Today a customer mentioned that she could get a new hardcover book online for $15. Our mission is not to shame anyone for their shopping practices, but we do feel a responsibility to educate about what it means when a new hardcover is available for $15 online.
When we order direct from publishers, we get a wholesale discount of 46% off the cover price. The book in question had a cover price of $26.99, meaning our cost for that book from the publishers would be $14.57. If we sold it for $15, we'd make . . . 43 cents.
It goes without saying, but we cannot operate making 43 cents per book sold. We have 10,000 books in stock. If we sold every one of them with a 43 cent markup, we'd make enough to keep the store open for about six days.
The biggest (and cheapest) online booksellers have lots of other revenue streams that are MUCH more profitable than books, so they can stand to lose money on books. They also most likely get better discounts from publishers because they sell at higher volume. Fair enough.
But remember what those giant online booksellers have no interest in doing:
➡️bringing your favorite authors to town so you can meet them and get your books signed
➡️creating good jobs in your community
➡️partnering with cultural organizations in your town to enrich the arts
➡️feeding and taking care of store cats that you can take pictures of and pet
➡️creating a safe and comfortable space for you to spend an hour or two
➡️working to support the local authors where you live
➡️hosting open mics etc. so emerging artists have a platform
➡️paying taxes
Every time we tweet something like this someone replies with something like "shut up and let me enjoy my cheap book." Fine, go nuts. We have no right to tell you what to do. We want this to be informative, not shaming.
But we will say: we feel a responsibility to use our platform to educate people about this stuff. If you've ever wondered why it seems like "there are no bookstores anymore" or why retail businesses keep closing in your downtown, this is it. A cheap book still has a high cost.
Wow, this blew up. Good! We've been trying to keep up and chat/clarify but we have lots of stuff to do today (see bullet points above). If cost is a concern in buying books, remember that used bookstores and libraries contribute to communities too.
Also, if you prefer to listen to audiobooks, @librofm sells digital audiobooks and they support indie bookstores:
And here's an @indiebound guide to buying ebooks through places like @kobo who also support Indie Bookstores:
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More from @ravenbookstore

Jul 24, 2020
I used our shipping software to pull quotes on shipping this copy of @DrIbram's HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST:

📨 @FedEx Home Delivery: $14.03
📨 @UPS Ground: $23.87
📨 @USPS Media: $2.94

The end of the United States Postal Service would be a disaster for bookstores and libraries.
The independent bookstores that have managed to pull through the pandemic so far have all done it thanks (at least in part) to ecommerce. Selling books online relies on shipping books. We're no exception; we were proud to send books to all 50 states.

Our sending books to all 50 states wouldn't have been possible without the @USPS. Our remaining open this far into the pandemic might not have been possible either.

A world without the @USPS is a world where only big corporations can afford to ship books to customers.
Read 8 tweets
Apr 29, 2020
Perhaps an unpopular opinion:

It should take a little while for a package to get to you. Moving items across thousands of miles in an efficient manner (that accounts for environmental impact) is not a fast process.

Amazon Prime has created unrealistic expectations.
We're hearing about shipping "delays," but we argue that shipping speeds are returning to a rate that should be considered normal.

Clicking on something and having it arrive tomorrow has pretty severe consequences for the people making it happen, not to mention the planet.
USPS Media Mail, which we use for most shipping, is amazing. It's just $2.99, and it gets a book anywhere in the US.

What would a stranger on the street say if you said, "I'll give you three bucks to take this book from Kansas to California by Friday or else?"
Read 4 tweets
Dec 12, 2019
Selling this book for $9.59 would have the same effect on our bottom line as opening the cash drawer and handing a customer a $5 bill for no reason.
What happens when you buy a book from us at full price:
1️⃣ just over half goes back to the publisher to pay for the book
2️⃣ of the rest, about half goes to pay employee wages
3️⃣ the remaining half of our share goes to rent, marketing, donations, cat care, maintenance, etc
Regarding 3️⃣ above: all of our marketing budget goes to local small businesses or local entities like @ktwu11 or @kprnews. Our vet and landlord are Lawrence small businesses. Point is, we try to keep all of our share of a book’s price right here in Lawrence Kansas.
Read 8 tweets
Sep 4, 2019
Hi! It appears that a certain huge online retailer shipped out copies of @MargaretAtwood's THE TESTAMENTS a week before its release date (September 10th). Some people (it's unclear how many) have already received copies in the mail. This is bad. Here's why: 🧵
In order for us to order copies of THE TESTAMENTS we had to sign an affidavit swearing that we wouldn't put copies out before 9/10. As outlined in the affidavit, if we broke the terms we'd be liable for damages and we wouldn't be allowed to sell the book anymore.
It should come as no surprise that a certain huge online retailer is selling this book very close to our cost; if we sold it at their price we'd make $1.73 per copy. We've discussed before how this is unfair, and how we deal with it.
Read 11 tweets

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