Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How You Made a Difference

We’d like to take a moment to thank you, the customers, for everything you’ve done to support us this past year. As Old Firehouse Books is just about to enter its fourth year here at our historic site, things are looking much different than they did this time last spring. As some of you may have read in our newsletter and blog, around this time last year times were very tight. We talked about weathering the lean winter and slow spring we were having, in which we cut back hours while apologizing to our incredible and understanding staff. We also cut costs by placing smaller book orders, which meant that some of you couldn’t find the title you were looking for. Luckily, our re-orders come in fast and our special orders even faster—in these lean times, our publishers are chomping at the bit to get their books to us.

During those months we asked you to consider buying one more book per month, and many of you responded. We couldn’t be happier! This last year we’ve done much better, and it’s all thanks to you! As it is now we can finally say we’re no longer in danger of vanishing like so many independent bookstores have in recent times.

We’ve always known that our customers are wonderful, generous, and overall fantastic people. Fort Collins is one of the best places to have an independent bookstore; you proved that to us and we couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you for taking the time to shop with us—it really does make a difference.

As incentive to keep coming back to the store, here are some things we’re doing to try and make a difference for you:

1.    We donate books to as many community causes as we can to help at fundraising raffles and silent auctions. Sometimes we even run out of books we can donate! But if you’ve got a cause to support, we’re happy to help when we can.
2.    We’ve got an excellent Reader’s Reward program. All you have to do is give your name, and there are no membership fees - we just like it when you come buy books.
3.    Whenever possible, we give a 20% discount to book clubs that let us know their reading list. You can call or email it to us, and we’ll make sure to stock your selections and give you your discount on that month’s book.
4.    On the hunt for an elusive used book?  We can put you on a list and call you as soon as that book comes in used.
5.    We sell books online, including e-Books!  All you have to do is go to our website: You can buy physical copies of books through our website, and either pick them up in our store or have them delivered anywhere.  You can also buy our e-Books directly from us!  (Please note that e-Books we sell work with all types of e-readers except the Kindle, which is proprietary with Amazon.)
6.    We take your used books for trade credit. Any books that we are unable to take may be donated to the American Association of University Women. (We’re their biggest donor!) Stop by the store or check our website for our trade policy.
7.    We are now offering a Book Bounty for our most sought-after used books.  If you bring in one of these books, you can use 10% of the book’s price, same as cash, in the store on new books, used books, candy bars, cards—whatever you like.
8.    Do you have a lot of credit built up?  We occasionally let customers with more than $100 in credit (you know who you are!) convert that credit to cash at 10% of full value to use in the store.  Keep your eyes peeled for our next credit weekend.
9.    We have lots of great community events! With great authors like Sandra Dallas, Diane Mott Davidson, and C.J. Box - just to name a few - each event is sure to be excellent. We also have many signings by beginning local authors, which are just as fantastic! Check out our website for our calendar, or follow us on Facebook.
10. Our events room is open for rental! Have an event you’d like to host? A class to teach? An art show? We’ve got a room! Book clubs get the room for free!
11.  Speaking of book clubs, we have five of our own! Everyone is welcome; just read the book (which we always offer for 20% off) and show up. Check our website for the current and future book club selections, or follow us on Meetup for invitations.
12.  We maintain one of the largest book selections to browse in Northern Colorado. And better yet, our staff knows our stock inside and out. One of the most fantastic things about a brick-and-mortar bookstore is all the great recommendations you can get from our wonderful staff!
13.   Finally, everyone who works here is a member of the local community. By shopping with us your helping to support local jobs and the local economy.  According to, buying your books at an independent bookstore puts 40% more of your dollars back into the community than spending money at a chain (and it puts 99% more back into the community than Amazon sales!).

And that’s just the beginning!

To keep us moving forward we’d now like to offer you a challenge. We’d like to challenge each and every one of you to both read more and visit us at least once a month. If you decide to take the challenge all you need to do is sign up - by either stopping in and talking to us, or emailing us your name and phone number (so we can set you up an account or flag your current account) at - and then shop with us once a month. We’ll keep track of your progress, and for each month you visit us and buy a book we’ll reward you at the end of the year with a giftcard that mirrors your commitment. There are eight months left in the year – will you be able to secure your place as a winner of the elusive $8.88 in rewards?

Now that we’ve challenged you, we want you to know that we are challenging ourselves. We want to be sure we rise to the challenge of being the best bookstore we can. To continue to bring in great events, give back to the community, and overall just be a great place to visit. With your help we can continue to make this happen, and even bring new ideas and growth to fruition. Remember, you’re the reason we’re here, and we want to be the best bookstore possible!

Thank you again for being the best customers we could hope for. We couldn’t do it without you. Now warm up those reading glasses and bookmarks – the challenge is on!

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