Monday, June 25, 2007

On used books and consuming in general

I'm kind of sorry to post again so quickly, as I was really pleased that the bookseller in question, Alex Green of Back Pages Books, commented on my earlier post! Feel free to scroll down and comment on that older post, if interested. Or at least read it, people, I mean honestly...

Anyhow, this Short Cuts article from Alina Tugend in the NY Times was interesting, on what to do with your old books. (I should note that I followed a link from the ever-interesting Bookslut to get there.) This is a constant problem of mine, and my partner is actually even worse. It's a meandering piece, but useful. I was particularly interested in Better World Books. Does anyone know anything about these folks? It seems smart and good to me, but is it secretly evil? Am I missing something or not thinking this one through? I'm going to investigate, but I'm very much about less consuming and downsizing right now.

While being into downsizing, I'm also trying to come up with a real ethos. I mean, I don't want to downsize in a way that leads to less support for the arts. I want to buy less clothes, processed foods, general crap, but I shouldn't cut down book-buying (or cds or dvds) necessarily. Right? I should just choose carefully, both what I'm buying and where I'm buying it.

I'm being influenced in part by a recent thought of volunteering with Conscious Consuming, which has a blog here, and by a typically-terrifying Mother Jones article, from the current issue which has not been posted yet, called "No Sex Please, We're Organizing." It talks about how Americans require storage now more than ever, how "7 square feet of commercial storage space now exists for every American," and how "Ashlee Simpson told People a 1,300-square-foot closet was the selling point of her house." Ugh, shoot me now. And on a more human scale, we know many people see a visit to Target or worse to be a nice Saturday afternoon out - many driving their SUVs there and filling them up with useless garbage they don't need.

So I'm trying to determine how to marry these two urges - to read and support a community of writers (and edit a few of them, when I'm lucky) AND to not buy useless crap. I think I can do it, but it's harder than just mindlessly spending and consuming. The good news is, I make hardly any money, like most in publishing, so I'm not exactly working with a lot at the start.

This is where one might insert a winking emoticon, just fyi.

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