We’re increasing the price of shipping, but instead of just doing it quietly and hoping you don’t notice, we're gonna explain what we're doing and why we need to do it!
In March of 2020, we announced a $1 shipping option for in-stock book orders. The pandemic was in its early phase and we’d made the difficult decision to close our bookstore. Offering deeply discounted shipping was an experiment aimed at staying connected to our patrons, but it ended up sticking. Over the last two and a half years, the vast majority of packages we’ve shipped have qualified for this $1 rate.
Our co-op’s ability to offer greatly reduced shipping is built on the affordability of USPS Media Mail, a discount service available for books and other educational materials. While USPS increased the cost of most services in 2021, the first hike to media mail landed in July of this year, prompting a review of our costs. What we found is that over the last two and a half years the impact of shipping on our co-op had tripled—Firestorm’s cost is 5% on an average order shipped today versus 1.5% on an order from early 2020. That might sound like a small number, but in an industry with razor thin margins and many stores operating at a loss, it’s often said that the difference between success and failure is just 2%.
Starting this week we’ll be increasing the price of shipping for in-stock books to $3. USPS has already announced rate increases for October, November, and December (our busiest season 😩), so we hope that making a significant change will keep us ahead of the curve. We also hope that being able to get an entire box of books delivered anywhere in the US for a flat $3 will continue to feel like a good deal to you, our patrons!