peace. love. used books.

I own a few books. Okay. More than a few. Okay. I own a lot of books. But . . .

I buy them cheap! Really! I hardly EVER pay retail! Here are my favorite (searchable) online sources:

www.half.com
I always check here first. half.com is a subsidiary of ebay, so I earn (so far) positive feedback as an ebay member from half.com transactions. If you have an ebay account, you still have to register for a half.com account – although you can use the same username and password for both. half.com has a pretty hefty inventory and great prices – often lower than Amazon, which is my second choice. It’s a GREAT online book source! Tell all your friends!

I also sell books on half.com. Sold one yesterday, actually. Unlike selling on ebay, listing an item for sale on half.com doesn’t cost anything (no listing fees), but they charge a (higher than ebay) commission on each sale. (I think right now it’s 20% of the sale.) Unlike ebay and Amazon, listings don’t expire. Also, if you list items for sale, you automatically have an online store, like me. Like Amazon, they charge the buyer a flat shipping fee and you pay for shipping. Currently, the standard half.com shipping fee is $3.49 per item. You decide if you want to offer expedited shipping. If so, and the buyer chooses it, half.com charges the buyer a higher shipping fee. If you can ship for under the amount they charged the buyer, you keep the difference. If shipping costs more than half.com charged the buyer, you make up the difference. Most of the time, I come out ahead, so that helps cover the commission fee.

ebay.com
I do buy books from ebay also, if the price and shipping are right. I just bought Cold Sassy Tree two days ago. It was recommended by Lisa Writes and I finally got around to reading it. I liked the ending so much I decided to add it to my collection because I think I’ll be reading it again in the future. It kind of reminds me of Will Campbells’ writing and theology. (Most of the books I buy are non-fiction. I keep most of my fiction books at the library, so when I actually BUY a fiction book – I really like it.) Thanks for the referral, Lisa!

www.amazon.com
No matter where I buy my books, I usually go to amazon.com to see user reviews and to take advantage of the “Search Inside” feature offered on many of the listings. I rarely buy new books from amazon.com. I usually buy used books from Amazon independent resellers by clicking on the “used & new available from . . . ” link on a product page. The shipping works largely the same as half.com. Currently, the standard Amazon shipping fee is $3.99 per item.

I do have some books listed for sale on amazon.com, but the fees keep me from listing low cost items. In addition to their commission (I think it’s 15% right now), they charge 99 cents for some made up fee a “transaction fee” that is really meant as a deterrent to sellers. If you aren’t careful, you can actually LOSE money on a sale. What do I mean by “deterrent?” Why would a buyer let Amazon fulfill an order at retail prices if they can buy from an independent seller for less? I’m thinking they wouldn’t. So if Amazon sells an item at a retail price, I’m thinking they don’t want independent sellers listing that item. If Amazon charges sellers another dollar (okay. 99 cents.) on top of the commission, they make the profit so low it’s not worth it. Of course, Amazon doesn’t explain it that way.

I also opened an affiliate account a few months ago and have earned . . . (drumroll, please) . . . 84 cents so far. Woo Hoo! They do give you an online store, though. I’ve started to use mine to keep track of some of my favorite titles. I need to keep up with that more. I need another 84 cents.

www.alibris.com
I use this site when I’m looking for a hard to find or out of print book. I’ve also listed a rare book here before, but I don’t think I have anything listed right now. I also check prices here before listing something rare or unusual.

Other sites I’ve used are:
www.abebooks.com
www.bookfinder.com
www.booksamillion.com
(although if you want to change your email account, you can’t. You have to set up a new account. THAT was annoying. I had already registered my “Millionaire’s Club” card number to my account. The online inventory isn’t that great, but I love the brick and mortar shopping because they often carry books by local writers.

I also just opened an account on paperbackswap.com. I’ve listed my minimum 10 books to get started, but I haven’t selected any books for myself yet. Since I haven’t had any activity yet, I can’t comment. But Lynn likes it!

I get books from Goodwill, Salvation Army, local thrift stores, garage sales, and library sales too. My biggest source? My church’s annual rummage sale, the first weekend of October. I’m the “Book Lady” because I take off two weeks every year and work the prep. I sort and alphabetize hundreds of book in that two week period. I also bring home a few. 🙂 You know how some women will buy a new outfit, bring it home, take off the tags and slip it into the closet? Not me. I sneak home a box of books and quickly shelve them. “What? Those old things? No, they’ve been there for a while.” Take a look at the photo in this post from last year. October is bookshelf buying season in this house! (Yo! FirstHusband! Are you rolling your eyes?)

But. My favorite. all. time. bookstore?

The Book Warehouse at exit 5 on I-75 in Valdosta, Georgia. (technically, it’s Lake Park, Georiga)

Give me $50 and an hour in there and you’ll still have to drag me out – after giving me more money.
Someone will have to help me carry all the books, though.


Check out more tips and ideas over at Works for Me Wednesdays hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

ebay or give away

I haven’t listed anything on eBay for MONTHS. But yesterday the storms were TERRIBLE and I had the computers unplugged. With no internet access and with the momentum from cleaning out PinkGirl’s room still going strong, I decided to tackle a few piles in my office. I boxed up a LOT of stuff to give away, but found this and thought I’d try out the new (well new to me because I haven’t listed in so long) eBay seller interface. (When this doesn’t sell, you’ll see why I give so much stuff to charity and why It’s Deductible is such a wonderful tool to value the items.)

