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The joy of books: charities and literacy


We love a good read and want to share our love of books far and wide.

Our lower prices mean the cost of buying books is a barrier for fewer people, especially with free delivery. This helps millions of used books find new homes.

However, our support goes beyond literacy charities and extends throughout our business model. We work with over 200 charities, buying their surplus books. Charities successfully sell many items that supporters have donated in their shops. But not everything will sell. With limited space available, the remainder need to be cleared to make room for fresh donations.

In the past, charities would have to pay considerable amounts for surplus books to be taken away as trade waste. World of Books identified this as a possible way of improving reuse, and began purchasing the goods by weight (as we had no other means to value them).

Charities have a duty of trust to their supporters and those who benefit from their good work to maximise their income. We believe we have created a genuine opportunity for charities, creating a reliable income stream, reducing waste costs and stopping some donations from being lost for good. Everyone benefits.

During the 2018 financial year, we created £3m for charities, including both direct revenue paid and waste disposal cost savings. This amounts to £15m over the last six years.

We make our software available to charities, providing them with the ability to efficiently list books online to maximise their revenue.

Supporting literacy - 1 million books to good causes

We are committed to helping good causes and promoting literacy. Our core values are aligned to those of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We contribute in particular to target 4.6; ensuring all young people gain literacy skills.

We actively support local schools with book donations and recently ran a campaign for 200 primary schools to win a share of over $90,000 worth of books.

Our aspiration is much larger. We have pledged to donate 1 million books to good causes by 2020. Key to this is to be operating at a scale to make these donations and this will be supported by our new UK site. The books we donate will be those that would otherwise have been recycled, reinforcing the circularity of our business.

Current book count

Total Book Donations: 15,593

Donations since November 2017. (Last count November 2018).

Book Donations January - November 2018: 8,552

Book donations to schools

In spring 2018, we donated over $90,000 worth of books to primary schools. Around 15,600 books were shared between 200 schools to help give children the head-start into reading that so many schools so desperately need. The schools and children were delighted with the books they received and sent us some lovely messages and pictures.

“A huge humongous THANK YOU! was written in books in our Walled Garden by the children today as a message of appreciation to @WorldofBooksltd for choosing our Early Years Department as a winner of their Great Giveaway for Schools! We so delighted to have won!”
Sompting Abbotts Primary School

“Thank you so much for all the lovely books you sent us. The children and staff had a great day dressed up in their favourite costumes. All the children collected a book of their choice at the end of the day from the selection you sent us.”
Marriotts Nursery