Excerpted from a letter by Robert Karp in the Fall 2012 issue of Biodynamics.
Over the last several decades, the Biodynamic Association (BDA) has not only been a publisher, but also a bookseller. Over the last decade the Association’s role as a bookseller expanded greatly through the launch of an online store and the expansion of our inventory to include books and videos published by many other publishers.
On the one hand, this web store has created a “one stop shop” for biodynamic publications that many people have come to appreciate and that we are certain has played a significant role in helping grow the biodynamic movement. On the other hand, the demands of running a successful, online and mail-order book business have been challenging for the BDA. To be successful with such a business in a quickly changing marketplace increasingly dominated by the likes of Amazon.com and e-books is no small task. While some years the BDA actually made money or broke even in this effort, in many years, in fact, it has been a money-losing proposition.
Thus the question naturally arose: Is there a way the BDA can continue to offer this important service to the world without ourselves having to manage such a business, together with the demands and risks that entails?
I am pleased to report that in the course of the last two years an extremely elegant and “win-win” solution to this problem emerged: beginning late this fall, SteinerBooks, the leading publisher and bookseller of anthroposophical books in North America, will become the Official Bookseller of the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association. What does this mean? It means the following:
1. SteinerBooks will soon launch a new section of their website featuring biodynamic books and will expand their offering of biodynamic books. Anyone who comes to the BDA’s web store will find a link that will take them to the biodynamic section of the SteinerBooks web store.
2. SteinerBooks will turn their spring catalog into a biodynamic book catalog, which will be sent out far and wide, including to all members of the BDA.
3. SteinerBooks will manage the sales of books at our conferences and any other major events organized by the BDA.
4. The full inventory of books published by the BDA will be warehoused by SteinerBooks, and they will take all orders and fulfill all sales of these books. The BDA will receive a percentage of all sales of BDA-published books sold by SteinerBooks.
5. The BDA will continue to promote the SteinerBooks web store and particular books that are available through it and will receive a small commission from SteinerBooks for all sales from customers who reach their site from our site or from our marketing efforts. This last point is important to remember: you can support the BDA the most by always going to the new web store through our BDA website at www.biodynamics.com/webstore.
I hope, dear friends, that you can see the incredible benefits to this new arrangement. When this transition is complete:
• There will be an enhanced web store featuring biodynamic and related books managed by a company that can reach many more people and that has much more experience running a successful bookselling and distribution business.
• The BDA will continue to receive a small revenue stream from book sales, but we will no longer have to manage a bookselling business and endure the risks involved in such.
• The BDA will be able to invest less time in bookselling and more in our core programs.
• Our customers will have access to an even wider range of books when they visit the new web store, including the full range of books by Rudolf Steiner and his students, on every topic imaginable, from medicine to education to spiritual development.
Of course, all transitions take time, and we ask your patience in the coming months as we get these new systems in place. We are confident, however, that when the transition is complete you will be extremely pleased with the quality and efficiency of service you will encounter from SteinerBooks and will quickly realize the benefits of this new arrangement, which will allow the BDA to take up, ever more courageously and effectively, the many new tasks that are calling to us.
Once again, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this new arrangement.