You can see the actual eBay listing HERE. My eBay username is Hip2BeSquare.

I’ve been thinking about doing a few posts on eBay buying and selling for some future Works for Me Wednesdays. Any thoughts? Questions about eBay?

I’ll let Weird Al get the info flowing.

“breaking” point

Jenn, over at Mommy Needs Coffee and Mommy Bloggers, has motivated me to tell the truth. I do not have it all together. When I don’t get my solitude (or any help), I reach my breaking point. So, in the spirit of honesty and solidarity, here are the events which led to my literal “breaking” point last week.

But first, a trivia question: What’s the difference between dropping your phone and heaving it forcefully to the floor? See the answer at the bottom of this post.

Back to the (humiliating) story.

FirstHusband left town on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. and I drove him to the airport. (He returned Friday evening and we picked him up at the airport just in time for rush hour.)

I am taking iron pills because my blood work shows my iron stores are “depleted.” (“Iron stores?” I never shopped at an iron store.)

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, alone with the kids. The kids do their chores, pack their own lunches, do their homework, pack their own backpacks, lay out their own clothes, bathe and dress themselves, but not without . . . encouragement. (They might call it nagging.) Through it all, I’m patient. Pleasant, even. When they want to stay up late on Tuesday night to watch American Idol “because EVERYONE will be talking about it tomorrow and I won’t know what they’re talking about,” I LET them stay up! (Have you ever heard the phrase, “no good deed goes unpunished?”)

So, Wednesday morning comes around and I have comatose children. PinkGirl didn’t even move. No groan. No turning over. Just dead weight. FavoriteSon is too heavy to drag downstairs and, while still in a coma, he pitifully BEGGED me to let him skip P.E. The fact is, I was wiped out too. When FirstHusband travels, I don’t sleep so well.

So, I did the UNthinkable. I let the kids sleep in an extra hour. I let my son miss 1st period P.E. and my 1st grade daughter be an hour late for school. I can’t remember, but I think my husband will learn about this as he reads this blog post. (Remember the family rule, hon. No helping. No complaining.)

Anyway. I drop the kids off a little before 9:00 a.m., go back home to shower, eat breakfast and work a little before I go BACK to school to have lunch with PinkGirl at 11:15 because the new girl is giving her a hard time. Get back to the house around noon. A little more work (and probably a little blogging, I don’t’ remember) and then it’s BACK to school to pick up the kids. I get PinkGirl and two friends at 2:40 p.m. and then wait for FavoriteSon to get out at 3:10 p.m. Everyone is hungry, so it’s off to McDonalds. I’m keeping PinkGirl’s friends for the afternoon and drop FavoriteSon off at the house to do homework while I take the girls to a park. While they play, I sit on a park bench, reading a book and taking notes for a seminar I have to deliver next week. Every 30 or 45 minutes I call home to ask FavoriteSon how he is doing on his homework. I’m patient. Pleasant, even.

After nearly two hours, the girls get bored with the park and want to go to our house to play for a while before I take them home. No problem. No big deal. Sure. We go home. FavoriteSon has finished his homework. The girls play upstairs while I respond to a client email request. I was supposed to take the girls home around 6:00 p.m., but it’s 6:10 and they just put Chicken Little in the DVD player. I let them watch Chicken Little sing “We are the Champions” before we go. I’m patient. Pleasant, even.

I tell FavoriteSon I’m taking the girls home and he can play video games until I get back. When we arrive at the friend’s house, I let PinkGirl walk them to the door and then, I even let her go inside for a few minutes. I’m patient. Pleasant, even.

When we get back to our house, it’s 7:34 p.m. So far that day, I’d been in a pretty good mood. I was feeling pretty good about all the nice things I’d done for my kids. I mean really. You read the post. I was great, if I do say so myself. Cool mom. Nice mom. Pushover mom.

So how do I know it was 7:34 p.m. when I got home? Because, in our house, we have a family rule: All electronics off at 7:30 on school nights. (American Idol was a test – which they failed.) So I say, “okay, guys, it’s 7:34.”

I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught. The screaming. The stomping. The sarcasm. The insults.

THIS is what I get from them after saying “YES” to them over, and over, and OVER all day?

I wasn’t patient. Or pleasant, even.

I had an armful of stuff from the car (and not all of it MY stuff either). Picture it. Ever seen a little kid stomp their foot on the ground and thrust curled up fists down at their sides? That’s what I did. But remember. I was holding stuff. And my Treo.

Amazingly, what I actually said next was, “Well, that’s got to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.” followed by, “PinkGirl, go to your room right now.”

Then I logged into ebay and sniped a Treo.

So what’s the answer to the trivia question? That would be $93, plus $15 shipping (If you have an ebay account and know how to use it). See, when you just drop your phone, it doesn’t always break. But when you throw it at the floor really hard, you have to buy a new one.

Yo, Jenn. Mommy didn’t have coffee Wednesday night. She had cabernet sauvignon. With dark chocolate.