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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Spending Less on Books

I spent two years working at Bookspan (now known as Yes Solutions...for some reason) doing soul-crushing data entry. The kind of job where you spend eight hours at an impersonal desk, keying in orders from people who want to join one of 35 different book clubs. The kind of job where you must make no errors, and work a little faster each day. After a year, you get a three percent pay raise. Two upsides to this mindless job: after a probationary period, iPod use is allowed, and the opportunity to purchase many books for dirt cheap.

Where I worked received returns for the said fourteen book clubs, and those returns (along with any books damaged in the warehouse) were sold to the employees for fifty cents each. For two years, I chose four books each day, from a wide variety of titles. This was great for feeding my buying addiction, and a great way to expand my library. Some days, I bought books I had no need for, just because I could. Now, many of those books have been donated to the local library.

(No joke: Dreams come some night where I still work at Bookspan, and keep finding better books)

I left the job because a much better one fell into my lap, and I had to switch my book buying to Amazon. There was no financial way I could keep buying so many books, and I had no need for them. This knowledge did little to help curb my impulsive buying.

Sales helped justify this (buy 2 get 1; free shipping) until I started a couple stop-gap methods to at least delay purchasing:
  • When at [Insert Book Store], instead of quickly buying an interesting looking title, I'll note the book in my phone. That way I can look it up at the library or Amazon.
  • On Amazon, I add books to either my shopping list or wish list, allowing a waiting period before ordering.
  • I turned off one-click ordering, so at least I have to go through the steps of checking out before making the purchase.
  • On the shopping list, it is easy to click on 'Select All' to give myself the quick shock about how much stuff I want to buy. Today's total comes in close to $1800, though that includes a DSLR camera, and other fun electronics I can easily convince myself I need.
These methods have not proved perfect, but it can help curb some impulses.


David M. aka kirby_is_kyaan said...

Careful man, you're trying to stop your spending habits, remember?

Jeremy said...

This has worked to a better degree than I thought it would. The lists help me avoid impulse buying books like I've done much of the the past. Now I can see the stupid amount of stuff I 'want' to buy and look for others ways (mainly the library) to get the books. As for everything else on the list; I have to sell what I own now to get the new stuff.