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Better World Books

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482 User Reviews

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.

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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.
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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.
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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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Star Rating

4.7

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482 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 grade

83%

4 grade

11%

3 grade

3%

2 grade

1%

1 grade

2%

Sentiment Criteria

Value

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MARGARET WEBER Bel Air, MD

I HAVE BEEN ORDERING FOR A FEW YEARS NOW SINCE I STARTED LOSING MY EYESIGHT AND I HAVE ORDERED AS MANY AS 10 BOOKS IN AN ODER OR JUST A FEW AND I ALWAYS ORDER LARGE PRING..THAT IS WHY I LOVE YOU , YOU HAVE SUCH A WONDERFUL S ELECTION BUT IT NEVER FAILS ONE OF THE BOOKS WILL BE SUCH SMALL PRINT THAT I CAN'T READ IT I AM ONLY SHORT 18 BOOKS FROM READING 4,000 SINCE 1967 AND LORD ONLY KNOWS I MUST HAVE READ ANOTHER 1,000 BEFORE THAT, I WAS BORN IN 1939. LOSING MY EYESIGHT IS ONE OF THE WORSE THINGS THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO ME AS YOU CAN SEE I LOVE TO READ. TG, FOR BETTER WORLD BOOKS PRICES ARE REASONABLE AND THERE IS FREE SHIPPING. LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOUR SALES AND DELIVERY IS QUICK. MARGARET WEBER PS DO YOU GIVE A SENIOR DISCOUNT ?

3 years ago

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Clair Light

The website was good and easy to use My books came on time and were well but minimally packaged. It was an efficiently managed business transaction with a funny little difference. I loved the personalised attention when getting my email telling me they were on their way. It was great! I came home one day to see first one and then two little packages sitting on my front door step like little refugees from an orphanage plainly packaged in grey waiting for me to open the door and invite them in and give them a good and loving home. I was pleased to do so and we are all quite happy together. I sit them on my knee and they tell me stories.

3 years ago

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Glen Venezio

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.

2 years ago

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Jody Lee Portland, OR

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...

3 years ago

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Sue Keefer Las Animas, CO

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.

3 years ago

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Nishara

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!

3 years ago

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David Fiore Sr Yorkville, IL

I consider Better World Books to be the No. 1 book seller on the Internet. I have made multiple purchases over several months and have not had any "bad" experiences with BWB. Book condition exactly as described, price very affordable, shipping free, and, best of all, each purchase is a contribution to a worthwhile cause. BWB has truly set a higher standard of customer service selling books online than other similar businesses.

3 years ago

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Marie Miller Centreville, VA

It took me a little bit to get used to the new website but now I find it much easier to use than the old one. I love BWB. It has such a terrific variety of books that I can always find something that I want to read. The sales are a boon to my pocketbook but the everyday prices are very low. I like that BWB donates a book for every book that I read. Delivery is pretty fast, too.

3 years ago

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Hugh Dee Eugene, OR

My personal experience with BetterWorld Books is: Great prices on used books Extensive search capability on their site Smooth ordering process Free shipping delivers in reasonable 7-10 working days; I still don't understand why packages go on extensive tour of America before arriving at my not-so-small city but that's not really important. Condition of books is always as promised.

3 years ago

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Rosemary

BWB is always my first choice to browse their huge supply of new and used books. Books are always my first pick for all gifts for all special days for family and friends. I've never received a less than acceptable book, when it says a book has slight marks inside I can't figure out why it's not " like new" condition. I Love books and I love Better World Books!

3 years ago

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Martha Daniels Desert Hot Springs, CA

My only request is: When you email me to ask if books have been received, it would be better to include the titles. Otherwise, I am not sure if I received them. I will continue to order from Betterworld Books. I enjoy the selection, free shipping, and contributions to literacy. I also find the new site a big improvement over the old one for speed, ease of use, and selection. wetclay

3 years ago

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Esther Cup Choy Colorado Springs, CO

I've found that Better World Books' rating of their books is consistently accurate. If they say something is in good condition I can count on that. Their prices compare very well with other sellers, their customer service is excellent and they have an amazing selection of books. I go to their site first when I'm looking for either used or new books.

3 years ago

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Maria Galindo Ruidoso Downs, NM

They have great selections of books. Easy to find what your looking for they have an awesome website. Easy checkout and your books are delivered in a timely manner. All books i bought from Better World Books are in excellent condition. They have several programs to donating your books. They also have gift certificates. Good place to shop for your new or used book.

3 years ago

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Margaret Franzen Milwaukee, WI

I recently "discovered" Better World Books - and have placed several orders. Books are as described, arrive in a timely fashion, and sometimes the books send an email that they are on their way! I love the business model of caring for the environment and sharing books with folks who have little access. Books are a big part of my world - and Better World Books reflects similar values. One book that arrived was not what I ordered, and their customer service was GREAT in resolving the issue!

