Better World Books started with three Notre Dame students who began selling their textbooks for a profit. What may have started small, however, definitely isn’t small anymore. Since its founding in 2002, this company has made a large impact. Although the founders initially sold textbooks for a profit, profits aren’t necessarily the main goal for Better World Books now. In fact, their ultimate goal is to improve literacy around the world. So far, the company has converted more than 250 million books into over $24 million in funding for literacy and education. In the process they have also saved 250 million books from landfills. Better World Books has also partnered with 3,100 libraries and 8,100 college campuses around the US. But they are more than a factory for donating books and money toward literacy; they are of course an online bookstore as well. All books ship worldwide for free, and every order shipped is carbon balanced with certified offsets, making this company also environmentally friendly.

The Good

  • Large selection
  • Great features
  • Return policy

Right off the bat, as a customer of Better World Books, you'd enjoy shopping from a library that has about eight million new and used titles. They offer at least 35 different categories to search in too. Not only is it nice to have the option for both new and used books; they also have titles in a variety of formats, including printed books (paperback and hardback), audiobooks, and ebooks. For anyone interested, there are also MP3 CDs and DVDs.

That's just the beginning of what this company provides. The following features set apart Better World Books from many of its competitors:

  • Free shipping around the globe. That's right! One of the main concerns customers might have with online shopping is the cost of shipping. But with Better World Books, you don't have to worry about that. They ship orders for free. And more than that, they offer this on a global scale, not just for US orders.
  • A 60-day return policy. This company has gone above and beyond in terms of return policies. While it's nice to have any kind of return policy at all, many competing online bookstores might have a window of two weeks to 30 days in which customers can return unwanted orders. But with Better World Books, you can in fact return an order as long as it's within 60 days of your purchase date. That kind of leeway is a definite perk. Hopefully you won't make a return at all, but it's nice to know you have that flexibility if something comes up.
  • Online customer reviews. Reviews can be incredibly valuable when you're shopping online. Unlike shopping in a physical bookstore, you can't hold the book you're thinking about buying to see its condition or to flip through the pages. Better World Books has thought of this and offers a place on their site where customers have reviewed books they've purchased from the company. This is very helpful for other customers who might be on the fence about a particular title.Indeed, Better World Books has features that add to customer convenience, confidence in making a purchase, and flexibility when an order doesn't go as planned. Qualities like these make this company stand out from its competitors.

The Bad

  • No editorial reviews
  • No memberships

With an extensive selection, free shipping, and flexible returns, what more could a customer want? Well, depending on the customer, there are a few features that Better World Books doesn't have that could turn into deal breakers. Even though the company has much to offer, they don't provide every customer-friendly option out there.

  • Their website has no editorial reviews. While it's extremely helpful that this company provides customer reviews on their site, they still fail to provide editorial reviews. (These reviews can be from professionals, not just customers, who review a book's content.) These reviews would be helpful to have for customers who value an editor's opinion. For instance, you might feel comfortable purchasing anything from Better World Books because you trust their pricing and policies. But would you like the particular book you're thinking about buying? Editorial reviews can help you decide whether you want to actually purchase a book or just borrow it from your local library.
  • They do not offer memberships. While it may not be a red flag, the fact that BWB does not have memberships can be disappointing for some customers. Memberships can be valuable because they can possibly lower the amount of money you spend over time, or they can lead to customer rewards or discounts. In particular, if you plan to order frequently from an online bookstore, a membership would make your life easier and your purchases more convenient. But with this company, you won't have that option to pay for a subscription up front.

The Bottom Line

Better World Books is a well-established online bookstore. They have more than a decade of experience in their industry and a positive reputation.

Furthermore, the company's goals are very noble. Anyone who purchases a book from them can feel good about knowing that the company will donate a book somewhere in exchange. Their profits go toward a great cause, and as a book lover, you can feel great about that as well.

The main reason this company would not be a recommended option is for customers who would rather obtain a membership with an online bookstore. Beyond that, however, this company's customer reviews, return policies, and more are convenient and helpful. They also buy back textbooks that customers want to sell, making them an even more profitable resource. Better World Books has great experience, excellent goals, and many features to satisfy customers.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

4.7
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481 Reviews

Review Breakdown

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Greybl

August 10th, 2020 ,

The shipment took quite a bit of time so I was late with my gift, however it still turned out just right!

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Sharon Harms

May 17th, 2019 Nashville, TN DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I bought a book that was described as a First Edition. It was not. In fact, it was the 11th printing. Very disappointing. It was supposed to be a gift for my nephew. I already had a copy so now it's going to Goodwill.

