By Brett Kessler
Green Right Now

Better World Books, an online bookseller founded by three Notre Dame students in 2002, is that rare enterprise: a business with a triple-bottom-line structure, committed to not only profits but social and environmental awareness.

The company was recently selected to participate in the Lilith Fair, a 36-city music festival featuring the work of female artists like Cat Power and Sheryl Crow. Along with several other socially-conscious groups, Better World Books will feature booths on the concert grounds.

“This is an exciting partnership for our company, one that aligns our mission-driven business with an entire music festival founded on the power of social causes,” says CEO David Murphy in a statement.

Taking a tip from Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce,  Better World Books  aims to find every book a home — from used textbooks to Shakespeare plays — all the while spreading literacy and leaving a zero carbon footprint. Through partnerships with libraries and colleges across the country, Better World Books has given over 2.3 million books to programs like Books for Africa and the National Center for Family Literacy.

As a live ticker at the top of its website will tell you, the company also has salvaged over thirty million books that would otherwise have ended up in landfills. At the end of the day, any book that falls into its hands that cannot be sold or donated is recycled — never thrown away.

For consumers looking to enhance their libraries without hurting Mother Earth, Better World Books offers a comprehensive selection of titles at competitive prices. The Bargain Bin (five books for $15) sports everything from Dr. Seuss to The Scarlet Letter to popular contemporary selections like Augusten Burroughs’ Running with Scissors.

All orders placed in the U.S. are delivered with no shipping cost. How does Better World Books remain a carbon-neutral operation while sending millions of books all around the country? Every time a customer makes a purchase, a small fraction of the sale goes to Carbonfund.org, thereby offsetting the impact of both Better World Books and its partner organizations. To date, the Indiana-based company has purchased 13,000 tons of carbon offsets.

Copyright © 2010 Green Right Now | Distributed by GRN Network