Better World Books buys and sells books both new and used while supporting libraries, non-profits, and literacy programs around the world. Just this month they sold their 100th million book! For every book you purchase on BetterWorld Books.com, Better World Books donates a book to a reader in need. To date, they have raised over 32 million dollars for libraries and literacy programs, donated over 29 million books, and prevented over 373 million books from entering landfills by reusing or recycling them.
BLD New England – Website and Ticket Info (use the menu button in upper left of website for more info)
Dustin Holland [0:03]
The timing of what we’re doing has been extremely valuable to millions and millions of people around the world. And it’s it’s phenomenal to be a part of that.
Benn Cohen [0:19]
From deer go collective. This is responsibly different. sharing stories of certified B corporations and our journey of joining them in leveraging business as a force for good.
Benn Marine [0:36]
I’m Benn Marine. In this episode Better World Book CEO Dustin Holland shares with us a peek behind the curtain at Better World books, better world books, buys and sells books both new and used, while supporting libraries, nonprofits and literacy programs around the world. For every book you purchase on betteworldbooks.com, Better World Books donates a book to a reader in need. Today, they have raised over $32 million for libraries and literacy programs donated over 29 million books and prevented over 373 million books from entering landfills by reusing or recycling them. Keep listening, learn more about Better World Books and how they are responsibly different. You’ll also want to listen all the way to the end to hear about the upcoming New England BLD. Our B Corp journey and a little teaser of next week’s interview with Ben and Jerry’s co founder Ben Cohen.
First and foremost, Dustin, I want to thank you so much for this show. I know we were just chatting a little bit about how big a fan I am of, of better world books.My understanding is that you all kind of got started because you and some friends were finishing college and selling some of your use textbooks. Is that right? Is that how that kind of was inspired to get started?
Dustin Holland [1:58]
Well, it’s almost accurate. But I came in a little over a year after the co founders started the business so that the three co founders that originated from Notre Dame, they were the ones that had graduated, and we’re collecting textbooks and selling them on a website called half.com, so that the idea was born with the three co founders from Notre Dame. And then eventually they hired our first CEO who was an alumnus of Notre Dame. And he became the fourth founder of the company. And I was the first non Notre Dame graduate that they brought into the company to help grow the business. So a little after a year into the company’s inception. And at the time, the company was called Campus Community Outreach. Shortly after we got our start, we we changed the name to Better World Books, which more accurately reflected what we were doing and plan to do.
Benn Marine [2:56]
So, how did this go from an idea of just you know, selling us textbooks to GE, how can we use? How can we use used books to make a difference?
Dustin Holland [3:05]
So that that’s a that’s a great question. The three founders ran the first book drive at the University of Notre Dame, and from there, they branched out through the Midwest. And they actually, to go beyond the Midwest actually moved to different parts of the country. So one moved to Austin, Texas, one moved to San Francisco and one move to Washington, DC. And they were all Regional Directors, essentially running their book drives in those regions, collecting the books and then shipping them back to South Bend. Actually to our first warehouse was actually not even a warehouse. It was a it was a closet in the back of the Robinson Community Learning Center. So they were shipping books out of the Robinson Community Learning Center. They each year, each semester, it got bigger and bigger. And Xavier, one of the co founders had the idea to branch out beyond college campuses and start working with libraries. And that’s, that’s where I came in to the mix in 2004. To start up our library division, and now, today, almost 17 years later, we serve well over 4,000 libraries in six countries.
Benn Marine [4:20]
That’s incredible. That is so cool. And I know that you’ve donated over 26 million books through your book for book program. Can you share with us a little bit about how that works?
