Contributed by Jenna Slavin
Continuing our Thoughtful Thursday series profiling companies doing it right, this week we are highlighting the amazing company created by college graduates, Better World Books.
It all started on a stormy night in South Bend, Indiana when Kreece was tired of feeling stuck. Being a college grad barely making it by and tutoring the Notre Dame football team in calculus and mechanical engineering, an idea came to him one night when he was tired of seeing old textbooks piling up in his apartment that he shared with his college buddies. He thought the campus bookstore never paid much for them so why not try online. He became fascinated with the online book market and wondered how he could find more books to sell. This was the beginning of a social and business venture, little did he know.
The next winter, Kreece and Xavier (one of his roommates), came up with a plan to collect unwanted books at Notre Dame and by that Spring, they hit the ground running. They reached out to their local community center because they found it would be the perfect place to start their business venture. It was a great cause, had a fast Internet connection, and a back room to house the books collected. Having connections with the center’s director, they proposed the plan and were greatly supported. Six months later, 2,000 books were collected and resold which raised over $10,000. And best of all, Kreece and Xavier discovered a new business model.
They brought on a college classmate, Jeff, who had a background in investment banking to help build their business. With the creative minds of these young men, they envisioned a different kind of company with a built-in benefit system. They wanted to generate revenue to fund literacy and earn support from their community to make their business more profitable. They entered their new business model into the Notre Dame business plan competition and won. They won $7,000 which they put right back into their up and coming business.
The entrepreneurs took off to spread the word and run Book Drives for Better Lives on campuses countrywide. By doing so, they discovered not only were they giving more people the opportunity to get their hands on books, but also they were helping improve the environment along the way. They had a full-fledged triple bottom line company on their hands. “Xavier, Jeff and Kreece knew that if they could create this place where everyone strived to be true to the three stakeholders of planet, people and profit that they would really be onto something special.”
From then on, they made their positive, kind, and thoughtful footprint on the world. Better World Books came about. To this day, they have raised millions of dollars for literacy, saved millions of books from landfills, created jobs for hundreds of people, and provided books readily available for readers worldwide.
This story proves that you can make a thoughtful difference at any age. With just a thought, with strong passion, and the drive to do good, you can set out to make a big difference.
Find more info at www.betterworldbooks.com