The new deal

Things have been changing a bit around the bookstore, as we mark our third birthday. A retrospective is in order, in four parts.

Arms and legs

In January, I found a new job and moved to Wellington, so I am here only one day a month rather than one day a week. It also means I can't fill in gaps in the roster, which made us think a bit more about resilience and staff cover. As a result, and partly because we (carelessly!) lost a staff member to overseas study, we took on two more, who each work one day in a normal week, with Sharon the bookstore manager doing the other five.

(My new commitments also mean that I have a much busier schedule in general, which in part explains the very long gap in the blog. I have backdated this one a bit. Shhh. Don't tell the archivists.)

Spending money

Alert readers will note that the staff changes mean our wages bill has gone up by one sixth. And this, along with the persistent cash outflows made me recalculate our costs more carefully, and decide that we are much nearer than we were, but still some distance from breakeven. Cursed spreadsheets. Although our revenue is much higher, our costs are also higher. Even more customers must be found! I will do another post with a numbers update soon.

Shelf space

We have also set a target to process in at least 1,000 books a month on average. This is a result of the analysis that showed that books that are new to us sell more quickly, and that holds true even if we process in a lot of new books. Which was certainly surprising to me, but is welcome news. Since if we can boost the volume of books we process in, we should also boost revenue overall.

I will do another post to update on this too. But suffice to say that it is still true that books that are newer to the store sell much more quickly. About half of any new batch are sold in six months, but then only two thirds are sold after 12 months.

While you wait on tenterhooks for the update, if you have any books in good condition that you want to Marie Kondo out of your life, we take anything by donation to the store any day between 10am and 5pm. Or give us a call if you are nearby and we can come collect.

Oooh, aaaah

The other major change is a physical one. We improved the piles, replaced a window in the back wall with some beautiful tall French doors, polished the floors, replaced the old kitchen bench, built some shelves, bought a fridge and installed a fabulous espresso machine.

The main work was done just before Christmas and the finishing touches took us a little way into the new year. I have included some before and after photos to try to give you a sense of it.

I figure that coffee and books and peaceful backyards go well together. So if you know of anyone looking to start a micro coffee stand in a beautiful Ponsonby retail environment with access to a wholesome courtyard and garden, let's talk. We would rather have someone who is keen to run their own thing, and do their own branding and marketing and pastry sourcing and coffee-making. The alternative would be to make it a part of the bookstore, but there are some things better left it to the experts.

Onward to glory.