Dustin Holland [4:31]
Certainly. So if you’re familiar with TOMS Shoes, I know their models changed over the years and ours is changing as well. But essentially, for every book that we sell on betterworldbooks.com our own website, we donate a book to somebody in need somewhere around the world. So like you said we’ve donated well in excess of 26 million books. The numbers right closer to 30 million books and growing. But that’s, that’s how we’re turning your purchase into the do good factor and getting a book donated somewhere around the world, we’re doing that every single day, 365 days a year, and we’re shipping, donating millions of bucks to organizations all around the world because of the customers that are buying books from us on betterworldbooks.com.
Benn Marine [5:24]
That’s really cool. And I’m curious, how do you find like the folks in need that that need books or or these organizations like are folks coming to you and saying, Hey, we could really use books? Or is it more that you all are doing intentional outreach, or what does that look like?
Dustin Holland [5:39]
In a lot of cases, we we find them. So we our team monitors social media news around the world. And if we see an initiative that we want to get behind in support, we’ll reach out to that group and help get books to them. Because we’re really good, we’re really good at collecting the books, and getting the right books to where they’re needed most. So we do that millions of times a year, we partner with a lot of great organizations that they let us know what kind of books they’re looking for. Sometimes they’ll give us a list. And we’ll search your inventory and actually go books, pull books off our shelves, and get specific books to organizations. Other times the requests are more general, they might want just textbooks or kids books. And oftentimes we have those available, and the organization, they’ll they’ll pay for the shipping. Sometimes they’ll pay for the cost of the materials like the pallets and boxes. Or sometimes they’ll even come directly to one of our facilities and pick the books up. I know just recently we donate all kinds of books, textbooks, kids books. But a few weeks ago, we donated close to 20, some 1,000 Bibles that an organization from Michigan came down and picked up directly from us.
Benn Marine [6:57]
That’s really cool. And you mentioned that you all work closely with libraries. What does that look like? Is it that libraries are expanding their inventory or or supplementing what they already have? Like, I’m curious what that relationship looks like.
Dustin Holland [7:10]
So we we work with libraries to help them manage their surplus books. So in order for a library to make room for the new books that they’re buying and adding to their collections, they’ve got to get rid of some of those books and take some of the older books off their shelves, that their patrons, you know that the demand isn’t there anymore. So as they decommission those books and take them off the library shelves, or they, they weed them, there’s different terms for it. Those books get sent to us, we pay for the freight, we pay for the supplies, and then we’ll turn around and any book we can sell across the dozens of marketplaces that we sell on whether it’s betterworldbooks.com or eBay, or Amazon or another marketplace, will give a percentage of the sale price back to the to the library that supplied the book to us. And then on top of that, we will donate another percentage that we work out with the library back to their literacy partner, which in a lot of cases now, libraries are able to select themselves as as the literacy partner.
Benn Marine [8:19]
Oh, neat, because that was something I noticed, too, that there’s the book for book program. But then there’s also the supporting literacy program. Are those one in the same? Or are they different? Other?
Dustin Holland [8:30]
Benn Marine [8:32]
So what what was the difference of what so the literacy programs is that are those nonprofits and libraries that are doing intentional outreach and education? Or are kind of what what is the difference between the book two book and the literacy programs?
Dustin Holland [8:44]
Well, the book, the book for book is where we’re actually making a physical donation of a book to an organization. Whereas the money that we raised for a library or nonprofit literacy organization or an education cause that’s actually dollars being donated directly back to those organizations. So we, in the company’s history, we’ve donated, well over $30 million back to literacy organizations and libraries. And then we’ve almost donated 30 million physical books to organizations around the world. Wow, that’s really incredible. That is really, really incredible. I’m curious, what are some of your favorite literacy programs that you all have invested in so far? Or is that like asking you to choose amongst your children? I don’t know.