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Emilie McVey

February 9th, 2019 Hershey, PA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I recently (late Jan 2019) ordered a specific title, third edition from Better World Books. Getting the third edition of this title was important to me, so I intentionally selected the BWB listing that indicated it was the third edition. The book I received, however, was the second edition. When I contacted BWB, they confirmed that I had been shipped the correct SKU /ISBN for the book listed. But, the listing was incorrect - it was a second edition, not the third. BWB's response, essentially, was "stinks to be you". They were "sorry I was disappointed" but not sorry for their error. They offered to refund my money, if *I* paid to return the book. I was not about to pay to return their mistake.

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Glen Venezio

January 21st, 2019 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I heartily recommend Better World Books. I am very pleased with Better World Books. Very good selection, books are indeed in the condition described when ordering them, and very good low prices. I have only had minor issues with 1 or 2 orders, and upon contacting them, the problems were quickly taken care of, refunds issued, etc. Very interested in the company's various sustainability initiatives as well...... Highly recommend this company based on my many book ordering experiences with them thus far.

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Ian Rivlin

June 27th, 2018 Beverly Hills, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I ordered and paid for book from this company. Months later it still hadn't arrived (I assumed they'd sent it sea mail). When I contacted them, they told me - basically - "tough" and they weren't going to do anything about it. They did wish " have a nice day" however, so their email reply wasn't a complete waste of time. Order number 142212712

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Jody Lee

May 17th, 2018 Portland, OR DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I REALLY like this company and have ordered dozens of books over the last 4 or 5 years. Orders have never been incorrect and are received in a timely manner, depending on where they're shipped from, of course. I haven't been disappointed in any way and feel good about my purchases being matched and shared by communities in need. Great job BWB!! I find it quite disturbing to hear about ANY supposed viruses associated with this company...

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Ruth S. Gazzola

May 16th, 2018 Stony Point, NY DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I am not a fan of the new look of your new website. I have purchased from BWB for many years; guess I don't like change. Despite this, I will continue to purchase from BWB because it is a great way to buy a book at a reasonable price. Only once I have been disappointed in the book I purchased, a little rumpled pocket book, which is hard for me to read. Also like the idea of supporting efforts for literacy.

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Carla Heese

May 16th, 2018 Kansas City, MO DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Books are easily accessed through the Search feature. Condition of books are clearly indicated.

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LINDA JOHNSON

May 16th, 2018 Vancouver, WA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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This is my 3rd order from Better World Books and again 'perfect in every way'! This is such an easy site to navigate and order from. Thanks guys😊

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Brittany Wilson

May 16th, 2018 Elgin, SC DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I got all the stuff I bought in the conditions I approved of. So, thank you! I love your service!

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Peter Thompson

May 15th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I have been buying books from Better World Books for nearly a decade now, and have always had a very positive experience. I have purchased numerous books, way too many to count, and they have all arrived here in Australia without drama. I'm a very happy long term customer.

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Tony Adams

May 15th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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As always, book arrives in excellent condition exactly as described.

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M Stolarcyk

May 15th, 2018 Dolgeville, NY DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Always buy from Better World! Well loved books at great prices!

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Nikki

May 15th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Book delivered thanku. Was happy with book quality

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Kerry M Kelly

May 15th, 2018 Spokane, WA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Great choices. Fast service. Like that I am helping others with my book purchases

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A.D. Kolkey

May 15th, 2018 Anderson, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Great selection, purchases always received in "better than listed" condition and super fast delivery using standard/free shipping. Love that BWB supports literacy projects! And saves wonderful library books offering them a second life in private collections. BWB does not disappoint. Buy with confidence.

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Susan m Jones

May 14th, 2018 Stratford, CT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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very good the web page brings you back to the beginning every time you buy a book which wastes a lot of time everything else including people a great and your program to help people around the world is great thanks rate A-

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Peter del Strother

May 14th, 2018

Book was delivered promptly. Book was in at least as good condition as was advertised.

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J. Peschock

May 14th, 2018 Roy, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Great prices and sales, good service, good selection.

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Sue Keefer

May 14th, 2018 Las Animas, CO DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I love Better World Books! The ever-changing collection is fantastic and the service superb! I love that some of my money goes to support literacy programs! Prices are amazing. One of the special treats for me is to see that many of the books are from library collections. It's fun to see what libraries they come from! As a retired librarian, I'm thrilled that these books can be repurposed instead of ending up in a landfill somewhere.

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Kenny Mendez

May 14th, 2018 Costa Mesa, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Simply the best site to buy used books. Great selection of books and unbeatable prices. Books are in good used condition.

