The eCommerce wiz kids seem to be back on their game…Amazon’s kindle is RED hot right now and if the economy wasn’t so horrible, you might be forgiven for thinking it is 1999–the year Jeff Bezos was Time magazine’s person of the year.

Having said all that, when I wanted to order a book tonight…I didn’t go over to Amazon.com.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a hugely loyal Amazon.com customer.  Unless I need something ultra specialized, I pretty much always buy my books (and occasionally other items) at Amazon.com.  They have always been incredibly reliable and I really don’t have anything at all to complain about.

But tonight I wanted to try out the services of Better World Books instead of Amazon.  Better World Books is for profit online bookseller that shares its revenues with world changing literacy initiatives. Check out their blog here.

It is easy to go over to BWB and make an average, run of the mill new book purchase–just like you would if you were on Amazon.com.  But the magic of this venture lies in the grassroots book drive approach…BWB connects to libraries and colleges seeking to donate used books.  The used books are then either i) sold online ii) donated donated directly to non-profit partners or iii) recycled.  If the books are sold online, BWB donates 10% of the proceeds to literacy partners.

Beyond the outstanding social mission, BWB has a strong consumer value proposition.  In the U.S., BWB provides free shipping…and for those of us living overseas, shipping runs up to a mere $3.97.  Of course, every order that gets shipped is carbon neutral with offsets coming from Carbonfund.org.

Better World Books is a triple bottom line company, meaning it seriously considers its impact as a company in terms of people, planet, and profit.  It is also a certified B corporation which I have written about here.

Amazon.com is obviously aware of BWB and the buzz it is starting to generate around the blogosphere…so will they start to leverage a few of the good social ideas from BWB moving forward?