With my sister leaving New York in a few weeks, I’ve “inherited” a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff I don’t want. Combine that with the fact I also own useless things, I had a serious need to unload a lot of crap. Today, I went to Best Buy to recycle a couple of broken Nikon cameras, and two days ago I went to drop off books at Strand. When I think I spent $600 on a Nikon D50 camera only to have it broken in 4 years, it really makes me question consumerism. I even spent $400 repairing it, and shortly after it broke once again. The Nikon coolpix’s demise was a lot more straightforward: one day, it decided to stop working. I was debating whether to repair the cameras, but with repairs being as expensive as simply getting a new camera, what’s the point?
Then there were the books. About half the books I brought had no value anymore, so off to recycling they went. Makes me wonder if any of the books I’ve made ended up in a trash can somewhere. The flipside is, I haven’t made that many books. If they are in a landfill somewhere, then it’s not making as big an impact on the environment as “The Worst case scenario survival handbook”.
* I’m going off on a tangent here to tell you why that survival book was total crap. Skip this paragraph if you’re not interested. The book opens with a warning that you shouldn’t try any of the tips in the book, and that the publisher and author can’t be held liable if something goes wrong while performing said tips. Though I can understand why they would put that in the book, they’ve just destroyed the whole selling point of the book. Why would anyone get a survival book if you can’t actually put any of the tips in practice? Well that’s a minor point, the tips themselves were moronic for the most part. Like “How to stop a runaway camel”. First of all, how often does that happen and how life-threatening is it? Secondly, after giving a couple of options, the book finally says “just hold on to the camel and wait until it gets tired”. I didn’t need a book to figure that out. Anywoo, back to my post…
I’ve wanted to get a book published for a long time, but thinking how ephemeral and wasteful consumer goods are, I’m thinking I should keep on making my limited edition books. If anything, I’ll make the editions smaller and more expensive. I know that’s a counter intuitive decision considering the last few fests I sold practically nothing. But I figure that a more expensive item won’t end up in the trash as quickly. And believe it or not, $40 for a handmade silkscreen book of 24 pages and 6 colors is actually very cheap. I’ve priced it cheap because I wanted to keep it affordable for anyone, but I’m thinking now that approach is only feasible with mass produced goods. Also, most people don’t understand why my books are more expensive than the stuff at Barnes and Nobles, so what’s the point of trying to sell to them? I don’t think I’ve gained from the approach of making my art affordable. In fact, if I actually took a moment to add up the lab fees and money spent on art supplies, I’ve probably lost money. I don’t actually want to confirm this, because that’s just going to depress me at this point
So here’s what I’m getting at: prepare for a price hike in my online shop in one week. Speaking of online shops, I was getting frustrated with my woocommerce plugin not working, so I set up a shop on big cartel. It’s only got three items right now for two reasons. Reason number one is obvious: the shop is free to maintain if it has less than 5 items (After spending two years on Etsy and making just two sales, I’m wary of the monthly fees associated with hosting a shop) Secondly, the three items in the store are what I’m willing to sell right now. I will rotate these products with others instead of having everything available at the same time. I realize this is an awful approach to take for an online store, but since there’s only so many things I can make by myself, that’s the best solution for me. Online sales have always been very minimal , so I don’t think this is going to make things “worse”