3 years ago

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Carolyn Dean Ronceverte, WV

Their books are as described, they are packaged well for shipment and arrive in a timely fashion. The absolute best and most unique service is their email notification for tracking that has been dictated to them by the book ordered. It is priceless. I posted the notification on my Facebook page because it was so delightful. I wanted all my friends to know about this wonderful company.

3 years ago

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Teresa Ramon Sirer

Although the book was 'used' it was in immaculate condition. I am very happy with the service I received and the book's letter to me made me smile - a lovely touch! I have told all my family and friends about my experience with Better World Books. It is good to know that most of the money from the book sales goes to such a worthy charity. Thank you.

3 years ago

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Faridat

I am always thrilled when I receive my books at a discounted price. I just wish there was a place I could donate them back in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. My husband is professor and would love to donate all his gently used textbooks as well but there in no where in Edmonton , Alberta that I know of. If there is a way to set up a depot we would love that

3 years ago

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theresa Warner Robins, GA

The many books I have ordered from Better World Books come in the condition as described, better than I could expect for used books in most cases. They are delivered quickly. Very happy with this company. Will continue to order many more times in the future, my new go to for myself and used book gifting! Since Shipping is very reasonable or free makes it easy to pass on a good book to family that lives in another state.

3 years ago

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Carol Christ Dallas, OR

(1) When I want a SPECIFIC book, I check the library. But for gifts and books I want to own, Better World Books is the online “store” to use, because of the wide selection of used and new books. Other reasons: price, speed of delivery. supporting literacy. (2) When I BROWSE, the web pages are essy to use, and I really like to poke around in the “Bargain Bin.”

3 years ago

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Soleil Dakay Hayward, CA

1st - what i love is the email coming from the book. it was something unexpected and it was fun receiving an email from a book. hahaha 2nd - the rates are really good PLUS discounts to be applied. i do hope you will have more discount vouchers esp on birthdays. 3. the condition of the condition was exactly as stated PLUS WITH DUST JACKETS! it's very important to me. 4. delivery always on time. more power to your store! will always recommend it.

3 years ago

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M Kennedy Fairport, NY

When I first started ordering from Better World Books about 10 years ago, I was very enthusiastic. The used books were affordable, shipping was cheap and dependable, though not always quick and they were supporting literacy efforts. Over the past few years, I found BWB less dependable and have turned back to other sources some of the time. In cases when books didn't arrive, they always refunded the purchase price after some email correspondence. The past couple of orders have been filled on time. Having national and international literacy support is a worthy effort. Creating jobs is an important function of a business. My understanding is that all the books sold have been donated. I am curious to know what percentage of the profit is donated to literacy efforts, how much is cash and how much is leftover books, how many of the workers are paid above or below a living wage, and how many times higher is/are the highest paid employees salary (including benefits and other rewards) above the lowest paid employees. That is information that would help me decide how much to support this for profit company.

3 years ago

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Pam Bloomsburg, PA

I have been using Better World Books for several years and have never had a bad experience with them. The book ratings are easy to read and in my case, have usually always arrived in better shape than I expected. New means new and "like new" means new in most cases. The books have arrived quickly and the prices have remained very reasonable. The only time I would use another source to buy a book on-line would be if BWB didn't have it. I think that happened only once.

3 years ago

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Lisa Kwasnjuk Malvern, PA

I had discovered this book website just fiddling around. So glad to stumble upon BWB! I love the fact that I get a chance to help those in need buy purchasing used books. Most of them were in nice shape. I got a whole series of books my son wanted, books as gifts and even I am reading more. Love that I am helping give new life to books otherwise dumped somewhere. Love the low prices, bargain bin, no shipping, to be able to use coupons too and reliable shipping. Also, love the "wish list" so I can come back and purchase books at another time. Only thing is that I wish DVDs were included on your website! Oh, and after a couple orders I wasn't told how many books were donated anymore.

3 years ago

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Hilde

great assortment, free delivery and for every book you buy, one in need gets one too. what more could you wish for? i have ordered quite a few books, and in the very few cases the book arrived damaged, I got a full refund! Good service. I only wish that they'd work with cookies, so that I don't have to log in all the time to view if there is something of my wishlist available...

3 years ago

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J Shatswell Oklahoma City, OK

BetterWorldBooks is a great place to find top quality used books at some of the best prices I have ever found. I love the fact that when you buy a book, they donate a book and offer a wide variety of charitable options. I will continue to order from them and have sent many of my friends to their site. Delivery was fast as well. I Love this Company!

3 years ago

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Christina

I have been purchasing from Better World Books for a number of years now - from Australia. I am one of the many happy and very satisfied customers and it doesn't stop amazing me how great the quality of the books is. The descriptions provided by the team for each book sold is spot on. Plus, I'm very happy to support BWB for the work they do in the US toward improving literacy and reading. Love you guys! Christina

3 years ago

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David Laskey Enfield, CT

I have placed multiple orders with Better World Books and have not been disappointed. The books arrived in about a week and the condition of each was as described on the site. Browsing, ordering, and payment were easy. When browsing, since I only buy books with condition Good or better, and prefer Very Good or better, I wish there were some way to filter out (or in) by condition.

