The Chinaberry Commitment

September 20th, 2010 by Ann


The collection of items on our website is the result of literally thousands of hours of work by our staff. We are a small company, so those thousands of hours should say something about our commitment to offer you an intelligent and thoughtfully-selected collection of items. From games that we actually play (you wouldn’t believe how many games have unclear instructions) and toys that we kid-test (and you wouldn’t believe how many problems we find in that process) to items for the family and home that we have used and loved and books that we read cover to cover (and reject thousands), the Chinaberry catalog is a one-of-a-kind catalog.

So, what you find here is the cream of the crop. And while I can’t pass up a good game, love watching a child have fun with a cool toy, and appreciate something that will make my life better at home, there is simply nothing like a book. Books can make us wonder, astound us with what has occurred in the past, make us more compassionate, make us more able to stand up for what we believe in, make us want to get outside our comfort zones and maybe do something, and make us better people. The fact is that a game, a toy, or something for the kitchen just isn’t going to change us or change the world, but a book can light the flame that will do just that.

And this is why it is very significant and disheartening to us that we have had to decrease the number of books we are offering you in the catalog. We devote more time than you will ever know to reading books and then choosing the ones that are great read-alouds; will make you and your child laugh together, think, or talk; will ask your early teen to think about more than the typical teen in our country is thinking about; or that you, as an adult, might find to be a worthy escape when you have a moment to yourself. Unfortunately, so many of those who receive our catalog go to the giant online book source (we all know who it is) to buy the books that they’ve read about in Chinaberry, that our company can no longer continue to devote the same resources to finding great books. If the Chinaberry catalog is of value to you, we ask you to spend your dollars with us if you find a book here that you want. We know it is tempting to get a bargain, but independent booksellers like us survive only because of customers who value our service and take the extra step to support it. We ask that you take this into consideration when choosing where to buy your books. And to those of you who have loyally supported us throughout the years, we offer our heartfelt thanks — your orders are what have kept us in business and for that we are truly grateful!

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4 Responses to “The Chinaberry Commitment”

  1. Joy Says:

    I really value your book reviews; I love finding books that I might have missed otherwise. We get most of our books from the library, however, and I’m sure that many customers in your demographic are also conscious about how much material stuff they accumulate. Would one forward-thinking solution be to offer a subscription to your full list of reviews and only sell a few books in your catalog? I would gladly pay an annual fee to access your book recommendations (and if it were available online, you could earn “click through” fees from those giant online bookstores without having to stock the items yourselves).

  2. Chinaberry Says:

    We’ve been so touched by the response to Ann’s Dear Friends letters about the need to feature a smaller number of books in our catalog and website. We’ve received letters, emails, and phone calls from concerned customers and would like to share some with you:

    I read and heed the words about ordering books from you. Only not doing so now because I have such a good store of them from many years as a Chinaberry customer. Good Luck.
    -AB

    Read your Dear Friends letter…Just want to tell you how much I appreciate your work. I use many of your books in my 6-9 yr. elementary classroom. I love the thoughtful book reviews. Keep up the good work
    -KW

    Thank you for existing. I look forward to your catalogue every month. I read the note to readers. I am saddened. And motivated to try to help keep you in business. Keep the great reviews coming.
    -JM

    Dear Chinaberry, I value your catalog selections and shop with you.
    -LB

    I’m sad to see your book offerings are less this year. We have been loyal Chinaberry customers for years I couldn’t imagine Christmas without Chinaberry.
    -DB

    I have loved your catalogue since my children were born 11 and 13 years ago and we have many of your books. I am shopping exclusively with you this year because you provide a service not available elsewhere. Thank you.
    -KH

    I’m sad to see your book offerings are less this year. We have been loyal Chinaberry customers for years I couldn’t imagine Christmas without Chinaberry.
    -DB

  3. Sheila at Chinaberry Says:

    Thank you for writing about Chinaberry on your blog – we saw your post and appreciate you taking the time to write such a thoughtful piece about Chinaberry. We are truly fortunate to have your support!

    And I agree with your comment about looking forward to buying children’s books for little ones. I have to hold myself back since my own boys are in their teens!

  4. frugalscholar Says:

    This is a very moving piece. I’m going to write about it on my blog. Can’t wait till I have little ones to buy books for.

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