World of Books, a market- leading ‘circular economy’ technology business for used books, has attracted a £13m majority stake investment from Bridges Sustainable Growth Fund III, which is managed by specialist sustainable and impact investor Bridges Ventures (“Bridges”).
Founded by a group of book-loving entrepreneurs in 2002, World of Books has been a pioneer in the re- use and recycling of books that might otherwise go to landfill – which is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions in the UK. World of Books works with charity shops and recycling merchants to collect and buy used books, while also buying unwanted books directly from consumers through its proprietary Ziffit ‘scan and send’ app. The unique technology platform it has developed over the last decade enables it to re-sell as many of these books as possible (via its own website and others such as Amazon and eBay); while the rest are recycled to make corrugated cardboard packaging and newsprint. This allows World of Books to offer over 2m high-quality, low-cost used books for sale to a global customer base – while also reducing carbon emissions.
Charity shops have to dispose of an estimated 50,000 tonnes of unsold books every year. Previously they had to pay for these to be taken away via trade waste collections, a large portion of which would end up in landfill. World of Books now buys and processes more than 25,000 tonnes of these books, working with over 3,700 charity shops across the UK. Its investment in technology has turned what was once a significant cost for charities into an additional source of income – equivalent to an economic benefit of £11m in the last five years alone.
In the UK, the online used book market is worth c. £200m pa – c. 10% of the total book sales market – and is growing at about 15% pa. Roughly one in three books sold in the UK are second-hand, and research suggests that this figure might be higher if there was a broader selection of books available. World of Books aims to take advantage of this growth opportunity by continuing to expand its inventory, and through further investment in its infrastructure and networks.
Stephen Boobyer will lead this new chapter of the company’s growth as Chief Executive Officer. He will be supported by three of the company’s co-founders: Simon Downes, who has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer, Mike Laundon, who will continue to run the company’s rare books division (World of Rare Books) and Ben Maxfield (Operations Director). Bridges will also work with Stephen to make further appointments to the senior executive team over the coming months. All existing shareholders have rolled over part of their investment alongside the new investment from Bridges.
Chairman Kenneth Blair and co-founder Arthur Maxfield will transition from their current executive roles over the next 6-12 months. However, they will remain actively involved with the business as non-executive directors, so World of Books can continue to benefit from their strategic insight and industry expertise. Bridges Partner Oliver Wyncoll and Investment Director James Hurrell (who together led the investment on the firm’s behalf) will join the World of Books board, while an experienced non-executive chairman will be appointed in due course.
Spectrum Corporate Finance advised shareholders and acquisition debt was provided by Clydesdale Yorkshire Banking Group.
Stephen Boobyer, CEO of World of Books, said:
“We chose Bridges as an investor because we felt they shared our values, understood our sector and our vision of what World of Books can achieve in the future. We hope to draw on the experience of Oliver, James and the wider Bridges team to keep building the business and maximising growth – but also to help us develop the way we think and talk about our existing and future impact as a business.”
Oliver Wyncoll, Partner at Bridges Ventures, commented:
“Sustainable living is a key focus for Bridges, so we’re hugely excited to invest in World of Books. Its pioneering technology-driven circular economy model is not only incredibly impactful, particularly in terms of reducing waste and carbon emissions; it also directly benefits charities and provides the business with a market-leading position in a growing sector. There are many attractive growth opportunities open to the business, and we look forward to working with Stephen, his team and the rest of the board to identify the most attractive options and help them execute their plans – while continuing to maximise the company’s social and environmental impact.”
Guy Stamp, Director, Specialist and Acquisition Finance at Clydesdale Bank PLC, commented:
“World of Books is a clear market leader with a strong management team and proven track record. We are privileged to play a part in their unfolding story and look forward to supporting the business in its next stage of growth.”
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.
Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism
When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.
After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.
How was it started?
It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.
How to go about it?
So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.
If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.
What can be learned?
Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .