A letter to our Bettercare community: changes in 2020

During this difficult year, we’ve had to make some important decisions at Bettercare that may affect you.

    • From September 2020, Bettercare is run entirely by part-time volunteers, so we can’t reply to all emails.
    • For common questions about our learning programmes, please visit our community forum. Here you and our volunteers can help each other answer common questions. [UPDATE Nov 2021: We’ve closed the forum since it was not used.]
    • For exams and certificates: we are not currently able to provide exams and certificates. We hope to offer these again in future, if and when funding makes that possible.
    • For book sales: Bettercare is no longer selling books directly. You can order most Bettercare books on Takealot.com or visit our Buy books page for information on how to order printed books directly from our authorised printers.

All of our learning programmes remain free to read on our website.

Why have we made this decision?

For many years Bettercare has funded itself by selling printed books. We stayed sustainable this way with no outside operational funding, and we’re very proud of that. It kept us independent and focused on our mission to create excellent open-access learning materials.

We have always expected that, as online learning grows, more people may choose to learn online than to purchase a paper book. We have been steadily working towards a day when selling coursebooks would no longer be a viable way to sustain our operations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly made that a reality. As universities send their students home, and hospitals pause in-person training, we can’t sell enough books to pay for our bookselling infrastructure: customer service, printing, warehousing, delivery and administration. It is time for us to evolve quickly.

What next?

As we mentioned before, all our books remain free to read on our website.

Any organisation that needs books can contact our partner company Electric Book Works (email team@electricbookworks.com). EBW will manage a print run just for you. This is cost-effective from around 30 copies. For example, if you’re running an event for 50 people who need, say, Infection Prevention and Control, EBW can have your chosen title printed for you within two weeks for a once-off fee. The cost will include a royalty for Bettercare, which will help keep us online.

While we are disappointed not to be supplying books, and free exams and certificates, to those that rely on them to teach and learn, we also recognise that this is an opportunity to evolve, and to regrow stronger than before. As ever, thank you for your support.