Better World Books' Socially Responsible Business Model

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG105
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 2002-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Better World Books
Industry : Retailing
Countries : US

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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The Online Bookseller

BWB was started in 2002 by three friends - Xavier Helgesen (Helgesen), Chris Kreece Fuchs (Fuchs), and Jeff Kurtzman (Kurtzman) - all students of the University of Notre Dame . After completing their graduation, they decided to sell their books to get some extra money...

The Business Model

BWB did not advertise in the media about collecting and selling books; awareness about its business model was mainly spread through word of mouth. According to Helgesen, "Every time a customer is flabbergasted, they are going to tell people, and that endorsement won't cost us a dime."...

Profit With Purpose: A Triple Bottom Line Approach

Since its inception, BWB showed its commitment to the triple bottom line approach. The company made efforts to achieve social, environmental, and economic sustainability. It measured its performance in three areas - people, planet, and profit...

The Challenges

Notwithstanding BWB's success over the years, analysts were skeptical about whether the company would be able to sustain its growth and socially responsible business model in the long run. As of late 2009, BWB had plans to expand overseas, develop a book-publishing division, and offer a book-rental service from its website...


Exhibit I: Time Magazine's List of Responsibility Pioneers (2009)
Exhibit II: Better World Books' Mission and Core Values
Exhibit III: Logo of Better World Books
Exhibit IV: The Acceptance Guidelines of Better World Books for Donating Materials
Exhibit V: Better World Book's Collection Bin
Exhibit VI: Home Page of Better World Books
Exhibit VII: BWB's Different Shipping Service
Exhibit VIII: Visual of a Warehouse of Better World Books
Exhibit IX: Home Page of Better World Book's Blog



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