In this year of a down economy, two developments with SantaThing, our “secret Santa for booklovers”:
First, there was the Talk thread started by a member who got help last year to participate, when she needed it and, now that she doesn’t, wanted to pay-it-forward and help someone else. This started a chain reaction, with more and more members offering to pay for someone. Other members have been asking for help, for themselves or sometimes for relatives, either in Talk or privately. The whole thing is pretty awesome.*
Today I was contacted by a member (who would like to remain anonymous) offering to pay for 20 SantaThings ($500), again for members who were planning to skip it because money was too tight. The money came out of the blue, and, despite the crescendo of giving, was quite a shock to us.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about either giving or receiving SantaThing, read here.
Second, with all this giving, we’re changing our mind. The SantaThing deal was $25 for $20 of books. The $5 was for shipping, and a little to cover staff time. But most of our shipping is now free. (We get it from from Amazon and the Book Depository, and Powell’s is doing us a favor.**) And we’re starting to feel seriously privileged to be involved in this!
So—to heck with it—we’re getting rid of the margin. SantaThing is now $25 for $25. We’ll make a little money when people can’t quite fill the $25, and we’ll spend it on the countries and bookstores that don’t have free shipping. It’s the least we can do.
You have until December 1 to sign up for SantaThing.
Sonya and Tim
*I think “community” is an overused word online. Most “online communities” aren’t. All those sites with employees known as “community managers” tick me off particularly. We like to think we’re better than those sites, but, despite tons of friends, a marriage, occasional flash-mob cataloging, Legacy Libraries and even a group of members who now vacation together, I wouldn’t even say LibraryThing is a real “community.” It’s more of a large, long-running cocktail party with a lot of rooms and some good friendships. But I can’t help feeling cheered again by Clay Shirky’s Love, Internet Style. Shirky writes that, looking forward, “You will make more accurate predictions about software… if you ask yourself not ‘What’s the business model?’ but ‘Do the people who like it take care of each other?'” Well, you do. And it’s a pleasure to be part of it. — Tim
**We have Amazon Prime, and the Book Depository has free shipping. We’re grateful to Powells for giving us free shipping for this effort. (Thanks to Darin for making it happen.)