Highland COVID Survivor, Mom Starts Business To Deliver Books

A year ago, Kristi Pihl was one of the first confirmed COVID-19 cases in Colorado. A year later, she’s taking Twigge, her new book delivery company, national. Think of Twigge like the early days of Netflix on DVD: pick a book and Twigge mails it to you. Read it and send it back. The name Twigge comes from the Middle English spelling of the verb twig: to understand the meaning of or comprehend. 

Last March, quarantined in her guest bedroom away from her husband and son, Pihl was trying to find activities to keep her occupied. After a week of running a high fever she was mostly in the clear, but was still suffering the effects of the novel coronavirus. Looking for something to keep herself busy, she rekindled her love of books and started reading. She said something just clicked.

Kristi Pihl

“As I started to feel better, I took a look at ‘what was I really doing with my life,’” explained Pihl. “Am I really going back to what I was doing before?” In an era of screen addiction and concerns about time spent online, Pihl says she believes the business to be a higher calling. “I’ve been a lover of the real book, libraries and bookstores, my entire life.”

She may be leaving her former corporate life but is putting those skills to use. Pihl worked with both brick and mortar and online companies on how to enter the digital world, online sales platforms, product flow, and otherwise how to handle digital sales. That background gave her the skill set she needed for her own startup and her new mission. “How can I make books more affordable, more accessible?”

Twigge had a soft launch around Thanksgiving — mostly to her expanded network. Three months later they’ve doubled their inventory and doubled their customers each month — growth that’s nearly unheard of in the pandemic. Now she’s ready for the national scene. 

Here’s how it works:

  • Sign up at Twigge.co (note web address — it’s .co, not .com)
  • Browse by experience type, not just category: casual reading in the park, emotional reads, etc
  • Paperbacks are $6.99, Hardcover books are $8.99
  • Mail the book back within 6 weeks
  • Repeat

If you decide you love the book and want to keep it, it’s $14. 

Pihl laughed when asked if she wants to be the next Amazon.com, the biggest online retailer in the world, that started out as an online bookstore.  “I’m not interested in growing this business as big as it could be, get a lot of VC money, etc,” said Pihl. “This is the company I want to own and operate.”

She hopes the business can help reach people who don’t have access to books at an affordable cost. While a Denver resident much of her life, she grew up in rural Iowa and saw the impact of closing libraries and bookstores on smaller communities. The last year has also highlighted the desire for more delivery services, which many experts say won’t go away when the pandemic ends. For areas that do have brick and mortar bookstores and libraries, she thinks they can meet a need to access popular books that are on wait lists, or simply add convenience. In addition to the few hundred books currently aimed at adults, she’s passionate about growing their children’s picture book selection as well. “The value of a real book in a child’s hands is immeasurable. Kids are spending enough time on screens.” To put it more succinctly, she hopes her business will “help people spend more time reading and less time tweeting.”

You can read more at www.Twigge.co.


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