On Friday, I realized that if I buy my daily cappuccino from the machine at work instead of the coffee bar, I'll save enough for a paperback within three to four days.
The quality of the coffee so easily brushed aside...you can see the price of books has been on my mind.
At my request, my husband got me a Kindle for my last birthday. Since electronic versions are often cheaper than printed books, I convinced him it was a sound investment by calculating how many books I’d need to buy before it paid for itself. Knowing my appetite, he realized it wouldn't take long.
Another major advantage with electronic books is that I’m also saving space. Houses in Germany are generally smaller than in America. Despite bookshelves that reach to the ceiling, mine are lined two deep. And that’s after I gave away two moving boxes full.
If I really hope to earn money selling books someday, shouldn’t I be less of an El Cheapo when it comes to buying them myself? I'll expect others to spend their hard-earned pay on words I've written. Of course, I do the same for other authors, but not very often.
Because I’ve been brainwashed.
It’s all my mother’s fault.
When I was a kid, she was the thriftiest woman around. She could tell you the price of bananas or pork chops or strawberries and which store was least expensive during any given week. I can still hear her voice saying about some long-forgotten product, “Can you believe they want twenty-nine cents a pound?”
Books were never bought. I borrowed them stack wise at an old yellow church that had been converted into the public library. The library has long since moved to a modern brick building, but I can still feel the momentum of my feet on the carpet-covered wooden floor which sloped toward the former sanctuary.
J.K. Rowling was possibly the first to chisel me out of my cheapness. Powered by an addiction as strong as any twelve-year-old's at the time, I bought the hardcover version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as soon as it came out. I can still remember holding the heavy tome in my hand and debating whether I should spend that much on one book.
So I'm not a lost cause. I buy new books.
I'm not a lost cause, but – at least in a lot of ways - I am my mother's thrifty daughter.