I think maybe there’s more to this book than the title conveys. I recently listened to chapter three about the psychology of price. I find it fascinating and disturbing. I like to think I’m smart enough to not fall for the ubiquitous $whatever.99 ploy, but the studies that are spotlighted convince me that I’m not immune on every level: some part of me that I can’t consciously control is easily manipulated by even obvious price strategies. That bugs me. I feel vulnerable, stupid, and mad at price-setters for manipulating and taking advantage of me.
But I am also a price-setter, as is Gayle (Accents, Inc. owner and Stitching for Literacy Sponsor). Mostly, I deliberately stick with round whole numbers so as to NOT manipulate customers. (Betcha no one’s ever noticed that.) I want to respect my customers, and I want to believe the $whatever.99 ploy is ineffective on my customers, who are all smarter than the dopes who fall for that ridiculousness (re-read above paragraph if you’ve forgotten who this is). But I also need to make sales if I’m to stay in business.
See my dilemma?
Gayle mentions used books in her comment on the Bribe post. This is a tangled ball of floss for me, and has been for years. My SIL works at Powell’s Books in Portland, OR. I love Powell’s. If you’re not familiar with Powell’s, it’s an independent bookstore, with a main store that fills an entire city block, several stories high. They have millions of used books, along with new books, though I think they are best known for their used books.
I have shelves and shelves and boxes and boxes of used books. Because I live so far from libraries and stores, and because I rarely get to town, I tend to buy books I want to read. Because I read a lot and because my income cannot support my reading habit entirely with new book purchases, I buy used books.
Used books also appeal to my conservation side: I want to save trees. Lots of them. I certainly don’t want books filling landfills, and while there are some I want to keep on the off chance I will re-read them, I really don’t need them gathering dust in my house, either. When I’m finished with a book, I’m happy to pass it on.
BUT when I buy a used book or pass a book on, the publisher and author get nothing. I am also an author; I know first-hand how little authors earn. I know authors and illustrators far more successful than I who have full-time day jobs because having a dozen (or more) books in print doesn’t pay them enough to live on.
I want to support authors. I want to support independent bookstores (besides Powell’s). I want to read as much as I do. I want to conserve trees.
How do I juggle these things, balance them?
I don’t have an answer, and I really don’t expect you to, either, but this is an example of the kinds of contradictory positions Cheap raises for me. I am both Cheap and Not Cheap, as, I suspect, most of us are. (No one in the conversation will be berated for their Cheap parts.) It’s interesting to see in what ways I am one or the other and how those two parts do not fit together.
But this is a conversation for January.
Hey, I need book recommendations and Discussion Leader volunteers for subsequent months.