Welcome to South Africa's friendliest online bookstore, where no matter the book, or where it has been published, if it's out there, we'll find it.
At Red Pepper Online we believe that books are the cornerstone of society. We believe that books really do change lives. We believe that as a company we have a moral obligation to grow readers in our country, to get people excited about books, and to remind people of how powerful they can become, just by absorbing the wisdom contained between millions of pages.
Books are the grand messengers of the world. We’re here to help spread those messages. And we’re taking a portion of every book we sell and ploughing it back into society into projects that fund education and literacy in South Africa
WHERE WE COME FROM
Way back when Google didn’t exist and Amazon.com was moving out of their home-based garage and into a warehouse, a little company called Red Pepper Online stretched itself in the morning sun, rubbed the sleep out of its eyes, and decided that it wanted to be big and important in the eyes of its customers and catch up with the technology boom that was unfolding all over the developed world.
Every day the little company thought about how its web site was going to look and what services it was going to feature until one day a friend of the owner told her about some software that she could use to design her web site. The owner was so excited because she knew that her little company was going to grow into something amazing. She purchased the software and worked late into the night creating web pages, learning about URLs and hyperlinks, creating forms and moulding the little company’s web site into something she could be proud of.
But one day she knew that the time had come. It was time to take this web site to her market. She proudly sent hundreds of potential customers a leaflet explaining who this little company was and what customers could do on its web site. Within a few weeks, this little company was receiving queries and orders from all over the country. People were so excited that they could work with a book supplier using this new form of technology.
Because of that the little company became a really big company. The owner decided to move out of her office at home into more professional space. She employed staff and trained people to do what she did.
Soon the web site was too small for the big company, and the owner contacted an outside company to help her create an even better web site where her customers could browse a live book database and place orders online.
Because of that the company grew even more. People that the company had never dealt with before wanted to do business with this big company. The owner recruited even more staff and was so excited that her little company had emerged from its cocoon as a beautiful butterfly. The company was really good at finding books, and is now very well known as a specialist bookshop, both through its web site and offline.
Our dream is to create the most knowledgeable and customer-centric online book shop in South Africa that makes books easily accessible to all South Africans, educating and empowering people from all cultures, genders, ages and creeds.
WHAT WE DO
Imagine someone tells you about a book that you should read. You get very excited and drive down the road to your local bookshop. Your excitement when you get to the counter wanes as the person behind the till tells you that they don’t have the book you’re looking for in stock. When you ask if they can order it for you they ask you to fill in your details in a book and they will make some enquiries, but it might take about 8 weeks for the book to get to them. At this point your enthusiasm has taken a dive but you leave your contact details behind while the salesperson rings up a sale for the person standing behind you and you quickly gather your bag and move aside.
You decide to drive to a mall across town and you are met with the same answer and the same response from the resident book shop. While you are driving, you make a few calls to some more book shops, but keep hitting a brick wall. You also find out from one of the bookshops you call that the book may be out of circulation, so there is no guarantee that you’ll ever get your book anyway.
Feeling somewhat despondent, you drive home and decide to just wait out the 6-8 weeks that was promised to you by the first bookshop you visited but at the same time you’re wondering if it will ever arrive.
While chatting to a friend a couple of days later, you hear about a specialist bookshop called Red Pepper Online that can find and supply almost any book published anywhere in the world, provided a copy is available somewhere. This bookshop has real, live, enthusiastic human beings working there who specialise in finding books that nobody else is prepared to find. Your friend had placed an order with them a few weeks earlier and could not believe that buying a book could be such a simple and seamless experience.
You Google this company and find their web site with millions of books listed on it. It is bright and cheery and very user friendly. You search for your book and the web site quickly tells you that the book is out of print, but it gives you the option of submitting a request to locate a second hand copy. You happily complete the form knowing that at least now there is a chance that you will get a copy of the book you’re dying to read.
Within a few hours you receive an email from Red Pepper Online telling you that they have managed to find a copy of the book you require, and although it is a used copy with a slightly damaged spine, the company can get the book to you within 4 weeks from a seller in the UK.
You are over the moon! You submit the form provided in the email, make payment, and get on with your life.
