May 3, 2010

BookRenter Joins Fight Against Youth Illiteracy By Funding New Books for Kids with Every Online Order

BookRenter Customers Choose Education as Most Important Cause

Company Partners with First Book to Distribute New Books and BlogHer to Raise Awareness

San Mateo, CA May 5, 2010 -- BookRenter, the leading online textbook platform company, today announced that it is joining the fight against youth illiteracy by providing new books to the children who need them most. Starting today, with every textbook rental order placed, BookRenter will fund the donation of new, age-appropriate books for children in need. Also, to enable customers to truly act locally, customers can choose the specific U.S. state where children will receive the books funded by their order.

This new BookRenter initiative is part of a larger corporate goal to enable its customers to help give back to local communities. BookRenter recently surveyed customers about the causes that mattered most to them, and 63 percent of all respondents indicated that improving education was their top priority. The decision to provide new books to children in need was based on research that demonstrates a tangible link between greater access to reading materials and higher reading achievement. For example, in studies led by early childhood literacy professor and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, Susan B. Neuman, researchers found that the most successful means of improving the reading levels of low-income students was simply to increase their access to print. Supporting youth literacy fits with the values of BookRenter’s customers and the company’s mission of making education more affordable for everyone.

"As a team, we wanted to contribute to a positive, meaningful, and lasting cause, so we asked our customers and employees for suggestions. It was amazing to see the overall agreement to focus on youth education," said Mehdi Maghsoodnia, CEO of BookRenter." Our global community is facing so many types of challenges – environmental, economic, medical – and to solve them, we’ll need a new generation of highly literate and informed leaders. There’s no better place to start than focusing on literacy at a young age."

Partnership with BlogHer to Raise Awareness and Fuel Book Donations

BookRenter also announced a partnership with BlogHer Inc. to build awareness about childhood literacy issues and to make new books accessible to kids in need. BlogHer will promote the initiative throughout its network, including parenting, education, and non-profit blogs.

"We're thrilled to partner with BookRenter in this important initiative," said Lisa Stone, CEO of BlogHer. "Children's literacy is an issue that's close to the hearts and minds of many of our bloggers and their readers. Together we can do a lot of good by turning up the volume on the conversation about the critical role books play in child development and education and getting new books to the kids who need them now."

BlogHer bloggers will be invited to join the conversation around children’s literacy and this program by sharing their experiences with books and reading. For each comment posted on a BlogHer and BookRenter co-branded page, BookRenter will donate books in BlogHer's name.

First Book Enables Distribution of Books to Children In Need Nationwide

BookRenter is partnering with First Book, an award-winning nonprofit organization, to distribute the books generated through the campaign. First Book has a proven record of working expeditiously with partners to place age-appropriate books into the hands of the children who need them most, having already delivered more than 70 million books to schools and programs serving children in need across the United States and Canada. First Book underscores the enormous need for more quality reading materials for kids in neighborhoods throughout the U.S. In fact, recent studies reveal that on average there is one book for every 300 children in low-income neighborhoods, compared to 13 books for every one child in middle-income neighborhoods. Additionally, 80 percent of pre-school and after-school programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for the children they serve.

To learn more about BookRenter and child literacy go to http://www.bookrenter.com/givesback

About BookRenter.com

BookRenter launched in 2008 and is dedicated to making education more affordable by allowing students to rent textbooks for up to 75% off the retail price. BookRenter's innovative pricing and operating systems provide students with the best price, highest quality books, and most flexible rental experience available today. Currently carrying over 3 million titles and serving thousands of students on over 5,000 U.S. campuses, BookRenter is one of the fastest growing startups in Silicon Valley, growing at over 400% each year. BookRenter, with offices in San Mateo, California, is a private company that is funded by prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firms. To learn more about how to use BookRenter for all of your textbook rental needs, please visit BookRenter.com.

About BlogHer

Reaching more than 20 million women each month (Nielsen Site Census, March 2010), BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online. Founded in February 2005 by Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone, BlogHer's mission is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment. Today BlogHer creates opportunities for members via a community hub (www.blogher.com), annual conferences and a publishing network of more than 2,500 qualified, contextually targeted blog affiliates. BlogHer provides the highest quality content on a range of topics, with all blogs continually edited to meet strict editorial standards, including content quality, category relevance and blog frequency. BlogHer enjoys a strategic partnership with iVillage, part of Women@NBCU. BlogHer's investors are Venrock, GE/NBC Universal's Peacock Equity Fund, and Azure Capital Partners.

About First Book

First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 65 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities. First Book now has offices in the U.S. and Canada. For more information about the nonprofit First Book please visit www.firstbook.org.