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Sonja

May 14th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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BWB is a great place to get good quality books for a reduced price! You help the earth and your pocketbook!

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Bil blackwell

May 14th, 2018 Toledo, OH DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Not always able to find books..probably too new one but prices are great for ones we find.

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LLEW WILLIAMS

May 14th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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TWO books ordered so far and received exactly as advertised in good time. So five stars as far as I'm concerned.

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Pam Bezoni

May 14th, 2018 Cherokee, IA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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This is my second time ordering and I love it. Quick delivery. First time order was split in 2, but it all came. I have told many people about this inexpensive place to get books. Love love

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Judith VeVerka

May 14th, 2018 Sharon, PA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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The books arrived and in good condition. I was very pleased with the new additions to our school library.

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Joy Kronenberger

May 14th, 2018 Erie, PA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Great response used multiple purchase for my book club

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RaShada Wood

May 14th, 2018 Commerce, GA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I’m a teacher and they have great books at a low price!!!

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Cheryl M Miller

May 14th, 2018 Kalamazoo, MI DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Always check Better World Books first. It always seems they have what your looking for. In this case it was exactly what I need and at a great price. And it helps people. Thanks for being there for us.

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Nishara

May 14th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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What an amazing company! Oh betterworldbooks! What did I do before I found you? Probably bought new books from bookshops I suppose. And occasionally from used bookshops. I love that my purchases from betterworldbooks is helping world literacy! On the billing front, I have recieved exemplary service, as I would expect from a well established website. Deliveries are slow, but always a lovely surprise when they turn up!

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Kevin Bishop

May 14th, 2018 Cumming, GA

Prompt service. Pleased with the condition of the books.

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Sister Diadema Morrison

May 14th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Very happy with books I have ordered! I love the cheap prices and the quality has been all that I need.

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Karen

May 13th, 2018 Reno, NV DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Always great books for a modest price. They do good works, which contributes to my decision to buy from BWB. My orders are always shipped quickly. Thanks for a great website, wonderful books and fast, professional customer care.

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Makenna

May 13th, 2018 Birch Run, MI DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I would really appreciate it if I let known when a book is a library binding. Some of them are listed, so I thought I would be safe ordering ones that didn’t state that they were ex library books, yet half od the ones I got in this order were ex library books.

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Susan Schwartz

May 13th, 2018 Newark, DE

I received the book in a timely manner and in great condition!! Thank you so much.

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LaDonya Barnard

May 13th, 2018 Rowlett, TX DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Fast and happy with the quality, would definitely use again. Search was easy for my books.

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Evienne Fitzgerald

May 13th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Superb service I try to buy all my books here.

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Spassimir Stantchev

May 13th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I have ordered books twice and have been extremely satisfied with the quality of the books and the service which have been provided by Better World Books. I intend, God willing, to be buying books in the future anytime I could find titles which might be difficult to find.

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Cathy

May 13th, 2018 Coos Bay, OR DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Good source for reasonable selection and price,and for a good cause.will continue to browse often.

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Mary Van Straten

May 13th, 2018 De Pere, WI DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I seem to always find the books I want . and they're always in great condition and they're delivered fast. love Better World Books.

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Stacy Buhrow

May 13th, 2018 Appleton, WI DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I have gotten books from here 2 times now and have been very happy with both deliveries.

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Colin meaden

May 13th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Good books at a great price, fast and easy delivery

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Shane

May 13th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I love that shipping is included and affordable and that my purchases help a good cause.

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konspari

May 12th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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One of the biggest textbook and scientific book collection on the market. Fast shipping time. Great prices with free international shipping. Simply one of the top 3 book sellers worldwide. Excellent Quality and service. Totally recommended!

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Helen Jaeger

May 12th, 2018 Williston Park, NY DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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The best place to buy books. Great selection and prices with the convenience of a "Wish List". It's fun to just "browse" - I always find books to buy!

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Jorge Cantera

May 12th, 2018 Miami, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Better World Books provides used books at a resonable price. I have made several orders and have been very satisfied. Their customer service is also very polite and efficient.

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Janet M Newman

May 12th, 2018 Flushing, MI DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Used book in excellent condition. lowest price I could find. Arrived promply

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Sylvia

May 12th, 2018 San Antonio, TX

Always great selection at great prices. The books arrived timely, in excellent condition. I love Better World Books!

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Ryan Anderson

May 12th, 2018 Longview, WA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I ordered and received my books in a sufficient amount of time. Will use this company again.

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Kari Straube

May 12th, 2018 Calmar, IA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I love this company. Always fast, reliable service and great quality used books.