What – no hiking stuff? Not now. Skip to the end.
I sold my first book. Not one I wrote, I would be out celebrating if that happened, and not talking to you people. No – I sold a book on amazon.com.
I am an avid reader. Big time. I devour books. If one is good enough I may read through the whole thing in the space of several hours. I’ve stayed up until two or three in the morning to finish a book before. I know authors must cringe at the idea. It takes them months to write something, forever to get it published, and then I whisk through it in six hours skimming over their hard-fought phrases to get to the good parts.
The only problem: I have a lot of books sitting around. At least I did before I got the Kindle application for the iPad. Now I have a bunch of books sitting on virtual shelves. I have donated books to the library before, and although there is a tax write-off, I still feel like I’m getting ripped off.
Have you ever been shopping on Amazon.com, and while looking at a book, noticed the little button in the bottom right-hand corner that says “have one to sell?” I ignored it for the longest time. Surely it would be a pain in the ass to sell something. I mean, look at eBay. If you’ve ever tried to sell through that draconian monster, it’s almost worth it just to throw your old stuff in the recycling bin. It’s more comforting to go all white-trashy and have a yard sale, than to sell almost anything through eBay.
As an aside: I don’t care if your yard sale includes Prada handbags and Swarovski crystal on the front of your manicured lawn in your planned community. Yard sales are the ultimate white-trash experience, so get over yourself. Everyone has to let their inner redneck out sometimes.
Anyway, I have far too many books hanging around that I’ve read, and don’t plan to read again. So the other day, whilst corralling the dust bunnies, I pulled a few off the shelf, and figured I would give it a try. So, I hit the “sell mine” button, and breezed through setting up my seller account. You can sell anything on Amazon, as long as they already list it. If it’s not on their list, then woe unto you.
It so happened that my book was there, so I listed it. Two days later, I got an email. A book had sold. I logged in, printed a shipping label, bagged it up and took it to the post office. Amazon takes a commission, BUT they give you a shipping credit. There’s no complex shipping calculation, no dealing directly with customers, no questions from bidders, nothing. It’s like eBay without the hassles, and without the requirement to use PayPal (PayPalsucks.com). Amazon handles all the money and they direct deposit your funds every two weeks. Books ship easily, they can’t break.
Only one problem – they limit you to 50 sales in a year, otherwise you have to have a tax ID number.
So, this brings me back to eBooks; you can’t sell those. That’s the only thing about them that sucks, and I think that is the reason for the push towards electronic books. The publishers make money from every ebook sold. But when I buy a book, read it, and sell it to someone else, the publisher only makes money once. I make the money off the next transaction, whereas they get nothing. If the second person sells the book at a yard sale, or to a used book dealer, the publisher makes nothing from that sale either.
Another scary thing about the Kindle book… Amazon can pull it back. They showed their hand with an ebook they weren’t supposed to distribute. People found their copy of some classic had disappeared from their Kindles overnight. Now I seldom wear the tin foil hat, but what if some future restrictive government decided that “The Hunger Games” for example was too controversial. Poof! Gone from the Kindles.
So back to my books. It’s not like I really needed “The Compleat Taildragger Pilot”. At this point in the game I’ve pretty much given up on being a pilot of anything, much less a “compleat taildragger” pilot. Other books like “Composite Aircraft Design for Homebuilders” and “The Proficient Pilot” are up next…
Too bad Amazon doesn’t sell mostly completed ultralights…
On to hiking:
I spent part of last Saturday hiking through a strawberry field with wife and child. It’s not something I would choose as an occupation, but for twenty minutes, picking strawberries that you will later turn into pie or dessert or something is pretty nice. We had a grand old time doing it, and I look forward to more time at the farm. We pick blackberries too, but those aren’t quite ready yet. Judging by the wild ones in my yard they will be, soon. I’m thinking about refrigerator dehydrating them. I don’t have a dehydrator, but I’ve noticed in the past, the fridge does a NICE job of removing water from exposed food. I think under the right conditions I could make some strawberry chips in the fridge.
I also found a solution to my home made cone problem: Peg Leg Pete’s. You see, the Caldera Cone people ship their cone in a plastic storage bottle that doubles as a plastic water bottle and a mug. I have a tall plastic cup from Peg Leg Pete’s, which is on Pensacola beach. BUT – my homemade windscreen cone will curl in on itself just enough to fit down into the Peg Leg Pete’s cup, along with my cat-food-can stove and a small bottle of alcohol. I just need to take the cup and stuff down to work and check the difference in weight vs. my store-bought stove and cartridge fuel. I already weighed my paracord. Fifty feet of the seven-strand cord weighs an ounce less than fifty feet of thinner cord that I bought. I guess it’s due to construction of the thinner stuff.
I found a solution to avoid freezing to death. Hammockgear.com sells both underquilts and top quilts, made from down. The underquilt goes UNDER the hammock and outside, and is held to it with stretch cords. The top quilt (essentially a sleeping bag with all the puffy warm stuff on top and little on the bottom) goes inside the hammock and you go inside it. Hennessy makes an under-hammock insulation system for $140. But – if I opt instead to swap out my sleeping bag for the top and underquilt instead of hennessy’s system, I can shave off two POUNDS and a lot of bulk from my pack.
But it would cost $400 instead of only $140. Ouch. Down is expensive. Thank goodness it’s summer. Maybe I can avoid freezing until my books sell or I have a birthday or something.
Anyone want to buy an old partly built plane or some books? Walking in the woods gets expensive.