Better World Books
Posted: 19 Mar 2012
Date Written: October 21, 2010
Better World Books, a young start-up, provides a socially-conscious alternative to Amazon, collecting and selling used books to keep them out of the wastestream, while providing a portion of their profits to support global literacy efforts. The case presents an emerging new business model: the for profit "B corporation" designed to combine profits and mission. Founder Xavier Helgesen struggles with how to price his products to capture the value of their social good, how to manage multiple channels of distribution, including selling direct to consumers, and managing negative public perceptions of the social impact of the business once the company turns profitable.
Learning Objective: To introduce a new type of business model which combines for-profit and social mission. To explore the challenges and opportunities associated with having a social mission.
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