The startup, which was founded in 2014, is a Public Benefit Corporation that sells children’s books and donates a book to a child in need for each three books it sells. BookBugs also tailors its monthly children’s book subscriptions to the interests and reading level of the child, which encourages literacy by increasing the reading difficulty of the books throughout the year.
BookBugs noted that its monthly subscribers doubled throughout the 2015 holiday season compared to the previous year.
“Corporate culture in America can be a potent source of good, if we can look past the quarterly bottom line to the broader, long-term impact we can have,” says Dave Rader, BookBugs’ Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “But private industry’s reliance on large companies to make a global impact has left critical gaps in local communities. And companies at that scale may have a hard time providing customized support for each customer—in our case, young readers,” he added.
According to BookBugs, studies show that 80% of preschool and after-school programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for their children, and 61 percent of low-income families have no children’s books at home.
“The collective impact of schools, non-profits, and the private sector can come together to create big change in childhood literacy. We’re tackling the book gap, filling a role that many non-profits can’t afford, and neither for-profits nor government are fully incentivized to take on,” says Ryan Greer, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Social Impact at BookBugs.
BookBugs notes that there is only one book per 300 children in some communities in the U.S. and hopes to close the book gap.
“Getting a book into a child’s hands is great. Creating a market to do that sustainably is better,” emphasized Greer. “But we also need to make sure the books we’re giving to our communities’ children are those likely to stimulate intellectual growth and create a generation of engaged readers.”
To learn more about the company, read our interview with BookBugs Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Dave Rader.