It’s a good point. I don’t have a favorite because we support hundreds of literacy causes around the world. They all do phenomenal work. But I’d say some of our notable organizations that we work with would be a Books For Africa. They’ve been a longtime partner of ours. I actually serve on their board of directors. But Books For Africa has been around for about 30 years and this past December, they eclipsed a huge milestone and donated their 50 millionth book to the continent of Africa. And Better World Books. The past 17 years or so has been a big part of the books for Africa story, having donated millions of books and millions of dollars in excess of $2 million, actually to Books for Africa to help them carry out their mission of ending the book famine in Africa. And I’ve had the chance to visit Africa on numerous occasions and see their good work in action. And actually see the books that originates from Better World Book and some of our library partners get distributed and put in the hands of readers all across Africa. And it’s it’s extremely gratifying to see that.
Benn Marine [10:46]
That is really cool. That is really cool. I guess that kind of dovetails well into my question about what some of the most rewarding experiences have been, as you’ve been part of building and growing Better World books?
Dustin Holland [10:59]
Well, I’d say probably that the most rewarding experience for me is, especially over the past 17 years is the diversity of people that I’ve been able to meet across multiple places in the world, whether it’s Korea or Africa or across Europe, North America, South America, our company, sources books, primarily from six different countries, but we serve customers, and book donation recipients in over 200 countries. So I’ve had a tremendous amount of interactions from people all over the world, I got to learn a lot of great things, hear a lot of great things. See some of the work of our literacy partners and our libraries in action. And I’d say, overall, that for me, that’s definitely the most rewarding part of the job. And on top of that, we have over 350 associates in four different locations in the globe. So having a chance to interact with our teams. A lot of us have grown up together. A lot of us are veterans of the business we have combined, the company collectively has centuries of book selling experience. And we built the company from the ground up and we’re getting we’re actually days away from selling 100 millionth book, it’s hard to say but it’s a it’s definitely remarkable. And I’d saypeople are what drives our business. And that’s, that’s what’s been the most rewarding experience for me. T
Benn Marine [12:38]
hat’s amazing. That’s awesome. And kind of the the flip side, I’m curious, what are I imagine, you know, growing something, especially with the impact in the reach you all have had, I’m sure there were challenges along the way. I’m curious, what were some of those biggest challenges? And how did you all navigate through them?
Dustin Holland [12:54]
We we’ve definitely encountered are a number of challenges across the years.I mean, where do you want to start?
Benn Marine [13:03]
Wherever you feel like is, would be kind of the most insightful? I think part a part of the reason why I asked this question to folks too, is knowing that, you know, a lot of folks listening are people who, you know, want to start a business that that is having an impact in doing good in the world. And but man, sometimes getting through some of those hurdles is really challenging. So I think sometimes hearing from other businesses like what was hard and how they work through it can can help folks. So whatever kind of with that lens, thinking through what what some of those may have been.
Dustin Holland [13:33]
Just like any business and entrepreneurial minded business, we’ve had plenty of challenges, whether it’s keeping up with technology, keeping up with the demands of pricing over 7 million unique products at any given point in time across dozens of marketplaces. That definitely brings challenges. I’d say that the current challenges that everybody has been faced with is operating through COVID. And because of COVID and other reasons, there’s some, you know, we’ve got a booming economy,very tight labor conditions that we’re dealing with that is causing stresses on the business. But if I were to look back, I’d say one of the biggest challenges that we had to deal with. And just about two years ago, we dealt with it very successfully and are happy with the outcome. But we some challenges with the company’s capital structure. So I could I could talk about this for for hours, but the company was able to successfully sell itself to a nonprofit organization two years ago. So it worked out really well. The founders and shareholders of the business it didn’t work out so well for the those that held stock in the company, but to be owned by a mission aligned investor that is very supportive of allowing the company to continue to do good in the world is a great feeling. And it’s gonna allow us to do even more good and and serve more customers as we grow betterworldbooks.com and reduce our reliance on Amazon. And I’d say, Amazon is, you know, we’re probably one of their top 50, sellers, marketplace, sellers in terms of unit volume, lifetime. But I think we’ve realized how important it is for us to maintain our own customer relationships. Amazon, for those of you listening that aren’t aware, they take about 40 cents of every dollar of revenue, that Better World Book sells on their platform. So needless to say, that is not a sustainable business model. I think it worked out really well. And it was working well until they changed their fee structure rather dramatically, almost three years ago, for media sellers and almost put us out of business. I know it’s put other booksellers out of business. But that was the big wake up call, we’ve realized that we cannot put all our eggs in the Amazon basket. And thankfully, customers are rewarding us. And they’re looking for an alternative than shopping on Amazon. And they’re they’re steering their dollars in there, especially their book purchasing dollars and Better World Books and at the end of the day, if federal books is going to continue to thrive, and continue to do all the great things we’re doing with donating books to the Internet Archive, so they can build build the world’s largest free public lending library, similar to the Library of Alexandria. Back in the day, Better World Books needs to be able to sustain itself through its own customer base on betterworldbooks.com and that’s definitely the direction we’re going. And we’ve we’ve had quite a successful year because of that we’re we’re very grateful for our customers.
