The Strand is an incredibly well established bookstore in New York City. Founded by Ben Bass in 1927, the company has been around for almost 90 years! It first opened on a street that used to be referred to as “Book Row” in New York. Still on that street today, Strand Books has been kept in the family and claims to have a library of books that, if lined up, would stretch for 18 miles. This company sells both new and used books in all types of formats. They have a very large selection of categories too. With an extensive history and family ownership, Strand Books has a lot to offer its customers and automatically stands out among competitors.

The Good

The positive qualities of this company have a lot to do with their reputation as a business. It speaks well of a company to have survived decades of a changing economy—especially for a book business in a world that has become increasingly dependent on technology. Strand Books also stands out for being a family-owned company. That alone gives many customers greater confidence in giving them business.

The following features in particular are what makes Strand Books an appealing option for book lovers:

  • A well-established company. You can’t ignore the fact that this company has many, many years of experience in the book industry. With that, they have had plenty of time to solidify their business practices, learn their customer base, and adapt to a changing industry. For many customers, it’s reassuring to do business with a company that has is well established because it feels like less of a risk and possibly more of an act of loyalty.
  • Wide selection of books. Strand Books has a library of 2.5 million books in roughly 48 categories. In other words, there is a lot to choose from! They also offer a variety of book formats, which gives you more options. These include hardback and paperback printed books, audiobooks, CDs and DVDs, and some cards for accessing ebooks. This speaks well of a company that has been around since only printed books were available. More importantly, it opens up enough options for customers.
  • Buying and selling books. Not only can you buy new and used books from The Strand. You can also bring books into their store and sell them for a small price. This is a great appeal, as it allows customers to get rid of books they no longer need and make a little money doing so. It also makes the company resourceful and expands their library.
  • Customer and editorial reviews. Since shopping online can feel risky, customer reviews and editorial reviews can make your job as a customer a bit easier. On this company’s website, you can search through reviews about books you’re considering buying and get feedback about what you can expect when you buy from The Strand.

The Bad

In contrast, the weaknesses Strand Books has have much to do with pleasing their customers. This may come as a surprise, since the company is so experienced and has maintained business for so long—in the competitive New York City, no less. It’s not to say that this bookstore treats customers poorly; rather, some of their policies may not feel all that rewarding to some customers.

  • No BBB reputation. For one thing, The Strand doesn’t have any reputation—good or bad—with the Better Business Bureau. Although they have a profile with the BBB, they don’t have accreditation with them, and the BBB hasn’t given them a rating. This doesn’t automatically speak negatively of the company, but it does mean the company doesn’t have that extra approval or vote of confidence that some customers look for.
  • A 14-day return policy. In addition, Strand Books gives you only 14 days to return a book you don’t want anymore. That’s only two weeks from the time you receive a book to decide whether you want it and take care of logistics to return it if you need to. While two weeks should be plenty of time to make this decision, it makes the company look a little more stringent than some of its competitors who give customers 30 or even 60 days to make a return. A little more flexibility would be nice.
  • No memberships available. For customers who like buying a membership to their bookstore, they won’t be able to enjoy this with Strand Books. Although the company does let you create a free account with them, you can’t enjoy the benefits of having a membership (which can make for better deals, more convenience, etc.).
  • No customer loyalty program. Finally, Strand Books doesn’t have a program set up for rewarding customers who repeatedly give them business. Customer loyalty programs can include receiving points or money back for purchases you make with a business. Strand Books still treats its customers well, but it doesn’t go the extra mile in rewarding them for their support.Depending on the customer, these qualities aren’t necessarily deal breakers; they might just be a lack of perks. However, in a competing industry, perks can sometimes make the difference for customers.

The Bottom Line

All in all, Strand Books has a lot to offer. They obviously have a wide selection of books, and they appeal to customers who want to buy new or used books or who want to sell books as well. There’s also no denying the appeal that history and family ownership have. For these reasons, The Strand is a trusted and successful business.

However, despite the niceties of being established, Strand Books doesn’t necessarily go above and beyond for customers. Their lack of a customer loyalty program attests to that. So for any customer looking for extra perks, or even flexible returns, this company won’t be as satisfying. Those customers might feel a bit frustrated with not being able to get a membership or receive regular deals.

But for anyone just looking for a great selection of books, The Strand will deliver. This company’s 18-mile long collection is a big appeal for book lovers all over

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