Living Wage Surcharge FAQ

What is the living wage surcharge?

  • It an incremental charge of 3% to help pay living wages to our staff. 

How will Kepler’s use the money raised from the living wage surcharge?

  • 100% of the funds from the living wage surcharge will be used to increase compensation and benefits for all staff members.

How does Kepler’s know that customers will support this surcharge?

  • A survey of our customers indicates that 95.6% of customers support a living wage surcharge.

Why doesn’t Kepler’s just raise prices?

  • Books have a list price printed on them and this makes it logistically challenging to change the prices on thousands of books. Adding a living wage surcharge is our solution for this problem. 

What’s the gap between Kepler’s staff’s current compensation and living wages?

  • A new bookseller earns a starting wage of $20 per hour. The living wage for a single adult in San Mateo county is $31 per hour. There are similar gaps in compensation of more experienced staff with higher responsibilities.

How else can I help Kepler’s close the gap between current wages and living wages?

  • You can support Kepler’s by becoming a Literary Circle member, shopping regularly at Kepler’s, attending Kepler’s events, donating to our nonprofit organization, and encouraging your friends and family to do the same. 

Why is the surcharge considered a taxable item for sales tax calculation?  

  • A surcharge is considered a price increase and therefore it’s taxable.

What do you recommend if I can’t afford this surcharge?

  • Please ask our staff to waive the surcharge. 

Why shouldn’t I shop for my books on Amazon and pay lower prices?

  • The money you spend at Kepler’s helps us continue our 65-year track record of being the intellectual and cultural hub for our community and support the livelihood of our hardworking staff.