Benn Marine [17:03]
Yeah, I mean, we were chatting a little bit before we started recording, I mean, that that’s how I found you all was, you know, I was it as much as possible, I try to support our local mom and pop book shops here in Portland, Maine. And inevitably, there are times when they just don’t have books I’m looking for. And prior to knowing about Better World Books, I was going to Amazon and then I found you all through searching the B Corp directory, and I’ve never looked back because the inventory will have is incredible. And I’ve you know, been telling friends and sending folks your way. Because I just think that it’s it’s it is it’s so important to kind of break thatat least as consumers to kind of be supporting folks like yourself instead of, you know, Amazon, I’m curious to, to hear a little bit about with kind of the challenges of COVID? Are you finding that people are turning more to books like have books, I would think book sales would increase because maybe people are reading more, but I don’t know is that I’m curious what your experience has been with that.
Dustin Holland [18:02]
I can, then I can tell you, they’re they’re definitely buying more books. I don’t know if they’re reading more, but they’re definitely buying more books.I probably fall in that category where I’ve bought a lot of books, but haven’t necessarily read them all. But back in March, I was actually in our Reno distribution center picking books with our team and I distinctly remember one of the books, I picked the title and have a picture it was the coming plague. And I was like, oh my heavens. So since then the world has changed. Needless to say, there were books, as an ecommerce business has done extremely well. I think with the lock downs, people were definitely looking for alternative sources of entertainment. I’m sure the streaming businesses, as we all know have done extremely well. But the book sales have gone up both used and new books. And we’ve seen that trend continued the past 15 months or so. And the really good news for us is that more and more people are deciding to shop on betterworldbooks.com. And we’re selling fewer books on Amazon and other third party marketplaces, which has been phenomenal for our business. COVID has been it’s been rewarding for us in terms of sales. But it’s definitely been a struggle in terms of keeping our team safe. That’s that’s been our foremost priority through the course of the pandemic and obviously making sure we were able to serve our customers safely. But there’s been a lot of supply chain issues. A lot of our libraries have been closed so they haven’t been sending us books. But I can tell you right now we’re we’re filled to the brim with with books that we need to process. And our biggest challenge at the moment is getting folks in the door training themgetting them to process books. Thankfully, we’ve got really large distribution centers in the four areas that we operated in, and people can socially distance really easily. It’s like it’s a great job to have, especially in a pandemic.
Benn Marine [20:12]
If folks are listening and potentially looking for work in those areas, where are kind of the areas that you’re hiring, and where should people go to kind of apply?
Dustin Holland [20:22]
They can go to our website, betterworldbooks.com and look at the the careers page. But we are hiring in our York, Pennsylvania distribution center, our Mishawaka, Indiana distribution center, in our Reno, Nevada distribution center. So those are the three areas that will gladly we’d love to talk to you and, and bring you on board to help process books, pick books, get books out the door to our customers, and also help us donate more books to where they’re needed most.
