Impact and Sustainability

The Journey of a Book

journey of a book

At World of Books, we were founded on an ethos to do good, help charities, and protect the planet; it’s what we’re all about. Because of this, the journey of a book can be a wild one!

We get our books from a number of sources. Last year, we generated £3 million in value for our charity partners, who provide us with many of our books. We use book banks and our customers can even trade-in their used books using our Ziffit service. This is the circular economy in action.

Our books go on quite a journey, and it’s our job to ensure whatever journey they go on, their end destination makes a meaningful and sustainable impact.


New homes

Most of the books we receive are rehomed and reread. As a circular-economy, there’s nothing we love more than giving a book a new home and knowing it’s going to be loved by somebody else. Last year, we found new homes for over 16 million books in over 190 countries!

We believe everybody should be able to share in the love of reading and also in the last year, we helped over 7 million people gain access to affordable books and literacy.

Reselling the books helped us save an estimated 825 tonnes of books and media from waste. Every time you buy a book from us, you’re playing a huge part in this. Go you!

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Good causes

We don’t just sell books. We’re committed to promoting literacy in schools and sharing the love of reading with communities in need. Lots of books that come through our warehouses have a big impact on good causes.

Last year, we donated over 72,000 books to primary schools in the UK. Through our charity partners, we also donate books to schools and communities in need in Africa. So, when a book arrives at our warehouse, it could be the beginning of a very long journey indeed.

If you have books sitting on your shelf, you can make sure they benefit charity too – thanks to our Ziffit service’s partnership with Virgin Money Giving.

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New purposes

A few light scuffs here and there and we can rehome books easily. But some books we receive have been loved a little too much and can’t be resold or donated. It’s not all over for these books though – it’s the beginning of a new chapter that makes a big impact. At World of Books, we make sure they are responsibly recycled.

Recycling books isn’t as easy as chucking them in the paper recycling bin. Unfortunately, the way most books are made can be a bit of a sticking point for recycling centres thanks to the glue that binds the pages together. It means that all-too-often they are rejected at recycling centres and end up waste.

Luckily, we work with specialist book recyclers to make sure that even if books don’t make the grade, they can be responsibly recycled and still go on a journey to do their bit to help the planet.

Each year, our warehouses responsibly recycle around 80 million books – the equivalent to half a million trees – to be made into new products like toilet roll and paper towels.

Book Earth GIF by Lil Dicky - Find & Share on GIPHY


Stay tuned to find out more about our circular economy and what measures we take to ensure we are a business for good. Did you know World of Books is a B Corp? Find out more!
Giving books a new home is a fantastic reason to buy used books. Find many more reasons to buy books second hand here.


What do you think about our books’ journeys? In what ways do you reuse and recycle your books? Let us know in the comments below.

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