Another thing I want to address is the difference between an online store and a brick and mortar bookstore, as well as e-books vs. physical books-I do not carry e-books, as this is a "retro" e-book store, meaning I carry physical books. Yes, I know it is more difficult to browse books online than in a bookstore. Shopping online sometimes means we take a risk that we will buy a book, and then get halfway through and fall out of love with it. Of course, unless you "pre-read" the book at the store ( I love you all, but please don't ;) ) you run that same risk when purchasing a book in a store. You may notice a difference in the prices I list and those of a bigger corporation that sells books, and the shipping cost. The reason? Profit margins, of course. I can only drop the price so low before it starts erasing my profit margin and I start having more overhead cost than profits on the books I sell; some books come to me at a greater discount than others, and I try to maintain that. As I am not a large, multinational corporation with investors and stores (or website reach) galore, that reflects in my pricing model. As for e-books, I have given it some thought, and it would be too much for me to manage at this stage for me to sell e-books; there are requirements for platforms and the like that I am not equipped to handle at this time-perhaps it will be revisited once I've got a brick and mortar storefront up and running. Perhaps. I tend to fall on the physical books side of the line myself. Yes, I have an iPad and I do have some books on there, but by and large I read physical books. No battery life to worry about, no glare from lights, and it is easier by far on my myopic self than an e-reader is; once you reach a certain stage of near sightedness you have to be wary of too much screen time, as it can damage the muscles of your eyes by causing them to tighten too much. I have typed most of this post without looking at the screen-to my high school keyboarding teacher, I'm sorry I'm doing it backwards but it is better for me than detached retinas ;)
Finally (and btw, congrats for making it this far), I want to tell y'all some of my goals for the Red Hen. First and foremost, I want to reach a point of regular sales on the website that allows me to move to the next phase-the brick and mortar. Right now, I am not able to get into a brick and mortar. I simply don't have the equity or financial success (banks and lenders look at sales and revenues) needed to get funding. Second-get the Red Hen to a point of profitability and have it be my full time employment. Right now where I work is not the healthiest place for me, and there isn't much in the way of advancement possible-part of why I decided to open the Red Hen was because 20-25 hours a week simply isn't enough, and I hadn't had any success in a two year long search for full time employment. It will be better for me, and for my family, when I can move on the the Red Hen as my focus and sole source of income. That will take time-it is a more long term goal to say "I want to see a profit of X amount", on average it takes between three and five years for a business to pass the breakeven point and move into full fledged profit. Third, I want the Red Hen to be a part of the community-to encourage children to read (hence so many books being in the children's reading range, and the Chick's Corner), to become a meeting space for book lovers, and to provide some basic classes in different life skills such as budgeting, meal planning, and resume writing/job hunting. I was taught as a child to leave a place as good as, or better than, you found it; a lesson that has become a sort of life goal for me, and which fits nicely with the philosophy of the Red Hen-to contribute, to fill a need when you see one, to be active and not just ignore a problem.