Benn Marine [20:56]
I’m curious. So in so in addition to kind of the the book for book literacy programs, literacy work that you’re supporting, I heard that you also have a Sustainability Council. Can you share with us a little bit about that group and what they are working on?
Dustin Holland [21:12]
Sure. So historically, the company has had, we’ve had a Literacy Council, and a Sustainability Council. And more and more, I’d say the sustainability focus of our company is embedded across all the departments. It’s embedded in all of our decision making sort of our council actually meets on an as needed basis. But right now, I’d say that the biggest initiatives that we’re working on have to do with our paperless picking project that we have rolled out successfully in at least our Mishawaka, Indiana facility, and we’re in the process of rolling it out globally to all of our facilities, that’s going to have a tremendous impact on how many pick slips we print every day, and it will aid or productivity, and it’ll help us get books out the door faster to our customers. So that’s one of the big initiatives, our outbound packaging is something that I’ve always not been very happy with. So we’re looking at ways to upgrade that and just improve the experience for for our customers that shop at betterworldbook.com So those are the two big things that we’re looking at. But the team also tackles our annual carbon footprint audit. That’s a extremely large endeavor, because we track the distance that our books traveled to one of our distribution centers, and then we tracked the distance to the customer’s doorstep. So when you’re selling millions of packages, and processing 10s of millions of books each year, we track all of that data. And that helps us compile our carbon audit each year in the team is largely responsible for that. And then beyond that, we’re always we’re always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint and minimize our impact on the environment. So that that would involve everything from our asking our clients to pre screen the books, so only ship the books that we know, we can either resell or donate, you know, there’s no reason to put a book in a box that we know that we can’t resell or donate and will ultimately have to recycle. No reason to ship that across the country to to just recycle it. But we’re always looking for ways to to be a better citizen.
Benn Marine [23:41]
And and in doing so I feel like you all have kept millions of books out of landfills to through I can’t remember exactly what it was called. But something about a commitment to no books going to landfills, right like it was that everything’s either getting recycled, or getting donated or getting resold in some capacity.
Dustin Holland [24:00]
That is correct. So we do our best not to send a book to a landfill. There’s been times where, for health reasons. We’ve had to throw a book out here and there. But we are very committed to either reselling the book keeping it in the reading cycle through resale or donation. Or the worst case. You know, we say it’s the worst case that will ultimately have to recycle the book. And we work with great recycling partners around the world. And they’re turning these books in the all kinds of useful products so they can live another day. But I bet one of the things I think we’re most proud of, and it’s because of the acquisition of the company by this nonprofit called Better World Libraries, which was funded in part by Brewster Calle the entrepreneur behind the Internet Archive. He sold his business two decades ago.It’s called Alexa to Amazon. And he hit the the internet jackpot. And he since turned his time into building the Internet Archive, the Wayback Machine if you’re familiar with that, but he’s, he’s turned his sights recently, in the past few years to building out the world’s largest free public lending library. And we’re donating a lot of books to make that effort reality. So the big project that they’ve been involved with is, is converting all the footnotes in Wikipedia, in the citations that mentioned a book. So if, if we’ve had that book, or they’ve sourced the book and digitized it and preserved it, you can actually now go to that Wikipedia article, click on the footnote. And it’s the footnotes one of the books that’s been digitized, it’ll bring you to the exact page of that book. So researchers and students now have access universal access to millions of books that they have never had access to before. And they, they can check that book out if it’s available through their program. So it’s, it’s a phenomenal effort. And we’ve spent the last two years helping to integrate our supply chain to help them turn that into reality for readers, and students and scholars and educators make that universally accessible 24 hours a day through archive.org. So we’re, we’re pretty proud of that effort.
