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)


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

My very best wishes,


CEO / Co-Founder


68 Comments so far
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Dustin, this just breaks my heart. Since the very beginning, you’ve been terrific and I’ve told everyone I know about Paperspine. I understand why you’ve made the decision you have, though I wish from the bottom of my heart it could be otherwise.

I wish you the best of luck in whatever you do, and know that if you ever take up the reins again, you’ve got a loyal customer in me.

Comment by Tina Stanley

Dustin and Isabella,

Thank you for your great service. I will miss Paperspine! I also understand what you’ve been going through trying to keep your business going and working out of your garage. My husband and I had the same experience in our office supply biz. I admire you for giving it a go and doing your best to keep it going. Best of luck to you!

Comment by Sherrie

I have only recently subscribed to Paperspine but I am truly saddened to hear you are going out of business. I was really enjoying my rental books. If circumstances change, i hope you will try again, it was a great idea.

Comment by Wendy

I am so thankful for your service, as soon as I found it, I actually made a squealing sound, I was so excited! I am sorry that it is no longer feasible to run this. The amount of work you all put into it is just amazing, and whatever you choose to do, you will surely succeed!

Comment by Laurie Obregon

It’s with a heavy heart and hopeful smile that I wish you and your family the best. All your hard work is greatly appreciated, believe me. Wishing you and yours all the best..*hugs* Neena

Comment by Neena

I’m so sorry to hear this. I wish you all the best in whatever you choose to do in the future. *hugs*

Comment by Misa

So sorry that you’re closing….I liked everything about your company from the logo to the customer service to the books themselves, and how carefully they were sent to me, always arriving in great shape.
You’re right,good idea, bad time for it, but I’m glad you tried…and if you come back, we’ll be here.

Comment by Becky

Wow…I don’t think I’ve ever been so sad to see a company shut its doors.

I wish I would have done more to promote your company to my friends and family. Best of luck to you in the future – I would love to see a second coming of Paperspine in the future!

Comment by alyssaclaire

Ugh, what horrible news I am saddened – but you guys did a hell of a job!!! What a great service and for that I am thankful. best wishes to your family and have a great “relaxing’ holiday.

Comment by Michelle

Your service has been truly remarkable, and I wish you the very best. For what it’s worth, I couldn’t ever tell you guys were working out of your garage. I was under the impression that Paperspine was some huge corporate affair. Everything worked smoothly, felt slick and polished. You handled yourselves and your work with an uncommon professionalism.

I’ll keep an eye out for you guys in the future, I want nothing more than to support you guys in your future endeavors.

Thank you guys, for everything.

Comment by Jayce

Sorry to hear this… thanks for your wonderful service, and best wishes looking ahead. Your books were definitely one of the things I looked forward to at the end of a long day!

Comment by Matthai

I have loved and bragged about Paperspine since becoming a customer of yours. I have always had the greatest customer service. I am so sad you’re closing! Is there any way to get access to my account so I can transfer my book list?

Comment by Stephanie Kramer

So sad…’s like losing a close friend. Great service and it felt good to support someone local. You succeeded. The economy made it tough to have a day and a night job too! Classy to the end. Wishing you all the best. Mary Beth

Comment by Mary Beth

I, too, am very sad to see this happen. I remember the delight I had when I discovered Paperspine – it seemed like the perfect business to me too!

Thank you for all your hard work and best of luck to you all in the future!


Comment by Crystal

I am really sorry to hear this. I had only been a member for a full month, but I loved everything about Paperspine. I wish you continued success. Thanks for providing a great service. Please don’t think of this as a shot you missed. You provided a wonderful valuable service. And I greatly appreciate it.

Comment by Nikki

Wow, I was so sad to read your post.
I run a small online retail business and know how hard it has been in the last year. I am amazed to find out that you guys were doing this out of your garage, I assumed a much larger operation was behind Paperspine. You all had a great idea and a wonderful service, I am very sorry to see it end. Good luck on whatever the future holds and thank you for making this such a wonderful experience while it lasted.

Comment by Jules

Oh, this news has really saddened me. I felt that this was the perfect business model and service for really avid book readers like myself and yourselves obviously. To reiterate: great idea, bad timing, unfortunately.
But I’m glad to read that you’re not regretting it. You followed your personal legend and had the loving support of a community around you as you did so, that in and of itself has made it all worthwhile.
I hope that, in more prosperous times, you can work again in the field of literature doing something you love. If that’s not in the cards then I hope you bring the same level of passion and drive to whatever new project Fate has in store for you.
Thank you for the great customer service, timely deliveries, and WIDE selection. You not only made a bibliophile like myself very happy but helped me turn my little sister unto reading; for this I was always be grateful.

