far from just being the meeting place of the founders, Notre Dame also brought David Murphy, Paco Miller, Mary Murphy, and Andy Warzon into the fold. Taking great professional risk they joined a young company and helped build that crucial bridge from great idea to great company.

There are far more people to thank than space available, but a few others who helped in the early days deserve special mention here. Gary Gigot, for his vision in funding Notre Dame’s entrepreneurship center and business plan competition, which provided a launching ground. Fellow Domers Jon Rosemeyer and Sam Derheimer who worked insane hours for a pittance to help get those early books shelved. Jay Caponigro, formerly of the Robinson Center, who let us give a crazy idea a shot in his back room. Joe Sheperd, who gave the largest of many generous loans over the lean summers of the early years. Aaron King, employee number one and honorary member of Notre Dame Ultimate Frisbee. And everyone else who believed in fighting for a literate world that found a way to help.

What would you fight for?  (See all the Notre Dame “What Would You Fight For?” videos)

All the best,
Xavier and Kreece


  1. This is a proud day for the Notre Dame Family. We join you in celebrating the power of commerce to transform the world, in Asking More of Business ™, and in fighting for global literacy. Congratulations to ND Class of 2001 alums Kreece and Xavier, and the entire BWB Family!

  2. How do you either sell or donate books to this?

  3. Why wasnt Kurtzman on the segment during the game?

  4. Mary Anne and Gil Rodriguez, M.D. '63 says:

    How to contribute books?

  5. Sharon Benson says:

    As a parent of two Notre Dame students right now it was amazing to see what you have created. A wonderful video to watch. Congratulations! Naturally I have just ordered some books from Better World Books. Now I know where I will be purchasing my books for my Book Club meetings!

  6. How to contribute books?

  7. This link will tell you all you need to know about donating or selling your books here at BWB! Thanks for asking – we appreciate it!

  8. Pingback: Twesigye Jackson Kaguri talks about The Price of Stones « Bookpod

  9. Dotty Miller says:

    Saw the video during the game Saturday night while in a bar…As soon as the video started, I gasped and got so excited that everyone looked at me! I said, “I buy books from them!”
    …let’s see if a bunch of drunks start buying or selling on your site! Hey, I did my part!

  10. Congratulations guys! On behalf of Books For Africa,we thank you for all of the help you have provided in sending millions and millions of books across the African continent. From small beginnings you’ve become our bigges donor and biggest supplier of university books for shipment to Africa. On behalf of all the kids and university students reading books in Africa, thanks!

  11. I order TONS of used books from Better World Books, and I am glad be doing a small action to fight illiteracy.
    I read in the paper that over 90 percent of women in Afghanistan are illiterate — truly heartbreaking.

  12. What a great business! I couldn’t help but think how my company can help. We are an outsourcing contact center and fulfillment business that works with both nonprofit and for profit clients. Makes me proud to e an Irish Alum!

  13. Karen Schliep says:

    Congrats X! What an amazing company you have all built!

  14. Linda King -- Proud Mother says:

    Congratulations! And glad to see you included the name of the wonderful Aaron King!

  15. Congrats from your friends at Room to Read! We are proud to work with you!

    John Wood
    Founder and Board Chair
    Room to Read

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