Benn Marine [26:34]
Oh, my gosh, that is incredible. Wow. That’s I’m just like, blown, I’m just blown away about even just the potential of that to have access, because I think part one of the things, you know, I think one of the things that is that can be a barrier for folks is access to information. And in many cases, you sometimes have to be a student to have access to certain resources, or books or whatnot. And so to have that is really a game changer. That’s, that’s really exciting work.
Dustin Holland [27:04]
Especially when, through the pandemic, I mean, 1000s and 1000s of libraries and schools were shut down. And, you know, kids were sent home, oftentimes, they don’t have access to books in the materials that they need to study and learn. So the timing of what we’re doing, has been extremely valuable to millions and millions of people around the world. And it’s, it’s phenomenal to be a part of that. And watch what the Internet Archive has been able to do. They’re doing phenomenal things. And we’re proud to play a small part in that.
Benn Marine [27:41]
That’s amazing. And if people just want to check out the Internet Archive, is it just like Internet archive.org? Or where can people go to check that out?
Dustin Holland [27:48]
If they just go to archive.org, they’ll have full access to all their resources. All of its free. If you find a book that you want to check out, you’ve got to sign up for a library card. But it’s, it’s totally free. And you’ll have access to amazing amounts of material knowledge.
Benn Marine [28:09]
That is really cool. I’m, I’m curious. So I’m kind of in that realm of, of, kind of book industry. I’m curious, and especially in the kind of presence of the pandemic, how has audio have audio books impacted the business? Is that something that you all are are looking into in the future? Or have you seen that impact your business at all.
Dustin Holland [28:32]
We we don’t do much in the space of selling audiobooks, we definitely source audio books from our library customers, I’d say with anything that can be streamed, we’ve seen less of a demand for the physical audio books. In fact, we were talking to a group the other day, they, they couldn’t even visualize what a physical audio book is, because, you know, they instantly think of audible.com or other channels that they can source or even libraries. Libraries are great sources for audio books.But that’s definitely something that we’re looking at offering our customers and you were definitely looking at expanding beyond books right now at betterworldbooks.com and audio books will definitely be a part of that offering at some point.
Benn Marine [29:20]
So it sounds like someday I’ll be able to replace my audible with perhaps a Better Worls Book, streaming subscription?
Dustin Holland [29:27]
If I had my way what one day we hope to. We hope to make that happen one day.
Benn Marine [29:33]
Awesome. Well, I’m excited. I’m looking forward to that for sure.
Dustin Holland [29:35]
Benn Marine [29:38]
Shifting gears a little bit to be core planned. I’m curious, how did you all hear about a B Corp.
Dustin Holland [29:44]
So that that’s a great question. I remember Xavier, our founder that was based out in California. He originally heard of B Corp and and the great things that they were doing.I think that was probably in 2006 when we first heard about him, and between Xavier and the company’s first CEO, David Murphy, they were all over learning more about B Corp, and how Better World Books could get involved. So turns out, I think in 2007, we became one of the, the first 82 founding B Corporation members. And we’ve stuck with it ever since it’s, it’s done great things for the company, we’ve recently added the B Corp branding to our packaging, you know, we’re we’re proud to partner with them, our employees, it gives them something to something that will relate to, you know, our customers that are looking for more than just price and selection. They want to make a difference with a B Corp, you know, it’s helped us from a selling standpoint, it’s definitely helped us in the early days, people were very wary of our business model, it’s still fascinates me today that somebody would challenge your business model. But I’m proud to say 17 years later, we’re still here. And part of that is because of, you know, us getting behind the B Corp movement and supporting that movement since day one. So I think now the B Corporation movement has grown to over 3,500, large and small companies across the globe. And, and it’s great to see how successful they’ve been.
Benn Marine [31:22]
Yeah, that’s great. And so I’m curious to that. And kind of more specifically, what have been some of the biggest benefits in being certified B Corp? Or are there partnerships that have come out of that? I know, you mentioned a little bit the kind of the selling point for consumers for sure, like myself, like I found you through the B Corp directory. But are there other kind of tangential things have come out of that.
