As many of us begin to think about taking down the Christmas tree, Austin Smith’s mind is always on planting more trees.
“We’re hoping to plant one million trees by 2030. That’s the end goal," said Smith, founder of Trees For Books.
Trees For Books sprouted in October from Smith’s Edmond home.
His business acquires books through donations and estate sales. Smith then donates about 95 percent of them to various organizations. He sells the other five percent.
A tree is planted for every 10 books donated and for every book sold.
Smith partnered with Eden Reforestation, which plants trees and creates farming jobs in impoverished villages around the world.
“I really like to give back to the community, and this is one way I can do that, I guess,” Smith said. “I also like building things. I like building brands and things like that.”
Smith has built his company with a surgical-like precision.
“I built scripts that pull in data from the books after just scanning the barcode,” Smith said. “And then, after that, it gets uploaded to the site. I like to automate things, so my philosophy is, ‘Work yourself out of a job.’”
Smith has planted more than 500 trees to date and donated books to more than 50 organizations, but he wants to keep growing.
“I need more organizations to reach out and ask for more books, and that’s kind of the problem that I’m at right now,” Smith said.
If a library, charity or nonprofit is in need of some reading material, you can find more information on the Trees For Books website.