3 Surprising Stats About Literacy—and How You Are Helping


Last Sunday was International Literacy Day: a time for reminding ourselves about the state of literacy around the world. Here it is at a glance, according to some high-level statistics from UNESCO.

17% of adults are still not literate.

Approximately 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills. Gender equality issues figure prominently into this statistic as well, as about two thirds of this figure is comprised of women. At Better World Books, we believe that literacy is a crucial skill in becoming educated, and access to books is a core component. How you are helping: When you buy books from BetterWorldBooks.com, helps fund organizations that are creating positive change all over the world.

122 million youth are illiterate.

A future of opportunity and self-fulfillment depends on educating the youth of today. We believe that young minds deserve to have the materials they need to explore the ideas of the world around them. Still, many places in the world do not have the books needed to fill out library shelves. How you are helping:  Thanks to your support donating books to drop boxes and purchasing from our website, you have helped us donate over 10 million books to nonprofits like Feed the Children and Books For Africa. BFA is the largest shipper of donated text and library books to the African continent, and has shipped over 28 million books to 49 different countries since 1988.

Niles District Library, LEAP Grant Recipient67.4 million children do not attend school.

Young minds are the most open to learning, and the importance of children having a safe place to learn cannot be understated. How you are helping: Many used book purchases from our website go toward LEAP Grants (Literacy and Education in Action Program), which fund a select few carefully evaluated—and sometimes voted on by our community—high-impact projects proposed by libraries and nonprofits to make a difference in their local communities. Many of these give kids a place to go for the summer, or get children’s books into the hands that need them most.

Bonus stat: The good news!

You’ve helped us raise over $14 million for literacy and libraries, and to donate over 10 million books, carefully targeted to locations where they will make the most difference. Keep an eye on the counter of our homepage to see when we cross over into $15 million!

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