“Little by little, one travels far.” —J.R.R. Tolkien
When we launched the Rabbit Room back in 2006 (was it really that long ago?) we had no idea where it might lead. It began as an ugly little WordPress blog that was an invite-only affair. Almost no one seemed to care about it, not even those of us writing the content. But by tiny steps, it grew. In 2007 Andrew took a risk and had a much more fully featured blog designed. He invited a few more writers onboard and took it public. If you’ve perused the archives, you’ll see that that’s where their humble beginnings lie.
By small steps, the community grew, and so did the website. The store was born—initially just a few of us selling used books we found around the country, primarily to justify the amount of time we spent lurking in musty book stores. Then there were podcasts, then the Rabbit Room Press, then Hutchmoot, then a Rabbit Room office because running things in the basement was getting more and more difficult, then The Molehill and more Hutchmoots and well, here we are.
We’ve always wanted to keep the Rabbit Room simple and focused on things we love, so we’ve been against any sort of advertising on the site (banner ads and the like), but all those little steps have had huge costs attached, and thanks to the Amazon economy of zero margins and free shipping, it’s getting harder and harder to stay competitive and meet those costs.
People often ask how they can best support the Rabbit Room, the work we do, the content we create, and the people involved. The first and best answer is to support the authors and musicians that we feature. By purchasing their work through the Rabbit Room store, you can be sure that the artist is receiving the lion’s share of the profit, and the rest goes toward operating expenses of the Rabbit Room itself.
Many people, however, have asked how they can contribute in a larger way, and that brings me to the next small step along the way: Rabbit Room membership.
Let me tell you what Rabbit Room membership is not.
First, membership is not necessarily a way to save money and get free stuff (a la Amazon Prime). It’s our intent that membership provide a way for those who wish to help support the Rabbit Room to do so in a clear, simple, and direct way, and for us to be able to offer some material thanks in return.
Second, it’s not an effort to create exclusivity. Yes, there will be a few things (like t-shirts) that will only be available to card-carrying members, but we aren’t interested in creating exclusive content. We aren’t interested in leaving people out. That would run contrary to everything we’re about and, trust us, we aren’t moving in that direction.
So what is a Rabbit Room membership? What does it cost and what’s included?
Primarily, membership is a way for those interested in supporting the Rabbit Room to be able to help us continue doing the kinds of things we do, like Hutchmoots, and Molehills, and podcasts, and Wingfeather Sagas, and N.T. Wright concert/lectures, and more than a few other things we’ve got up our sleeves. It may also be a great gift for a friend, or a way to introduce a family member to the community. It’s a way to be involved and invest in the community.
So there you have it. That’s my pitch. We want to keep on taking these small steps. We want to see how far the road leads us. If you’d like to join the fellowship, we’d love to have you along.
Membership runs from the date of purchase until May 1st, 2014. The price is $80, and it includes the following benefits:
—A free t-shirt available only to members. The designer is still working on the shirt, but trust us, it’ll be cool.
—15% off all purchases in the Rabbit Room store.
—Two free used books (of our choice). We’ll grab a couple of good ones off the shelf and surprise you.
—A free copy of The Molehill Volume 2. We’re busy editing it together right now and it’ll debut at Hutchmoot 2013 (ships to members as soon as it arrives from the printer in late September or early October).
—Official Rabbit Room membership card (which bears your super-secret membership code for savings in the store).
—Free access to certain Rabbit Room events. This will not include Hutchmoot, but it will include some stuff that we have yet to announce. We’ll notify the membership whenever we’ve got something cooking.