Frequently asked questions
How do I sell you my used books and/or records?
Bring them in any time we're open (Tuesday-Sunday, 11-6). If you have a large collection or we're especially busy, we may ask you to drop off your items and come back for them later. Feel free to call ahead if you'd like to confirm whether we'll be able to look at your stuff right away.
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 the people and workers
- 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 water damage or mold.
- Sheet music
- Single-issue comic books
- Outdated history or current affairs books
- Westerns, romance, mystery/thrillers (we don't have anything against these genres, but we try to focus on less common books)
- 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?
Yes! We sell zines on consignment. Bring by 2-3 copies any time we're open and we can talk more.
Will you host my event?
Maybe! We are only a two-person operation, and just running the store six days a week already takes up most of our time and energy. We have a couple recurring events we host every month, and will occasionally take on other events, but we simply don't have the manpower to do everything we want. That being said, it never hurts to ask! Shoot us a message if you have an idea for an event, and we'll see what we can do.
**We do not host music shows, or anything loud.**
For the time being, ALL UPCOMING EVENTS ARE CANCELED. Stay in, take care of yourselves and each other, and wear a dang mask!
Are you still open?? SMALL FRIEND VS. CORONAVIRUS
We are not open for in-store shopping until further notice. However, we are selling books and records online. We are still working in the store Monday-Friday from 11-5, and we're offering local pick-up and shipping orders out during these hours.
We are also collecting donations for a local mutual aid distribution group's supply drive at the store. You can drop off food and supplies with us during these hours, and they'll be redistributed to needy people in our community.
If you would like to help us make it through this crisis, please consider placing an order, or send us a message to purchase a gift card and spend it once we're back open.
Until we reopen the storefront we are generally not buying used books and records, but feel free to get in touch with a list or pictures of what you're trying to sell. If it's stuff we're interested in, we can try to work out a system to do it safely. Please understand that our cash flow is much tighter than usual, and we aren't able to buy everything we want to.
We will keep this page updated as we adjust and refine our policies.
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 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. We are not open for browsing, so you must place your order and pay for it before coming to pick it up.
* 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.