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Celebrating 20 Years of ThriftBooks

Our commitment to our customers and the next 20 years

By Barbara HagenJune 20, 2023

Today, ThriftBooks officially kicks off its 20th anniversary celebration! ThriftBooks began in 2003 and for the past 20 years, we have been unwavering in our mission to provide book lovers everywhere the ability to Read More. Spend Less. And we have done it all with a commitment to sustainability even before it was fashionable to be focused on sustainability.

It's easy to dismiss 20 years in business as no big deal, but let's really contemplate this.

Twenty years ago, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even the iPhone did not exist. Streaming music and shows were inconceivable entertainment options. YouTube, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV, and Spotify had not yet launched. Google's Gmail had not even made its debut, and Netflix was trying to make money by delivering movie DVDs to your mailbox.

Many notable brands and business models have come and gone in the past 20 years. Myspace, Nokia phones, paying for each text message, and buying music CDs at Sam Goody were all popular in 2003 but today no longer exist. Iconic consumer brands at their height of popularity in 2003 are also long gone: Circuit City, Netscape, Borders, Blockbusters, Oldsmobile, to name a few.

So what is it about ThriftBooks that has allowed us to not only grow but thrive during the past 20 years as other brands and businesses around us have failed or been displaced? We attribute our success to our three value pillars: Commitment to customers, commitment to the environment, and commitment to our employees.

Our Commitment to Customers

Back in April 2021 I wrote a blog about ThriftBooks, the brand, what we stand for, how we operate, and the values we strive to achieve from the employees on the floors of our processing centers across the country to those in our headquarter office in Seattle, WA. That blog remains relevant today but even more so. In the two years since writing that blog, ThriftBooks has continued to raise the bar in our service to customers.

We have invested in technology and innovation to improve all facets of our business, from enhanced order tracking and delivery of packages to continual website and app improvements so that we consistently deliver a world-class shopping experience.

We responded to our customers' needs and developed a new value offering of "Like New" books at $2.99 with the ThriftBooks Secret Shelf™, which, along with our ever-popular ThriftBooks Deals, provides amazing everyday value for our beloved customers. And we adapted to the growing needs of those in the teaching community with ThriftBooks 4 Teachers™, a free program which provides Literati status and free books to educators so their dollars will have a bigger impact in classrooms and libraries across the county.

We rally around books and our customer community. When we say we are The Bookstore for Booklovers, we mean it. Whether it's on social media, through our personalized book recommendations, in our email newsletters, or through our SMS messages, we strive to bring people together around a shared love of books and reading.

We also encourage this community with our popular referral program, ShareBookLove®, where you and everyone you refer can earn free books. There is nothing we love more than giving away free books through ReadingRewards®, our free-to join award-winning loyalty program. ReadingRewards is designed to reward you with free books early and often. We want you to earn free books and the longer you are with us, the more free books we will happily send you.

Our Commitment to the Environment

In 2003, our purpose was to save books from landfills and make it easy for used books to find new homes. That mission continues today. Over the past 20 years we have saved close to 1 billion books from landfills. We save these books and make them accessible to readers for the chance to shape another mind, share another story, and teach a bit of wisdom.

In addition to the positive impact on the environment, we have and continue to donate millions of books into the hands and homes of those who may not have the best access to books. Our most favorite days are those when we are in our communities donating books to underserved and underprivileged youth. Access to books in the home is one of the core motivators towards kids transitioning from "learning to read" to "reading to learn."

Our Commitment to Our Employees

The commitment ThriftBooks has to its 1,100+ employees, providing fulfilling jobs, a pathway to growth, and successful career opportunities is unmatched in our industry. Our monthly employee newsletter is filled with accomplishments and promotions of our employees across our five processing centers. New hires who have hit the ground running with their performance, veteran employees promoted into new positions, team leaders making an impact with their support and motivation of their peers, and employees moving from floor operations into operations management into corporate leaders.

This commitment to employees is reflected back to our customers in our employees' commitment to a job well done. My colleagues in Operations make it a point that every used book is graded accurately to reinforce the trust in our brand. Occasionally, given our volume, we make a mistake but rest assured we use those errors to reinforce training so our employees continue to improve. Your trust is never taken for granted and we strive to earn it again and again with ever interaction.

A Commitment to the Next 20 Years and Beyond

ThriftBooks has grown and thrived these past 20 years through our passion to be the best bookseller for book lovers. A brand is about choices and we've made some important ones over the years in deciding how we serve our customers. We sell physical books, with a choice to have an original version printed years ago or a new release printed today. Physical books you can put on a bookshelf to showcase or pull off to read when you desire. We focus on knowing you as an individual, keeping an eye out for books on your Wish List, and offering up recommendations personalized just for you from our wide selection of books.

We invest in our processing centers with space to hold close to 10 million physical books in our inventory so that we have the highest likelihood of having that hard-to-find book you are looking for. We partner with and support libraries across the country with our library profit-sharing program. We employ a world class team of bibliophile experts in our Collectibles Department focused on vintage and rare books. And we support our customers with our five-time award-winning Customer Service team available to serve you via phone, email, or chat. We take every Customer Service contact seriously and if you're not happy with an order, we will work to make it right. Our goal goes beyond selling you a book today, rather we strive to build a lifetime relationship with you. A shared love for books where trust is foundational.

All of these elements combine to form what today we are introducing as The Land of ThriftBooks. The Land of ThriftBooks is a truly differentiated, magical place. It is a place where our commitment to customers, sustainability, and employees come together and where stories and characters come to life. It's where there are books as far as the eye can see!

From now through September, we invite you to enter to win a trip to visit The Land of ThriftBooks. Every month for the next three months we will be selecting winners to receive our ThriftBooks 20th anniversary swag box, filled with fun ThriftBooks goodies. Six of those swag boxes will contain a ThriftBooks Teal Ticket (akin to Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket) and recipients of these Teal Tickets will enjoy a VIP visit to our Phoenix processing center to tour our magical world of books. Visit our Land of ThriftBooks page for details on how to enter.

There has been so much change in brands and businesses over the past 20 years. For ThriftBooks, we have and will continue to lean into our values, leveraging them to learn and lead, and thus evolve as our customers' needs evolve. We couldn't have made it twenty years without our customer's love and support. So thank you to all of you who interacted with ThriftBooks over these years. Whether a book purchase, a shout out on social, a call to customer service, or even a suggestion on how we can be better. This celebration is because of you.

Read more by Barbara Hagen

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