Better World Books
Company typePrivate
B Corporation
IndustryOnline bookseller
FounderChristopher “Kreece” Fuchs
Xavier Helgesen
Jeff Kurtzman
HeadquartersMishawaka, Indiana, US
Revenue$65 million[1]
Number of employees
ParentBetter World Libraries Edit this on Wikidata

Better World Books (also known as Qumpus, Inc.) is an American online bookseller of used and new books, founded in 2002 by students of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.[1]

Better World Books' used book inventory comes primarily from regular book drives at over 1,800 colleges and universities and donations from over 3,000 library systems, in addition to donation boxes found on corners and on college campuses.[2] The company has distribution warehouses in Mishawaka, Indiana; Reno, Nevada; York, Pennsylvania; and Dunfermline, Scotland.[1][3][4]


In 2001, shortly after their graduation from the University of Notre Dame, Better World Books founders Christopher Fuchs, Xavier Helgesen and Jeff Kurtzman sold their used college textbooks online.[5][6][7] The three then formulated a business plan using their experience selling books online.[5][6][7] In 2002, Fuchs and Helgesen held a book drive benefiting the Robinson Community Learning Center in South Bend, Indiana.[5][6][7] During the drive, they collected and sold 2,000 books, which raised $10,000.[5][6][7] Half of the drive's proceeds went to support literacy initiatives at the community center.[1]

In 2003, the three entered their business plan into the Notre Dame Social Venture Business Plan Competition, which was sponsored by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.[6] They won the competition, with a grand prize of $7,000 and mentorship from entrepreneur David Murphy.[6] Murphy served as Better World Books president and CEO from 2004 to 2011, before leaving to direct Notre Dame's Master of Entrepreneurship program (ESTEEM).[3][6][8]

Sign outside the Better World Books world headquarters in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Better World Books acquired a US Small Business Administration-backed credit line in 2004.[5] In April 2008, Better World Books secured an additional $4.5 million in venture capital via Good Capital, LLC and 18 private investors.[9]

In 2008, the company opened an operation in Dunfermline, Scotland, and started a UK website in 2010.[10][11][12][13][14] In 2016, the company opened a new distribution center in Reno, Nevada, creating 150 new jobs.[4]

The non-profit B Lab has certified "Better World Books" as a "B corporation", meaning it meets certain standards for social welfare, because it donates books or a percentage of its profit to literacy programs around the world.[15] As of 2013, the company had donated an estimated $14 million under this program.[1]

In March 2019, Better World Books announced the closure of their last retail location in Goshen, Indiana. The decision has been made in order for the organisation to improve its e-commerce operations and reach more people.[16]

The company discloses information about funds raised, books re-used or recycled, and books donated in a ticker on its "Impact" page.[17][18][19] As of 2019, Better World Books handles about 30 million incoming books per year, of which 10 gets sold and 10 donated to partners.

On November 6, 2019, Better World Books was acquired by Better World Libraries, a mission-aligned, not-for-profit organization that is affiliated with longtime partner, the Internet Archive. The plan is to digitize many more books and put them online.[20] Between July 2019 and March 2020, Better World Books donated over 700,000 books (counted by distinct ISBN) to the Internet Archive.[21] Over 1.4 million books were donated in 2020 and nearly a million in the first half of 2021.[22]


Better World Books donates one book to Feed the Children, Books for Africa, or smaller donation recipients for each book sold on[23][24] Better World Books provides additional support to literacy non-profits, including:

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Anne Field (May 4, 2013). "Secrets of a Successful Social Enterprise". Forbes. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  2. ^ Kristi York Wooten (August 16, 2011). "Can Buying a Book Help Kids and the Environment?". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Gene Stowe (May 26, 2013). "A decade's worth of doing good". SouthBend Tribune. Archived from the original on October 10, 2015. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Jason Hidalgo (January 14, 2016). "Better World Books opens Reno distribution center, bringing 150 jobs". Reno Gazette-Journal. Gannett Company. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e Stephanie Elam (July 2, 2009). "Building better world a book at a time". CNN. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Elizabeth Station (Winter 2008). "Book Value". Notre Dame Business. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d Doug DeLoach (August 19, 2011). "Doing good, doing well". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  8. ^ "David Murphy Biography". ESTEEM (Engineering, Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Master's Program). University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  9. ^ Good Capital, LLC (April 7, 2008). "Good-Capital-s-Social-Enterprise-Expansion-Fund-to-Invest-Up-to-2-5-Million-in-Better-World-Books". Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  10. ^ "'Responsible' book seller opens UK online shop". IT Pro Portal. December 9, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  11. ^ Zak Stambor (December 8, 2010). "Better World Books opens an e-commerce site in Britain". Internet Retailer. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  12. ^ a b c d Ina Steiner (December 9, 2010). "Better World Books Launches Site in UK". eCommerce Bytes. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c d "Better World Books launches UK retail website". UK Fundraising. December 8, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c d Charlotte Williams (September 12, 2012). "Better World Books launches UK site". The Bookseller. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  15. ^ Kyle Westaway (December 2, 2011). "New Legal Structures for 'Social Entrepreneurs'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  16. ^ Columnist, Marshall V. King Tribune. "Better World Books closes its last retail location to focus on e-commerce". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  17. ^ "Our Impact". Better World Books. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  18. ^ Ashley Booker (August 29, 2013). "Students help fight illiteracy through online book vendor". The University Daily Kansan. Archived from the original on September 19, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  19. ^ Zak Stambor (November 30, 2011). "A broader mission". Internet Retailer. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  20. ^ Mike (2019-11-06). "For the Love of Literacy–Better World Books and the Internet Archive Unite to Preserve Millions of Books". Better World Books Blog. Retrieved 2024-03-09.
  21. ^ Internet Archive. "Book Donations from Better World Books". Retrieved 2020-03-20. ia search -f isbn "collection:bookdonationsfrombetterworldbooks" | jq ".isbn | .[]" | cut -f2 -d'"' | sort -u | grep -c ^978 761436
  22. ^ Internet Archive. "Book Donations from Better World Books". Retrieved 2021-05-31. $ ia search -f isbn 'collection:bookdonationsfrombetterworldbooks addeddate:[2020-01-01 TO 2020-12-31]' | jq ".isbn | .[]" | cut -f2 -d'"' | sort -u | grep -c ^978 1430873
  23. ^ David Markiewicz (August 24, 2011). "Better World Books tries to do good by doing business". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  24. ^ Ariel Schwartz. "Better World Books Takes a Page From Toms Shoes' "One For One" Playbook". Fast Company. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  25. ^ Michel Marriott (August 21, 1991). "When Parents and Children Go to School Together". New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  26. ^ a b Nicholas D. Kristof (November 5, 2011). "His Libraries, 12,000 So Far, Change Lives". New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  27. ^ Rebecca Bailey (June 21, 2007). "Dartmouth-based partnership aims to help English teaching in Latin America". Dartmouth News. Archived from the original on June 6, 2015. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  28. ^ Jamie Reysen (October 1, 2009). "Prison Book Program collects books for prisoners nationwide". JSONS. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  29. ^ Dara Olmsted (November 5, 2010). "The Great American Book Drive". Boston. Archived from the original on April 16, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  30. ^ Emily Sweeney (June 10, 2012). "Helping inmates roam world of words". Boston. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  31. ^ Amanda Gray (February 18, 2011). "Robinson Center celebrates 10th anniversary". The Observer. Retrieved September 18, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  32. ^ "For the Love of Literacy: Better World Books and the Internet Archive Unite to Preserve Millions of Books" Archived 2022-10-04 at the Wayback Machine, Press release, Nov. 6, 2019.