3 years ago

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Patricia Lowell Shelburne Falls, MA

So far, I have purchased over 200 books from Better World Books and have been totally satisfied every time. The books are very reasonably priced, they ship promptly and the normal shipping is free. For every book I purchase one is donated to various places where books are needed. I signed up for their adverts and on special occasions receive an email advertising a sale with a discount using a special code. The new web site is so very easy to work with to find exactly what I want and the prices can't be beaten!

3 years ago

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Diane Erb

I found this site a couple of years ago. I love the fact that they donate books when you buy books. The prices are reasonable and delivery is usually about 10 days or so. I usually order anywhere from 3 - 7 at a time. Some are paperback, some discarded library books. When I am done with them I donate the books to friends, our library, the hospital library or nursing homes. It's a win win all around.

3 years ago

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Miranda Bradshot ,

this book shop is everything!! not only that the prices are accessible and the shipment is free, moreover they donate books to people in need for every book you buy. this is amazing and we need more services like that.

9 months ago

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Ruth S. Gazzola Stony Point, NY

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.

3 years ago

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Peter Thompson

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.

3 years ago

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A.D. Kolkey Anderson, CA

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.

3 years ago

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Susan m Jones Stratford, CT

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-

3 years ago

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Karen Reno, NV

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.

3 years ago

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Spassimir Stantchev

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.

3 years ago

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konspari

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!

3 years ago

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R. Glondys Venice, FL

Why do I purchase books from BetterWorldBooks? Extensive collection of books by many, many authors in both fiction and non-fiction. I have yet to fail to locate books to purchase at excellent prices with quick delivery. They are my "go to" bookseller.

3 years ago

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Louis Francis Lompoc, CA

I've been buying books through Better World Books for a while now for both my wife and I and we really enjoy the price and the time it takes from order to delivery. Yes, the books are used but they are in great condition. After we read the books we pass them on to different family members who might enjoy them also.

3 years ago

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William Adams Scotland, CT

Better World Books has an expansive selection of books, ebooks, and DVD's at incredibly appealing prices, and shipping is free! I have been a customer for years and have always been pleased. BWB gift certificates make great gifts. I highly recommend BWB.

3 years ago

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Kerry Petherbridge

I love buying books with BWB! Knowing that there is a second giving through their literacy programmes is part of this. Having my (excellent condition) books arrive with stamps inside from towns and libraries all over the world is fun and interesting. They're like pen friends. I hope a branch opens in Australia.

3 years ago

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Nina

Great customer service! Even though it takes a while for the books to ship to Europe, I highly value the free shipping and the books usually still arrive in the expected time free. I almost exclusively shop for my books on BWB because English books in non-anglophone Europe are pricy and hard to come by.

3 years ago

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Kellie Englewood, CO

After hearing how Amazon has knocked many bookstores out of business, I wanted to find a more ethical alternative for buying used books. Better World Books is perfect! Each book is in great condition, even though it’s used. And they’re cheap; site is easy to use; and most importantly it contributes to the community!

3 years ago

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Maggie Hogan

I was so impressed with Better World Books. Loved my email letter from the book. What an original idea. And the delivery was quicker than expected. Also appreciated the fact that I was pretty warned that it could be later than usual due to postal backlog in Australia. Price was good.

3 years ago

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Tamara

Delightful experience with BBW! Nice website and easy ordering. Book arrived on time and well packaged. Physical description of book was accurate. Good prices. Engaging, lighthearted email made the experience fun. Will order books again!

3 years ago

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Maren

I absolutely loved the letter I got from my book after I made the purchase. My book was so happy to get picked, leave the dusty shelf and go on to a new life - it was so grateful for a 2nd chance in life!!! I felt so good buying a recycled book!

3 years ago

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Kathryn Gresham

so glad to buy secondhand books and to know so much is donated towards literacy. Excellent delivery and communication; easy to navigate website. But most important are the donations and the ecycling of books. Congratulations!

3 years ago

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John Bamford

This is my first experience with buying a used technical book on line. Also a first with Better World Books. My experience was so great that I'm awaiting delivery of another technical book. If it's anything like my first experience I'll be very happy with delivery and excellent condition of the book.

3 years ago

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Mary Martinez Santa Ana, CA

Very happy with the book I received. Book was in good condition ,good story ,my class enjoyed the story , they have wanted me to read story ever and over again. Was delivered in time that was estimated. Received emails about delivery progress, Especially enjoyed the letter I received that how happy the book was chosen and bought.

3 years ago

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Dale Baltimore, MD

I've appreciated the friendly tone of the customer reps when I point out that only one volume of a 2-volume set was sent or complain that a wrong book was sent. (those are the kind of problems I have faced, but usually everything works out right and the prices keep me coming back and not feeling too frustrated when there's a mistake.

3 years ago

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