All the best,

Comment by Camille

I love! I have read books I never would have purchased and loved them. I have discovered new authors, series, books and saved money. I told everyone I knew about I am so sorry to hear about the demise of your wonderful business. You have my admiration for your courage, respect for your creativity and appreciation for your service. Thank you!

Comment by Julie Lewallen

I’m sad. I’ve really enjoyed Paperspine. Thanks for all your hard work and excellent service.

Comment by Nathan Reynolds

I am so, so sorry to hear this! I really loved Paperspine and through your service, I have discovered quite a few authors that I might not have previously read. I wish you all the luck in future endeavors!!

Comment by Diana

I love you guys and will miss you!! You were always so nice and I loved your services. When I got your mail my jaw just dropped. Good luck and happy holidays. Thanks for having awesome books to send!

Comment by jennifer

I am saddened that you had to close your doors. I have to agree with everyone. Your business and customer service was amazing. I can’t believe it wasn’t a bigger operation. I will keep an eye out for you guys in the future as well. If it’s possible you should keep our e-mail address’ and let us know if you start up again.

Is there anyway you could leave our listing of books up a little longer for those of us who would like to switch to booksfree so we can transfer our list?

Comment by Paula Belanger

I’m sorry to hear that you all will be closing. I really loved the concept of your company. Is there any way for us to get a copy of the books that are still left in our queue so we can put those books in the new service? I know I had picked out several books that I would never had bought, but had become interested after seeing them on your website.

Comment by Dawn Davenport

What sad news to find in my inbox this morning! I echo the sentiments that others have shared here — Paperspine has been a wonderful service, and I’ve shared the word far and wide. Not once did it ever occur to me that you were working out of your garage in your “spare” hours — the service was always prompt and professional. I can’t begin to tell you how much money I was able to save — and how many books that I’ve read that I wouldn’t have had this service not existed.

Clearly this was a labor of love, and I’m sorry that it didn’t end in the way that you might have hoped. I wish you all of the best in whatever challenge you take on next — you’ve certainly created a lot of “fans” with this endeavor.

Best for the future,

Comment by Kathryn Harnish

I’m so sorry to hear this. You’ve been absolutely great for the year of so I’ve subscribed to the service. I never would have guessed you’ve been doing things out of your garage. You’ve always been professional, with great service, and I really appreciate that. Thank you!

Comment by Megan

I’m sorry to hear about you closing down. I have loved getting your books. I never dreamed you were doing this in your garage. I thought it was a large business. Maybe at a later date, you can start back up. Please be sure and keep all your emails so you can contact us if you ever start back. I’ll be there when you do. Thank you!

Comment by Linda

I am so sorry to hear this, although I was only a member for a couple of months I loved the service you provided. It was so wonderful to rush to my mailbox and have books instead of bills. Thank you so much for the joy those couple of months provided me. I wish yall all the luck in the world in anything you decide to do. Sincerely, Connie

Comment by connie byers

I’ve been a member for a year and a half or so and loved every minute. It was a great service and you saved me a ton of money on library fines. I’m so sad you have to close down. THANK YOU for all the work you put into it. It was much appreciated.

Comment by Karen Shaw

I hope that you know how much Paperspine will be sadly missed. We gave Paperspine as a gift to my grandmother who can no longer make the trip to her local library. She absolutely loved having books delivered right to her door. Your customer service was TOP RATE which is a very rare find in today’s world.

Thank you and best wishes.

Comment by Erin Daly

Your service and customer support will truly be missed! I enjoyed saving money and getting books in the mail Netflix-style! I can understand that this was a tough business decision that had to be made. Please know that those of us that stuck with you to the end were very pleased with what we got!

Comment by Shana Kneib

I’m truly surprised and disappointed! I was critical at times of your service, not realizing what was behind the scenes and expecting a behemoth like Netflix. But I’ve really appreciated the service and grown to rely on it. I’ve name-dropped Paperspine to everyone I know that loves reading and am SO SORRY that it is not to continue. Please save my ID info, in the case that you start up again. Your literary selection has been superior to anything else I’ve found online. Thank you and good luck to you. You will be missed.

Comment by Angela Elliott

[…] kind of grace and thoughtfulness that we should all take note of, and admire.  You should read his final blog entry, a real fitting testimonial to a worthy business, and an incredibly decent founder.  And you […]

Pingback by You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take « Open Ambition

I’m so sorry to hear this; I feel as though I’ve lost a friend. I recently joined paperspine and thought it was a wonderful idea, especially for avid readers like myself, who devour 3 or 4 books a week! Best of luck in your future endeavors!

Comment by Fiona

I only recently joined Paperspine after reading about it on Slate (who knew something so great even existed?!) and have been really happy with spending money each month on reading. I’ve been talking about your great idea with everyone I know who loves to read and am so disappointed to hear that the service won’t exist anymore. Thanks for taking the chance to set this up and know that if the economy was in a different place, this would have taken off in unbelievable ways. Best of luck to you and your family.

