Saturday, June 15, 2024

One Short Story, Three Very Important Lessons

I buy a lot of books online. So many, in fact, that I built my own website ( which searches the big online stores and locates the best prices for me. It’s nothing fancy, but it does the trick.

The other day, I received an inquiry from someone representing another online book retailer, requesting that I add their store to my roster. So I checked them out.

My first impression was, “Ah, yes, I remember them”. I had been there before but had departed after several seconds, without venturing past the home page. I couldn’t remember why. I investigated, and here’s what I discovered this time:

On the top left, there’s a button that says “Save on Christian Books, Music, and Bibles”. The top right says something about “Desecration”. I also noticed the word “FaithPoint” mentioned a few times.

After a quick view of the site I jumped to this conclusion: It’s a bookstore specializing in Christian books and religious products. Perfect, if only I had a hankering for, let’s say, an audio version of the Bible on CD.

But, upon further investigation, I discovered something fantastic:

They actually had a great inventory of all kinds of books – not just religious titles. New books, used books, and hard-to-find books. (Who would have known? Why did they hide it? Did they even KNOW they were hiding it?) But, here’s the kicker…

Every title I searched was at least 10% cheaper than could be found at (you get the extra discount when you purchase a $5 membership – but I think it’s worth it.) In addition, they had titles I had previously searched at Amazon, but couldn’t find. They even offered something I have yet to see online: the ability to order individual issues of magazines (not just subscriptions).

I decided to go shopping.

After filling up my cart with five magazines and a wee tiny book, I was a bit surprised to see the total price considerably higher than I expected. When I got to the bottom of the list, I saw the shipping charge for UPS ground service (3-7 business days – ugh) was almost ten bucks ($3.25 plus $.99 per item). For what? A few magazines and a book? These items would probably fit in a USPS flat rate envelope for three and change.

At about this time, I could hear the voices in my head (no, not THOSE voices) screaming: “Abandon cart! Abandon cart!”

Which is just what I did.

This isn’t just a silly little story about me being a cheapskate. There’s more. If you sell anything online that has to be shipped, pay close attention here…

“Shipping And Handling Charges Deter 63 Percent Of Consumers From Buying Online…”

“…Survey reveals that 73 percent of consumers evaluate the total price of products, including S&H, before making an online purchase.”

“…Companies that are profiting on S&H run the risk of increasing distrust among consumers.”

“New research indicates that weight-based shipping and handling costs will minimize merchants’ and consumers’ risks”

[Source: Jupiter Media Metrix Press Release – go read it:]

Moral of the story (Get it? “moral” – Christian book store, ah forget it…)

“Don’t judge a book its cover.” (sorry, couldn’t resist) Or…

“What you’re selling and what the prospect thinks you’re selling are often two different things.” Or…

“The customer isn’t stupid. If you’re using shipping and handling charges as a mini profit center for your online biz, you’re not fooling anyone.” Or…

Enough. I think you get the picture.

Please Note: I am not implying that this company has intentionally created a S/H profit center or is trying to milk their customers. Perhaps they just need to take a closer look at their S/H system (similar to – see press release above).

Maybe you do, too.

PS – The store is It’s a nice-looking site with great prices and a huge selection. I expect I’ll give them a try in the near future. (I’ll just be sure to order really heavy books and get my money’s worth.)

Wishing you much success… Joe Chapuis

Working from home, Joe Chapuis is a self-employed internet
business consultant and online publisher who swears he’ll
never work for someone else again. His free report:
The 10 Commandments of Online Success and
free email newsletter will show you how to
get “amazing results online, fast.”
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