1319 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
The First Book Marketplace is a revenue generating online bookstore exclusively available to programs serving children from low-income families. Offering the highest quality titles at 50-85% below retail prices, this award-winning social enterprise revolutionizes the way community organizations educate the children they serve by offering programs affordable books for the first time. Since launching in 2004, the First Book Marketplace has distributed more than 2,100,000 books and generated $4,000,000 in gross revenue.
Market research reveals there are 300,000 community organizations and more than 1,000,000 Title I classrooms in the United States serving children from low-income families. Additionally, 68% of these programs have funds ($450, on average) for the purchase of books - resulting in an annual book-buying power of $90 million.
The First Book Marketplace enables these local programs to visit www.fbmarketplace.org, purchase award-winning books at deeply discounted prices, incorporate these books into program curricula (often for the first time ever), and then give the books to children to take home and keep. In this way, the First Book Marketplace has a profound double-bottom line impact: it provides books to local programs at affordable prices and generates revenue for both First Book and its private-sector publishing partners.
By harnessing "base of pyramid" thinking and empowering many of the most disenfranchised community groups in the United States, First Book and the First Book Marketplace's models have been highlighted in case studies at Columbia Business School, the Yale School of Management, and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Books from the First Book Marketplace are exclusively available to programs serving children from low-income families. These local programs include Title I schools, after-school programs, Head Starts, soup kitchens, and a range of other initiatives serving the hardest to reach children. After working with these networks for 15 years, First Book has developed the country's largest database of nearly 20,000 programs. Hundreds of new groups register to access First Book resources each month.
First Book's model addresses the critical factor influencing future reading ability: the number of books in the home. Additionally, studies document that First Book improves children's interest in reading, changes the home-literacy environment, and increases children's desire to learn. The Marketplace also offers a powerful social return. The Marketplace title retails for $8.00 but sells for between $2.00 (for paperback or board books) and $3.00 (for hardback books)- generating between $5.00 and $6.00 in added value with each book purchased; $2,000 will place more than 1,000 books with a retail value $8,000 into the hands of children in need.
All the positive statistical metrics on performance that First Book is experiencing are excellent indicators of success and impact. It is following excerpts from letters we have received from the children and families we support that are our best advocates. Full Story