Comment by Karryn Angoff

I am so disappointed. I joined close to two years ago and think maybe I was one of the first. I found your link on and knew I had found an answer to my prayers. Being an avid reader, I already have a house full of books.
I belong to four book clubs, so needed access to at least that many different books each month. I made a vow not to buy any more books, so this was a dream come true for me. . . I use the library, but, often, the wait list is several months for newer titles.

Thanks so much. Best wishes to you and your family. Get some rest. Is there a possiblity that you might start up again in a better ecomonic climate?
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Comment by Jackie Megee

I too was so sad to read the message that you were shutting down. I’ve been a member since July and have enjoyed the service very much. It was a great idea it saved me so much money and saved waste because I fly through books so fast. Good luck to you and your family.

Comment by Erin

I am so sorry to see you go. You have been a godsend to one living in an area with a very tiny branch library. I, too, would like a a copy of the book list in my queue if it is at all possible. Thanks for recommending a substitute service. A class act as always. Best wishes to you and everyone who worked so hard to make Paperspine what it has been.

Comment by Carol Sherrod

Dustin, great try! You have given it more than most people will ever try. I am sure you are on to more big ideas!

Comment by Nathan Kaiser

I had previously tried other book programs and paperspine was the best. Sorry to see you go because you had the fastest delivery system. Please send me an e-mail if you start up again so can rejoin. Good luck in the future.

Comment by Betty

Oh and is it possible that we could have access to our booklist to transfer to booksfree?

Comment by Betty

My whole family was truly saddened to hear of this wonderful company closing. Not only will we miss a great service, but the customer service was exceptional. We wish you and your family success in all future endeavors. Thank you!!

Comment by Cana

Wow! I just heard about this type of service and became a member of Paperspine just this past year, but had no idea the daily operations were so small scale. I have really enjoyed the service and will give Booksfree a try. Thanks for hanging in there as long as you have.

Comment by Shannon

Dustin, this is so incredibly heartbreaking, and I say that as a both a big fan and a customer. I have no idea how this must feel for you, but please, focus on feeling good about the ingenuity of your idea, and the integrity of how you took it to market.

It was my pleasure to do what I could to encourage you, and help out however I did. And I mean that so very sincerely. I tried to do you and your business some justice on my blog today here:

This is but the end of the first phase of your adventure as an entrepreneur, you are now fully qualified and seasoned to expand your scope, and when the time is right, jump to where your instincts point you next. Be kind to yourself, you have so much to be proud about.


Comment by Peter Zaballos

Sure sorry to hear about your decision Dustin but I know that looking back you’ll never regret your decision to give it a go. I was a member for the past year and appreciate the service given and responsiveness of your customer service people when I had questions or problems. All the best back at Microsoft — they need your talents and energy right about now . . .

Comment by Steve

Hey Dustin and Isabella,
Thanks for everything you have done to all the readers of paperspine. I was a member for the past 6 months and enjoyed the books very much thanks to your efforts. I am sad to hear that you are planning to stop the service, but I wish you both from the bottom of my heart…good luck and be happy no matter what comes your way:-))

Comment by Anu

I will really miss Paperspine! I thank you and your wife for all of your hard work – it was never apparent that you were not a big company! Good luck to all of you involved in your future endeavors. I wouldn’t be surprised if your experience at Paperspine leads to something more rewarding for you!

Comment by Anne

Really sorry to hear about this. You all did a great job and gave it a good go!

I gave my wife a gift membership two years ago and she uses it and loves it. In fact, she eventually became addicted to it.

I pretty much figured you were a small startup operation working out of a small space, and often wondered how you were able to pull it off and look so big and totally capable.

I know there are other companies doing this, but we liked the fact that you are in Issaquah and we are in Snohomish. This was a great idea/concept and you executed it very well. Just didn’t charge enough, I guess. Booksfree looks pretty good, but the big daddy, Bookswim, is WAAAY more expensive.

We certainly wish each and every one of you the best of luck in whatever future endeavor awaits you.

Roger Wentzel
Snohomish, WA

Comment by Roger Wentzel

I am sure this was a very hard decision Dustin. I am sorry that you had to make it. I have always found you to be a person of great integrity and I know how passionate you were about Paperspine. Good luck to you in whatever you do from here.

Comment by Kristie Lanum

Thank you for your awesome service. I am really sorry to see you all go. I have sent all my books back to you…and then received the e-mail saying I could keep them. Very nice of you! but they are in the mail. I would appreciate a favor, though…could you please send me the list of books on my list to rent? I am in a panic to rebuild my list and can’t remember any titles. Thanks again and sorry to see you go. laura

Comment by laura stewart

Oh, I am very sad to hear this news. I have had such a great time over the last year and a half, picking out books, reading them and picking out more books! All for a fraction of the cost of buying the many books I would read in a month. Your customer service was great – I live in Massachusetts and since you’re way across the country, sometimes it took a long time for the books to go back and forth. You guys generously advised me to just email you when I returned two books, and you would send the next 2 out just like that! I’m very disappointed to see this come to an end, but I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. More businesses should be like yours.

