November 11, 2019

Book Digitization: Better World Books is Now Owned by a Non-Profit Affiliated with the Internet Archive

UPDATED November 6, 2019 (3:15 pm)
Watch Brewster Kahle’s Opening Keynote (Including Better World Books Announcement) at the 2019 Charleston Conference Earlier Today


END UPDATE

Note: Today’s news from the Internet Archive will, among other things, help with their controlled digital lending efforts.

From Today’s Announcement:

Better World Books now owned by Better World Libraries, a mission-aligned, not-for-profit organization that is affiliated with longtime partner the Internet Archive.

This groundbreaking partnership will allow both organizations to pursue their collective mission of making knowledge universally accessible to readers everywhere. This new relationship will provide additional resources and newfound synergies backed by a shared enthusiasm for advancing global literacy. Together, the two organizations are expanding the digital frontier of book preservation to ensure books are accessible to all for generations to come.

This new relationship will allow Better World Books to provide a steady stream of books to be digitized by the Internet Archive, thereby growing its digital holdings to millions of books. Libraries that work alongside Better World Books will now make a bigger impact than ever. [Our emphasis] Any book that does not yet exist in digital form will go into a pipeline for future digitization, preservation and access.

According to Brewster Kahle, Founder and Digital Librarian at the Internet Archive, “The Better World Books origin story is inspiring, and the service they provide to libraries is invaluable. These are our kind of people. We share their values, and we are proud to partner with Better World Books and libraries around the world to promote the goal of universal access to all knowledge.”

Better World Books was born in 2001, when a group of recent college graduates sold their used textbooks online. Their success eventually led to the creation of a revolutionary new business model where used books are collected primarily from libraries, booksellers, colleges, and universities in six countries and then are either resold online, donated or recycled. To date, Better World Books has donated almost 27 million books worldwide, has raised close to $29 million for libraries and literacy and has saved more than 326 million books from landfills. With the backing of the not-for-profit Better World Libraries, Better World Books will enhance these valuable services to libraries and readers.

According to Jim Michalko, former president of The Research Libraries Group, Inc., and a Better World Books board member, “This new relationship is a win for the library community. One of the biggest challenges facing libraries today is responsibly removing materials from their shelves so they can bring in more desirable materials or repurpose space to fit community needs. Better World Books has always been a trusted partner in this activity. Now, libraries can provide books to Better World Books knowing that a digital copy will be created and preserved if one doesn’t yet exist. That’s responsible collection management.”

The Internet Archive has long been committed to digitizing books and library materials so they can be accessed by users all over the world. Through digitization, these materials can be used by researchers in large-scale, data-driven computing investigations, preserved in both digital and physical form, and where appropriate, loaned to readers.

Dustin Holland, the newly appointed President and CEO of Better World Books, underscores, “We exist to make a difference in the world, and our customers make that possible. We are honored to join the Internet Archive family, and our partnership allows us to extract the maximum value out of every book we collect at scale, while continuing to delight readers all over the world.”

[Our emphasis] All Better World Books offices and operations remain unchanged by this transaction.

See Also: Search and View Full Text Books Online via the Internet Archive’s Open Library

See Also: A History of Better World Books (via BWB)

See Also: Full Text Search: The Open Library Now Allows Users to “Search Inside”

See Also: Cool Tools! New Feature Allows Users to Embed Ebook Titles From “The Open Library” on Web Pages and Blogs

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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