Dustin Holland [31:22]
Let’s say, for us, I’m not sure if this benefit is still offered, but salesforce.com is our CRM platform that we use. And I think, before us before being a B Corp, we’re probably spending upwards of $100,000 in licensing fees for that CRM platform from Salesforce. And because of the B Corp discount, we’re able to drive that down significantly. So we’re thankful for the relationship that they brought to the table, we’re thankful that Salesforce kind of took us under their wings, and can they continue to extend that discount to us, and it’s really helped the company scale and grow and work with 1000s of libraries across the world, because without Salesforce.com our work would be a lot harder, let’s put it that way. But that’s I know, that’s the biggest financial benefit that we’ve gotten out of the relationship. But there’s there’s way more to it than just that one part of it.
Benn Marine [31:47]
Awesome. And so as you mentioned, you all have been at this for over 17 years. And I read that early on uou encountered a lot of kind of naysayers, folks saying you’re being too idealistic or naive. And yet you’re approaching your 100 millionth book sale, some 17 years later. So clearly the concept in business have been have been a success. I’m curious, what advice would you have for other people out there that might be getting the same kind of doubting questions and their quest to use business as a force for good?
Dustin Holland [33:21]
Well, there’s, I’ve got a handful of recommendations. But first and foremost, never, never give up. Don’t let the naysayers get you down. I think I’ve learned over the years that there’s always going to be naysayers naysayers out there, no matter. No matter what you’re doing in the world and in how positive and favorable your impact is, somebody else is always going to be trying to tear you down. Thankfully for us, we’ve overcome a lot of those challenges. I know in the early days prior to us selling new books, you know, we’re we’re criticised by publishers and authors, but now we offer over 16 million new books for sale and our new book sales are growing tremendously on Better World Books calm so we don’t see much of that criticism anymore from from that audience. I know some of the, in the especially early days, we were criticized by some of the campus bookstores around the country.You know, they they viewed us as competition. But right now we we partner with pretty much every every major campus bookstore organization in the United States to help them monetize the books that they can’t sell locally in their stores. So it’s it’s worked out extremely well in the in the end, but I’d say at the end of the day, you’ve got to make sure you focus on building those relations with your own customers. And making sure you you as the company control that and fosters that relationship with your customer. And don’t don’t outsource that to another marketplace, because you’ll just be held hostage one day, they’ll make changes, they’ll raise, raise their fees, their rates. And you’ll always live in fear if you don’t start to invest in your brand. And do that early, as early on in the process as possible is what I’d recommend.
Benn Marine [35:28]
And so I’m curious for listeners that are hearing this, like, oh, man, I got like a box full of books in the attic, and I don’t know what to do with them. How can folks get you their their books?
Dustin Holland [35:38]
Well, what one of the best ways is to actually donate those books to your local library. So with the the amount of libraries that we work with, you know, we, we want to support our libraries, they, and a lot of cases, they have robust friends groups that have their own sales. And after those sales, a lot of times, that’s where we’ll work directly with the library or the friends group. So at some point that your books may eventually make it to us. But for those of you that live in an area that that we support with our Dropbox program, you can go to betterworldbooks.com click on that individuals link. And it’ll show you a map of all the drop boxes that you can donate your books to. So that’s probably one of the top ways of working with us after the call.
Benn Marine [36:29]
And I’ll make sure that that link ends up in the show notes too, for folks.Oh, my gosh, Justin, this has been so great. Is there is there anything else that you want to add, or anything that we haven’t touched on? That feels really important?
