“Book lovers know what it’s like to have reading as part of their lives, to always have a book close at hand, to enjoy reading and its ability to broaden your mind,” says GoneReading founder Brad Wirz. ”I can’t even imagine what it would be like to live in a world without books,” he adds.
Gone Reading International LLC, a philanthropic enterprise founded in 2011, markets a line of products for readers and book lovers under the GoneReading brand name. The company donates 100% of after-tax profits to provide new funding for libraries around the world.
Our current product offering includes bookish t-shirts for women and men, book lights for printed books and eReaders, book club gifts, library-themed gifts and more. Our product line is expanding quickly, so check back often!
GoneReading Increases Funding for Reading & Libraries
Wirz’s perspective that everyone has quick access to book and the ability to read changed during a volunteer trip to Central America in 2010, where he worked with a group of Americans to help build a library in the middle of the Honduran jungle. ”Hundreds of villages, thousands of people, had basically no access to books or reading materials at all. That just blew my mind. With a little introspection I knew I could find a way to help,” adds Wirz.
Back in the States, Wirz began thinking about what he could do to spread the magic of reading on a broad scale. ”I found that there are some great organizations already doing this work, building libraries, helping people help themselves by providing access to books, reading materials, and literacy training,” says Wirz. Unfortunately, these organizations lack the funds to work on a broad scale.
Upon his return from Honduras, Wirz spent six months researching the challenges faced by illiterate people around the world. He knew that he could put his marketing background to work to generate increased funding for reading-related charities.
At that point Wirz had spent 20 years in marketing, most recently as the Senior Vice President of Experiential Marketing for global consortium Euro RSCG Worldwide. ”It was time for a change in my life. My wife was totally on board. And so one day I quit my job, ended my career, and started Gone Reading International.”
GoneReading Becomes More Than a Charity
Wirz knew he didn’t want to start a charity in the traditional sense. “I didn’t want to spend my life simply asking people for donations. That seemed too limiting to me.”
But as Wirz sat in his local mall one day, in the midst of a global financial meltdown nonetheless, it occurred to him that people were still buying lots and lots of stuff. “I had read that about 100 million adults in the U.S. identify reading as their #1 hobby. These people are spending money every day, buying the things they want and need.”
That’s when Wirz decided to build a for-profit lifestyle brand for readers, donating all of the profits to provide new funding for reading-related charities. ”I had spent 20 years of my life helping to build some of the biggest consumer brands in the world: Coca-Cola, Corona Beer, the Academy Awards, the Discovery Channel and dozens of others. I was in the perfect position to create a brand of gifts for readers and book lovers that people would want to buy. That’s what led to GoneReading.”