Comment by Avis Dalrymple

I am going to miss Paperspine. My husband laughs at me because I get so excited over getting my books in the mail. I think ya’ll have done a wonderful job and I was very please with your service, may God bless ya’ll in the future for all your hard work and long hours.

Comment by Rachelle Rungo

So sad to come to your site and read this! I cannot even tell you how much I loved this site, the books I got were always timely. I had told so many people, wish you could have gotten your backing. I even remember standing in lines at bookstores and telling people about your service. Glad you “took the shot” and I wish you well in your future business ventures.

Comment by Janet

I was greatly saddened to receive the email yesterday that Paperspine is going away. I have joined about a year ago and it is the reason that I started avidly reading again. Thank you for the fantastic service that you provided (especially Isabella) and best of luck on all future endeavors!

Comment by Melissa Hoin

I was ecstatic to find you’re website and so happy to be a member. You’re service was wonderful, every question of mine would be answered right away and my packages always came on time. Thank you for you’re fantastic service, the packages were something I looked forward to when I came home. Good luck and once again thank you for your awesome service.

Comment by sheena

Thank you for your great service. I tried to help you out by telling everyone I knew about your great company(sorry I don’t know very many people). I loved you company, the books were so new and clean. Your service was excellent. I liked that you were a local company(I live in Kirkland).I wish you luck in the future.

Comment by Sue

I’m really going to miss your company! I pictured an office/shipping center with a big mail room and stacks of books. Never suspected you operated out of your garage! Thank you for the steady supply of books to a very small town.

Comment by eileen

I purchased and paid for a gift subscription as a Christmas gift and when I came here to print the gift card I see that you went out of business. How can I receive a refund? There is no contact information on my receipt.

Comment by Bill

dustin- i believe in the peer-to-peer rental market. i’m the founder of and would love to have a chance to sit down with you over coffee to swap stories.

Comment by aaron freed

I too am very sorry to see you go as I’m an avid reader & hate spending money on books I may not like & therefore do not want to keep. Not to mention the storage problem. I tried out so many new authors through your company & the service was terrific. As Laura Stewart mentioned on her 12/15 message, I also had a HUGE list of titles with you & I was wondering if you could please send me the list. I too am in a panic to rebuild my list and can’t remember all of the authors I chose. A lot of them were recommendations from other people & I’ll never remember them all. Even an emailed list of the authors would be sufficient. I appreciate your help & wish you luck. Stephanie

Comment by Stephanie Shuman

I was sorry to hear of the company’s demise…I was a devoted customer and appreciated the prompt customer service I always received.

Comment by Heather Harris

It’s so sad to see the end of Paperspine. 😦
Having a Washington based book renter was the best…
Thanks for all you did. It was a good run and will be missed.

Comment by Willow

Dustin and Isabella – I was very sorry to hear the news! I, like many others, have told people about your wonderful service. I wish you both all the very best. With your entrepernership I’m sure we’ll be hearing soon about something else you’re involved in!! Best of luck to you both! Maria

Comment by Maria

I am so sorry to hear that you are going out of business. I really enjoyed my subscription. I also used to buy tons of books, and I thought that this was a great idea. I live out far enough that going to the library is a pain, and I have to buy a library card. The recession is hitting everyone, and I hope that you and your family will do well in the future. Thanks so much.


Comment by April

I also am vey sad that you are leaving. You did a wonderful job. GoodLuck and God Bless. Carol

Comment by Carol Schifano

To fellow book lovers – I am truly sorry you will no longer be there. I have greatly enjoyed the books I’ve “rented” from you. It is such a sad ending. This was a GREAT idea and you will be sorely missed. I will second many of the comments already posted, that you provided me the opportunity to explore other venues than my “normal reads” and I have discovered several new authors and styles. It was almost like Christmas morning to get one of your packages. Your service has been outstanding and I will miss you

Comment by Rhoda

we will miss your service. my nightstand and every corner is still packed with books. but it was a nice supplement to get books rented. bye good luck.

Comment by andrea blue

I’m so terribly sorry. Everything ran so smoothly, I had no clue that you were running operations out of your garage. I knew times were tough, but I was hoping that somehow you’d survive. Whatever comes your way in the future, I wish you the best of luck.

Comment by Elizabeth

I had developed this wonderful queue of books I was looking forward to receiving from you. Would it be possible to have you send me this list of books so I can re-enter at Booksfree? It would be a great time saver. Thanks!

Comment by Julie Lewallen

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