Dustin Holland [36:40]
I’d say that the top way to support federal books at our mission is to buy a book from federal books calm and tell your friends about us. And next time you go to Amazon, before you buy that book, just remember that 40 cents of every dollar of that purchase is going to go in Amazon’s pocket, and not the pocket of the seller, that true seller of the item that you’re buying. So definitely, there’s definitely a place for Amazon. But at least in our space, we’re we’re able to exist. And we’re able to do all the good things that we’re doing because of that hundreds of 1000s of people that are now turning to betterworldbooks.com for their purchases. So we’re very grateful for that. And I’d say for those of you entrepreneurs out there, just I never in a million years that I’d be in the position that I’m in now, much less has worked at a company for 17 years and made the impact that we’ve been able to make, but I’d recommend that you just keep it simple. Follow your conscious, maintain your work ethic, and have fun. And the rest, the rest will come naturally.
Benn Marine [37:54]
I think that’s great advice. I got one last question for you. Of course, we’re talking about books. What’s your favorite book?
Dustin Holland [38:01]
Oh, then I don’t I don’t have favorites.
Benn Marine [38:07]
That’s fair. That’s fair.
Dustin Holland [38:09]
I can tell you that. My favorite book that we’ve donated.We actually did this last year. And it’s a really cool story. And probably what I’m most proud of, we came across a first edition of Frederick Douglass Oration. So it was actually a speech he delivered at Corinthian Hall back in the 1800s. And for a while we we look to see if we could sell the book. But we actually figured that the way that we could have the most impact around the world with this particular artifact was to first have it digitized and preserved by Internet Archive. So you can actually see that book is publicly available on archive.org. I encourage everybody to read it. It’s a phenomenal piece of history. But we actually donated the physical artifact to the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. So that is now in their African American collection. You know, we view it as a priceless artifact. It’s a unique piece of history. And I’d say that’s, that’s the most important book that we’ve had an opportunity to showcase and share with the world.
Benn Marine [39:34]
Thank you so much for joining us today to find links and to learn more about Better World Books, stopped by the show notes at responsiblydifferent.com. Also, if you’re like me and a big fan of audiobooks, and are looking for a way to ditch, Amazon’s Audible, I recommend you check out libra.fm I found out about libra.fm after my interview with Dustin and essentially it works similarly to audible except for every book you buy, a percent of your purchase goes to a local independent bookstore of your choice. So you can enjoy the convenience of audio books while also supporting your favorite local bookstore. And the land of all things B Corp, New England will be hosting the first Building Leadership Development or BLD, for short conference of 2021. If you’re new to the concept of BLDs, they happen all around the world and are a great way to network with other B corpse and expand your own skills. The cool part is that the New England BLD will be virtual. So even if you are tuning in from somewhere else in the world, you can absolutely attend, I will have a link to where you can buy your tickets in the Better World Books show notes on responsibly different COMM And in our link tree on Instagram, or you can just punch b l d new england.org into your web browser. And update on our B Corp journey. We officially hit the big Submit button on our B impact assessment with a score of 106 on April 30. As soon as we hit submit an auto generated email hit my inbox informing us that in order to certify, if we were based in a state that passed benefit corporation legislation, which we have here in Maine, that we would have to become a benefit corporation. So we’re in the midst of making that happen right now. The current BIA evaluation queue is currently up to eight months. So it could take some time and we will certainly keep you up to date with our progress. I’ll also put a link in the show notes to where you can see the full calendar of actual certification process from Blabs and the current estimated wait times. And next time, the moment you’ve all been waiting for on Responsibly Different. I sit down with Ben and Jerry’s co founder Ben Cohen.
Ben Cohen [41:55]
You know, you just got to stand up for what you believe in. Essentially what Ben and Jerry’s does is we stand up for justice.
Benn Marine [42:02]
Well, I want to thank you again for tuning in today. If you’re enjoying this content, be sure to check out our new Instagram page. We’re building guides and sharing strategies and resources there that we think you will find helpful. You can find us on Instagram at Responsibly Different. We’re all in this together. Till next time. Be responsibly different.
This is a production of dirigo collective music composed by our own Kevin Owens. You can follow us on social media at deer go collective or visit our corner of the internet at deer go collective.com