8 Ways Readers are Saving the Planet

intro-earthday2014According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 2 billion books go to landfill every year, illustrating just how crucial sustainable business is in the book selling industry. So here are 8 things readers are doing to change that number.

1. Supporting local libraries. Libraries provide free, public access to books and information, and they need your support now more than ever. They keep books circulating and prevent them from becoming waste.

2. Buying used books. Buying a used book keeps it in the cycle of use and ensures it isn’t collecting dust somewhere or worse–heading to a landfill. Considering that it’s usually cheaper than purchasing new, as well as our high standards for conditions we will allow onto our website, it’s a win-win. (That might be a win-win-win; we lost count.)

3. Carbon balancing your order. Carbon balancing contributes to neutralizing the carbon footprint of shipping your books. We offer it on physical book orders for just a few cents extra at checkout. Just be sure to check the box during checkout on our website.

4. When you’re done with your book… give it a new life! By donating your book back when you’re done with it, you can ensure that it contributes to sustainable business practices and supports literacy. Many US customers use their local drop box to send it back so that there’s no shipping cost involved, and no hassle.

But far be it from us to let you do ALL the work. While you’re doing all that, we’ll be doing this:

5. Supporting local libraries. Get a little déjà vu there for a second? We partner with over 4,000 libraries in the US to help keep their inventories fresh and circulating in their local communities.

6. Donating books that can’t be sold. Thanks to our Book for Book™ program, every purchase you make on BetterWorldBooks.com generates one book donation from us to a nonprofit partner like Feed The Children or Books for Africa.

7. Recycling any books that can’t be donated. You may recall scandals in the headlines in recent years involving heaps of books found in dumpsters behind major bookstore locations. Our business model accounts for titles that cannot be sold and aren’t desired by our nonprofit partners. We never, ever throw a book away.

8. Reducing paper internally. Do you really need to print that email out? We avoid using paper whenever possible in our offices and operations, helping us receive WasteWise Gold Awards in the Paper Reduction and Climate Change categories from the EPA (not to mention a Partner of the Year award… although this sort of counts as mentioning it).

Let’s read this planet into shape! Let us know what your planet-saving practices are—when reading or otherwise—in the comments.



  1. Marvin Najberg says:

    Your slow or non functioning website had me spend over an hour, select 12 books and then not be able to get order completed. when I got back to it an hour later, painfully slow and then several books no longer available. since your website has never worked well or efficiently, please remove me from your list, I’ll be buying from other sources that are more customer friendly.

  2. James Johnson says:

    I had the same problem today, and I received a very unhelpful reply from customer service, telling me how to clean up my browser. I happen to be an MCSE. Why couldn’t they just admit they had a problem? Trust and respect right down the drain. No more telling my friends how great they are. Such a shame.

  3. I, too, had a lot of trouble placing my order. Something was wrong with your website so that I it kept slowing down as I added books to my cart, and then when I was ready to buy, the site couldn’t process the order. I tried using both Google and Firefox repeatedly before I finally could complete my order. It took over an hour, and I won’t go through that again, though I will continue to use your site when it is functioning properly.

    That said, when I received notice that my books had shipped, I wanted to send the following response, but I couldn’t find any way of communicating with your staff on your website. So, here is my note about your shipment notice:

    Wonderful! Your boilerplate response is the best I have ever received. Your sense of humor made my week.

    My father had a used book store for 25 years and although I didn’t follow that path, books remain living creatures for me. My daughter caught this bug and took classes in printing and paper production on her way to her degree in journalism.

    What a pleasure to connect, even if only like this, with fellow booklovers in this pre-Fahrenheit-451 time we live in.

    Warm regards to your staff,
    Aron Laub

  4. Marvin, James, Aron: If problems continue, please let us at [email protected], and Customer Care will be happy to assist you. Thanks for letting us know.

  5. I have a lot of used paperback books to donate. You list locations for drop off boxes near Denver, Colorado, usually near or at a King Soopers store. I have gone to several but nobody in the stores know anything about the drop boxes. Help. I would like to donate these books but I can’t find anyplace to do it. I think there are too many for me to ship back to you.

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