Frequently asked questions
How do I sell you my used books and/or records?
Read about what kinds of books and records we're able to use below. You can bring books and records to sell any time during our open hours (Tuesday-Saturday 11-5) for cash or store credit. For larger collections, you may be asked to drop off and come back later.
What kind of books and records do you buy?
- Recent fiction, especially by LGBTQ+ and BIPOC authors
- Books about music
- Graphic Novels
- Books about the occult, witchcraft, and herbalism
- History books focusing on or from the point of view of working class people
- Books about anarchism and leftist theory
- Horror, sci-fi, and fantasy
- Art books
- Gardening and DIY books
- Vegan cookbooks
- Books about intersectional feminism, queer & trans topics
- Recent releases
- Hip Hop
- Local bands
- Weird & fun records we've never heard of
We do not want:
- Anything in bad condition! No scratched or warped records, no books with cracked spines or excessive highlighting/underlining, no ex-library books, no hardcovers without dust jackets, no water damage or mold.
- Sheet music
- Single-issue comic books
- Outdated history or current affairs books
- We typically try to stock books you aren't necessarily going to find at every other book store, so we generally don't take best sellers in genres like westerns, romance, and mystery/thrillers.
- Books by or about presidents, or history books that are not critical of power structures
- Self-help, business, or diet books
- Easy listening, traditional pop, and marching band records
- Most classical records
- 12" singles
We also buy cassette tapes! We do occasionally buy CDs, but our selection is very small, so we buy only sparingly.
Will you sell copies of my zine?
Sure, we carry local zines and music on consignment. Bring a couple copies by during our open hours.
Other than for zines and local music, we aren't looking for new vendors at this time.
Will you host my event?
No events until further notice.
I'm looking for a book/record you don't have in stock. Can you get it for me?
If a book or record is still in print, we can probably order you a new copy (our used stock depends on what people sell to us. We can't order specific used books or records). Send a message through our contact form and we'd be happy to check if what you're looking for is in stock at one of our distributors.
Some things to keep in mind when placing a special order:
WE ARE NOT AMAZON. We don't want to be! We're very happy that so many of you want to support a small local business, but please understand that this means not expecting the same time frame or prices Amazon can offer. They're able to sell books for less than list price and deliver them so quickly only through ruthless exploitation of their workers, constant human rights violations, monopolistic capitalist expansion, and massive greenhouse gas emissions. Small Friend, on the other hand, consists of exactly two people, we don't/can't/won't do any of that, and our aspirations are much more community-oriented than total global domination.
We order from a variety of different distributors, from tiny independent presses to large major label onestops.
Each one of them has a minimum order requirement (usually around $200). This means that there may be a delay from when you place a special order to when we have enough orders from that particular distributor to be able to meet the minimum order requirement. Generally, the smaller the publisher/label we're ordering from, the longer it will take to fill an order. We will always do our best to get what you're looking for in a timely manner, and if you need something by a specific time we can work with you to try to accelerate your order.
The more people who place special orders, the quicker we're able to meet that minimum order.
We have experienced longer wait times in receiving orders from our distributors over the last several months due to coronavirus concerns, particularly with book distributors. In order to maintain safe distance between workers, warehouses generally have fewer people on the floor at a time, and are therefore processing orders more slowly. In addition, Fedex and UPS are both reporting increases in delivery times. We all know the USPS has significantly increased delivery delays. We hope for the best, but once we've submitted an order to a distributor, we have no control over how long it takes to arrive to us.
One very important way to help small businesses in the fight against Amazon is to
not let Amazon warp your expectations of what a business should be able to do. We will always be realistic about if and how quickly we can get something for you, and we ask that you not hold us to the standards Amazon has imposed on basically every industry despite being the only ones who can stick to it, and then only through violence and exploitation.
So yeah, get in touch and we'll try to order what you're looking for.
How/where do I pick up my order?
We are located at 1 N. Lombardy, in the basement of the building on the corner of Main and Lombardy (formerly Baja Bean Co). Our entrance is on the Lombardy St side. You will receive specific pick-up instructions when you complete your order.
* Note: our usual pick up system involves walking down a few stairs to our basement door. Give us a call before you come to pick up if you need different accommodations, and we'll be happy to find a solution that works for you.
If you don't live in Richmond, or aren't able to pick up for any reason, you can choose a shipping option. We ship 100% of our packages through USPS. We recommend using Media Mail, which is an unbelievably cheap way to ship books and records, although it may take longer. If you need something quickly, or you're ordering something other than books and records, you can choose Priority Mail, which is faster, but significantly more expensive.
Are you hiring?
Nope, sorry. We get this question a lot, and it's flattering that so many people think it'd be cool to work here, but this is a two-person operation, and it's unlikely we'll be expanding any time soon.