The question of raising minimum wage has become a prominent issue, with elected officials and organizations across the country actively engaged in the matter.
This is a complex issue. While independent booksellers understand the importance of fair and completive employee compensation, a minimum wage increase that is too drastic could result in reduced staff hours, lost jobs, or, worse, a store going out of business. Indies have little price flexibility, so arguments that they can simply raise prices to cover the increased wage aren’t grounded in economic reality. Main Street stores are competing with online merchants, many of which feature discounted prices and the appeal of purchasing from online retailers that are not collecting state sales tax (yet another reason to support e-fairness!).
It’s important to get involved as early as possible in policy discussions regarding increases in the minimum wage. Only indies know what they can -- and cannot -- afford. The goal here is to ensure that when the policy discussion begins it is based in solid business and economic principals. Unrealistic expectations about steep immediate wage increases won’t work, but it’s unreasonable to expect an elected official who has never run a business to understand that. You need to educate politicians and/or key decision-makers on the financial realities of an independent business.
With that in mind, ABA is providing indie bookstores with some tools and tips to help you become an active participant in any wage increase discussion that occurs in your area. (Importantly, any indies who would like to add to this page are invited to do so, and should contact ABA Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan at firstname.lastname@example.org with their thoughts and comments.)