Welcome to the first leg of our blog series where I collaborated with bookish content creators and booksellers to see how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their reading habits.
Today, I will be featuring the team behind Books from Us! Books From Us is an independent online bookseller established in 2020. I invited them to share how they started their business despite the uncertainties due to the pandemic.
Theirs was an inspiring story of hard work and it’s also a testament that you can turn your passion into something profitable.
Books From Us: The Origin Story
It was when the Enhanced Community Quarantine was in effect so we were all staying at home. Like everyone else, we were looking for hobbies to keep our boredom at bay.
My co-owner and fiancee, Wend, got to read books from her TBR pile since her work was suspended. However, the bookstores in her area don’t carry the books she wanted to read. She tried searching for those books on Facebook and Instagram and was able to meet new friends from the online book community.
In that way, she discovered online bookstores run by bookworms as well. One of Wend’s friends told her “What if we get the books from the US ourselves so that it will be cheaper for us?“
Wend pitched the idea to me. Like every entrepreneur, I had my risks and doubts. She explained the pros and cons, and basically the backbone of the business. Eventually, I agreed to join and help her. With everyone’s support, Books From US was established during the height of the pandemic.
It was in June 2020 when we first posted the books we wanted to sell on our Facebook Page. It was so exciting! We both were thrilled and scared at the same time. From that point forward, we were able to grow our business and establish a community behind it.
However, it was only a couple of months after we launched that we had our fair share of challenges. Being first-time booksellers, we weren’t geared up to face problems like international shipping delays, proper documentation, and customer service. To tell you frankly, we were quite proud and naive back then, so we lost most of our first customers.
They say that failure is the best teacher and we believed that. We changed for the better, improved our services, and changed our strategy.
In the 1st quarter of 2021, we were ready to give up because of the overwhelming stress that the delays were causing. We had countless sleepless nights. I told Wend that we must shoulder on despite the challenges since we have already come this far.
During the 2nd quarter, we started seeing the improvement that we implemented. We were growing back again steadily in terms of customers and volume of orders. International shipping improved.
In the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2021, we were able to launch back-to-back pre-order sales. The number of customers we had from before already doubled.
By the end of 2021, we were able to double the sales we had last 2020.
From there, with a lot of hard work, continuous toiling, and support from the community, Books From Us (BFU) continues to grow and provide excellent service and affordable books online.
Even with the pandemic nearing its end, online book shopping became a staple habit for all bookworms and bibliophiles alike, and we predict that it will continue for years and years to come.
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Did you find yourself on a book spending spree despite the pandemic?