Well, the dust has settled and the cheap book catalog experiment didn’t come off quite as smoothly as I’d planned. I screwed up a couple of orders (told one of my frustrated customers I couldn’t fire the idiot packer because then I’d be out of a job), which gobbled up an hour or so, and the packing and shipping took longer than expected. Who gets paid for standing in line at the post office? Also it took time, for which I hadn’t accounted, to get the books that hadn’t sold, and their images, up on the Biblio, IOBA, and ABAA websites.
All in all I cleared about $2300 for a little over 40 hours of work. Is that $56/hour? Somebody’d better check my math. Not as good as I’d thought, but better than being a greeter at Walmart, which seems to be the other employment option for men in my age group.
Maybe my average will inch up as those leftover books sell online. I’ve already amortized my cataloging hours, so the only additional time expense will be for wrapping. Let’s think about this…
I sell a $20 book on Biblio and keep half – $10 – (see last blog entry for my arrangement with my cheap book supplier) and it takes me 5 minutes to wrap it, and 10 minutes to go the post office just down the street and stand in line while our slower-than-molasses postal clerk
e n t e r s t h e i n f o r m a t i o n
in the post office computer and sticks the resulting postage label on the package. What’s that, $40 per hour (minus Biblio’s percentage)? Man, I’m already taking a pay cut! For a $50 book, of which there are a few, the pay is considerably better.
When I was younger – hell, even now – there was no greater pleasure than sitting around with colleagues theorizing about the business aspect of our trade. Of course we weren’t Wharton graduates, we were outsider romantics, and our theorizing only began (inevitably) after we were half soused with whatever flavor of booze and register of book romance was in favor that decade, but still. It nourishes the spirit to feel as if you’re learning from your experiences, and there’s nothing like a drunken bullshit session with your colleagues to make you feel like a genius.
Anyway, once the initial run of the cheap-books-science-experiment was over (it will require dozens of iterations to achieve sufficient sample size), it was time to clean up the lab – a chore that had been ignored in the frenzy of cataloging and traveling. It’s a sad story and, knowing that a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s my 3000 word essay on the state of things at Ten Pound Island Book Co.
And here’s what it began to look like after a little elbow greaseOn a brighter note, here are some images my neighbors sent me of my writer’s shack in Cape Breton. There’s a Trump joke available, but I’m not going to make it.
I just wish I were there, on that lovely blue sky day, anyway.