Recently, I posted about someone who created a spreadsheet for a year's worth of book buying from Amazon and compared what it would have cost if they had the kindle that year instead. I thought this was (a) quite nutty and (b) really cool and so I did the same. After last night's meeting, since I've been feeling a need for a settling activity, I figured I'd do 2006.
A couple of interesting observations. First, I bought fewer books from Amazon (for me -- I'm not counting presents for other people, books for T., anything other than books) in 2006 than in 2007. We were still living in Seattle for 9 months of 2006, and K. and I (and often R. and T., or just R. if we had child care) would go down to Elliot Bay Books and browse, or sometimes Barnes & Noble or Borders or whatever seemed appealing at the time. This was my primary social outing. Oh, there was also Jackson St. Books, which I discovered comparatively late, but was extremely wonderful since it was essentially right across the street. Despite buying fewer (112 vs. 153) books, I spent more money in 2006 ($1826.34 vs. $1721.16). The numbers actually lie for two reasons. First, I was buying used books both years, and the minimum shipping went up between 2006 and 2007 from $3.49 to $3.99. Also, I was paying sales tax on Amazon purchases in 2006 through September (shipping to Seattle address, so WA state tax applied), but didn't care to break the sales tax down on a book by book basis, so it is effectively included only on single book orders.
Average book price (16.30 in 2006 vs. 11.25 in 2007) does not do an adequate job of capturing what the real difference was. I think the difference can be largely chalked up to several monographs I bought in 2006. The most expensive books from 2007 were library related (two textbooks about Children's/YA literature, Planning the Modern Public Library), and were $50-$65 each.
By contrast, parenting/child development text/monographs are really ridiculously expensive: Adolescent Sleep Patterns at almost $80, Parents' Cultural Belief Systems at $74. Parenting Experts at $45 looks cheap by comparison. But the killer, really, was Night-Time and Sleep in Asia and the West at $125.
Used paperback academic books about Disney, by comparison, are really, really cheap.
I have no idea what the moral of this story is.