June 23, 2010, 2:12 PM

Better World Books opens a new chapter

Online retailer Better World Books will participate in the Lilith Fair concert tour and also receive growth funding.

Lead Photo

John Ujda


Online retailer Better World Books will participate in the Lilith Fair Concert tour this summer. It was one of four companies picked from a pool of 128 candidates to have a booth in a section of the concert venues named the Village.

Better World Books, No. 293 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, sells books at its e-commerce site that were donated at colleges and universities around the U.S. and gives portions to literacy efforts. To date, the company has given more than $8.2 million.

As part of the selection for Lilith, Better World Books will also receive growth funding from a Lilith tour collaborator, i4c Campaign. I4c Campaign was established to raise capital and support from the arts and entertainment community for companies that aim to make social and environmental change. One dollar of each Lilith Fair ticket will go toward i4c businesses.

“We’re trying to go beyond being a great online bookstore and have positive social impact,” says John Ujda, vice president of marketing at Better World Books.

Better World Books and its participation at Lilith, which features women entertainers, also makes good business sense, says Ujda. “They really appeal to the same target demographic that we do. Heavy readers tend to be women over 35,” says Ujda. “We’ll be on site with concert-goers who are our target customers, so there is good alignment there.”

A Better World Books full-time staff member will be on the road with the tour which kicks off June 27 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and ends Aug. 16 in Dallas. Updates along the way also will be posted on Twitter and Facebook and BetterWorldBooks.com, says Ujda.

“We will do a series of ‘webisodes’ and talk to various people who are a part of the tour, post things related to music, related to the author signings or just talk to other social ventures on tour with us,” says Ujda.

Ujda says the company is planning to schedule eight to 10 author signings for the concert tour but final details have not been completed.

In addition to Better World, two other for-profit businesses selected for the Lilith tour are Alter Eco, a fair-trade food products importer, and To-Go Ware, a seller of reusable utensil sets. Non-profit microfinancing organization Grameen America was also chosen.

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