Paperspine Blog


A final thank you to our members! by Dustin
December 12, 2009, 9:54 am
Filed under: Dustin H.

Dear Paperspine friends,

It has been over two years since we launched our service. Our mission was to provide a convenient and cost effective solution for avid readers to get the books they love to read. The whole idea started one night while I was reading in bed and completed one of my many books. I rolled over to stuff it in my nightstand drawer only to find there was no room left with all the other books already in there. I thought, “I wish I could just send the books back like Netflix when I’m done with them” and that was my aha moment. Myself, my wife and my 2 other business partners have worked diligently since that time to bring you our service.

Hopefully it wasn’t always apparent, but have been running the business literally from my garage for the past two years. We have never made money for our work and have full-time jobs we do during the day. We have worked on Paperspine 7 days a week since the day the business was formed, trying our best to bring our customers the service we knew you deserved. If you ever wondered why you were getting answers to your support e-mails at 10:30 on a Sunday night, now you know why. 🙂 We have weathered over 100 degree temperatures and below freezing conditions while packing the books in the garage. We have gone to the post office 6 days a week, every single week since the day we launched the company.

Grand Central Headquarters (aka my garage)

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We started Paperspine with our own money and we built the website and backend operations ourselves (with the help of a good friend). Our goal was to get the company running and then raise the capital necessary from a VC firm to grow the business substantially. Unbeknownst to us, unfortunately the timing couldn’t have been worse with the biggest recession seen in over 50 years occurring at exactly the same time our business was getting off the ground. Those economic conditions made fund raising incredibly difficult and substantially limited our ability to expand at the rate we projected. It also meant certain features of the website we had planned on adding had to be significantly delayed or not done at all. We’ve spent the past 2 years trying to ride out the storm and persevere through these difficult times. We’ve made changes to our service to try and help our economics, but the necessary economies of scale never were able to fully kick in.

While our dream of the business was not able to be realized and the financial and emotional impact of running it has been significant, there is some good that has come out of this. We’ve learned a ton and we’ve met some amazing people along our journey. Authors such as Jane Porter and Megan Hart have been so wonderful and supportive of us. Professional investors Pat Kenealy, Pete Zaballos and Josh Kopelman always made time to give me their advice and offer support. Book company executives Doug Ross, Seth Beal and Dick Heffernan offered help in many ways to us over the years. Our attorney Kha Dang has become a great friend and at times my personal motivational coach. And finally my friends Sears, Jeremy, Saravana, Jordan, Mark, Piper and John that risked their own time and money to help Paperspine get as far as it did. Without you guys none of it would have been possible.

My wife (whom many of you know as Isabella and Lipstick Blogger) often tells me, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” This was one of my shots honey and I missed, but I’m still glad I took it. Your commitment, hard work and support through all this has been nothing short of amazing. I love you and thank you for all you do for me every day.

In closing, I just want to thank all of our members that have entrusted us with the opportunity to serve you. It’s truly been a pleasure and so many of you took the time to send us an e-mail of thanks and appreciation, which ironically always seemed to come on the days we needed it the most. To try and make the transition of our service closing down as seamless as possible, we’ve worked out an arrangement with our friends over at Bookfree that offer a similar service as ours. They are providing all Paperspine members 30% off the first month of service so you can continue enjoying the book rental model you’ve come to love. Thank you to Booksfree for this generous offer and I sincerely hope all of you reading this will give them a chance at your business. You can access the code by clicking here or visiting  http://www.booksfree.com/paperspine_welcome.shtml.

My very best wishes,

Dustin

CEO / Co-Founder

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