So what's with the minimum?
We'll blame it on the shipping. No, really, it's the shipping. Let's get some history:
Back in ancient times it was easy to send stuff all over the place. Of course, back in those days, comics sold for less than $1.00 and you could pick up many rare and desirable back issues in high grade for a pittance. So the deal was that you had to add like 25 or 50 cents for the shipping. I'm not kidding on this! A whole half a buck! In fact, when Theo Holstein sold Mitchell Mehdy that Action Comics #1 for $1800.00, he insisted that Mitch add $1.26 for the shipping. That was back in 1972 or so (incidentally that's what really accelerated all this pricing stuff on rare books....more on that another time). And that was for certified mail yet!
Over the years not only have the prices of books gone up, but the price of getting them anywhere is almost to the point of stupidity!
Now, all shipping rates have what's known as a "base" built into them. That's the minimum for which any shipping company will get a package of x weight from point A to point B. We built an average of the minimum into our rates and have tried to keep the rates as low as possible. With the recent changes in oil prices it gave shipping companies the excuse to tack on "fuel surcharges". Note that once they got tacked on they never got tacked off again when the oil price dropped. Oil is up again at least temporarily so look for the price of gas and anything to do with shipping to go up again.
So we looked at it this way: If you order a single comic, that base rate is going to kill you unless the book itself is like $50 or $100 or higher. (Let's say it's a key back issue of some kind). Now most books are still in the $2.99 to $3.99 range. (Unabashed plug: If you become a COMIC SERVICE member, those prices drop between 20 and 27%. So join already! But I digress.....)
Anyway, if you order, say 5 books or items then that base rate suddenly becomes a lot less. If you order 10 or more books it's like being back in the old days.
So that's the idea of the minimum order: Make it worthwhile for you to order enough stuff that the shipping becomes a non-issue.