After 3 weeks you receive a call from a friendly person from Red Pepper Online, telling you that your book has arrived and will be delivered within the next 24 hours, but seeing as their offices are around the corner from your home, you are more than welcome to pop in during the week and collect it if you were in a hurry for it.
You immediately get in your car and drive over to Red Pepper Online. When you arrive, you are greeted with a sea of smiles and your book is handed to you. While you are there you find out that they also specialise in school and university textbooks and wish that you had heard about Red Pepper Online earlier in the year when you had to drive all over Johannesburg buying textbooks for your school children. You could have sat back at your desk and done everything online, saving petrol, time, and money – after all, every book on Red Pepper’s web site is discounted - what a pleasure to have all the work done for you AND to save a few bucks!
It has been a long time since you have felt so welcome in a business, and as you drive out of their building you have no doubt where you will be going next time you are looking for book, hard to find or not. Not only that but you can’t wait to share this great find with everyone else you know.
HOW WE DO IT
We know books, which means that we know -
Some other really cool things that you might also want to know about Red Pepper Online...
First - We will send you the exact book you want, the edition you want and the format you want it in. We won’t ever send you the hardcover 2nd edition simply because we have it in a back stockroom, when you want the 2nd revised edition in paperback. Of course there will be some sneaky books that won’t appear on our site when you search for them. But moenie worry nie, because we’re experts at searching the world to find the book you want, even if it’s published in Tibet. (Yak delivery costs extra!) So if at first you don’t find what you’re looking for, take advantage and request a further search from the Red Pepper People working behind the scenes!
Second - All our book prices are in South African Rands incl. VAT and you pay us directly. Overseas book prices are calculated based on the latest exchange rates. So no nasty international credit card transactions and no panicked guessing about your final bill. “How much is the Dollar/Euro/Pound/Shekel to the Rand again?”
Third - Delivery is really fast ‘cos we’ve organised bulk air freighting of all our books from around the world, even from Cape Town. We deal with the messy customs stuff for you. And we get multiple shipments every week so your book could be in the next one to arrive!
Fourth - The Red Peppers are real people and not virtual reality robots halfway across the world in another time zone. So you can pick up the phone and actually talk to us! If you’ve got a problem we’ll be there to deal with it. You won’t ever have to deal with one of those horrendous call centres or automatic email systems.
Fifth and Best - When you buy from Red Pepper Online you get to deal with the seriously-local-is-lekka Red Peppers who are truly South African, understand what you mean by “Howzit!”, “Sanibonani”, “Molweni”, “Dumelang”, “Goeie Môre” and “Eish”, know that Springboks are not just wildlife (Go bokke!), that Proteas are not just flowers, that Bafana Bafana are our boys, 2010 means one thing & one thing only, that taxis are not yellow cabs, how to really pronounce that movie’s name – Tsotsi (not Soesee) and finally that South Africa is a real country and not just a term for the end of the African continent.
THE NITTY GRITTY DETAILS
As a private customer you can expect:
As a customer who runs or works in an academic, corporate or government library and requires specific order fulfilment services, you can expect:
Our Customer Care Team can also provide you with personalised quotes and ordering. Simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
RED PEPPER IN THE NEWS
Red Pepper has had the privilege of being featured in the South African media. We are very proud to have been acknowledged in this way.
In August 2012 Finweek, South Africa's premier weekly financial magazine, interviewed Red Pepper's founder Phillipa Mitchell. Phillipa was given the opportunity to talk about Red Pepper's beginnings and the journey that the company has taken to be where it is today, and most importantly, how books have the power to change lives.
In December 2012, Red Pepper was profiled on Summit TV's Big Small Business Show. This was a tremendously exciting time for the entire Red Pepper Team as studio equipment was set up in Pepperland, and everyone, including one of our clients, Rika Odendaal, the Deputy Principal at Rand Girls High, was interviewed.
Much of the time was spent trying to contain fits of laughter as the cameraman and journalist were asked to "retake" the scene for the umpteenth time. A great time was had by all, and we are very proud that the world is now able to take an inside peek into what happens in Pepperland every day and how much our people love being part of our company.