December 8, 2010, 12:05 PM

Better World Books opens an e-commerce site in Britain

The site launches with 1 million titles, with plans for rapid expansion.

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Better World Books, a for-profit venture that collects and sells new and used books online and donates a percentage of each sale to help fund literacy initiatives worldwide, today launched an e-commerce web site in United Kingdom.

At launch BetterWorldBooks.co.uk offers free shipping in the U.K. and more than 1 million new and used titles, with plans to expand to 8 million by June by adding the retailer's U.S. inventory to the site, as well as opening up a third-party marketplace.

"We want to get to a critical mass of inventory as quickly as we can because we know that if a consumer comes to our site and doesn't find what he's looking for, he might never come back," says John Ujda, vice president of marketing of Better World Books, No. 293 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

The site’s launch comes more than two years after the retailer opened a U.K. distribution center in October 2008. The business, which has 18 employees in the U.K., sold its books through a variety of third-party marketplaces. 

While Better World Books is eyeing other markets, it first aims to build up its international sales. It plans to do so by eliminating its $3.97 shipping rate for international sales, says Ujda.

"That should make an immediate impact on our sales outside the U.S.," he says.

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