Thursday, August 20, 2009

a frugal experiment

so, I am writing here primarily for myself and whoever else happens to click through but all the same I wanted to record somewhere my new frugal experiment as it pertains to book acquiring. For the next block of time - undefined - I am refraining from sending any cash on books. That doesn't mean that I am not acquiring them, nor am I stealing them. I am just not buying them.

this started about a week ago - I just wanted to see how it would go. How, you may ask, can you get books for FREE? Well, the local library actually has several milk cartons near the elevator in the front lobby where books are left FREE for the taking, and I am often surprised by the books donated to the library that they don't want or are left by patrons. I have taken home and sold at least $200.00 worth of such books in the year that we have lived here. It's pretty startling.

I also take advantage of book exchanges at coffeehouses. For instance, I exchanged some dull paperbacks yesterday for a 1938 coffee table book called "Adventures of America : 1857-1900" from the archives of the Harper's Weekly, a "hardbound" (although it feels pretty soft to me) The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson in One Volume, plus two British paperbacks of novels that I was not familiar with either the title or the author. For me, a successful trip to get cookies for my kids and a refill of coffee for myself.

Then there is Bookmooch and PaperbackSwap. Yes, anyone who has been to these sites can respond that I have to pay for postage if someone wants to "mooch" a book from me, true. But I can also request books from others that they pay postage for as well, and some of those I have also sold for a profit online. Or bulked up my own collection. In fact, I have added twenty books over the past week without paying any cash. While at the same time donating or selling off another twenty-three books for a net LOSS of three books (always a consideration when your spouse counts the books as often as mine does) - okay, I am half kidding.

and so it goes....

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