Flipping Books

I have a new hobby. And a new second job. They’re one and the same.

I picked up a second job in March 2014, to make ends meet, and to pay off loans faster. It was a fine job, and I like and respect the company I worked for. I would go back and work that job if I felt I needed to.

In September 2015, I started reading Caleb Roth’s blog on flipping books. After reading a few posts, I sent him a message:

“I’ve been skimming your blog and wanted to ask you a question. I currently work a second job about 10 hours a week and net about 5-6k yearly. Based on what you know of the market in the Warsaw area, do you think it would be possible to match or beat that in the same hours per week?”

His response was “Definitely.” We met up in October, and he showed me that not only could I match my second job’s salary in the first year, but in the second year, I would significantly surpass it.

I’m now officially 3 months into flipping books. as a little side business, and I’m happy with how it’s going. I consider attending a book sale to be a bit of an adventure. The very first sale I hit, I got 2 sets of books worth $250, and I got several books worth $60-$80.

Now, these numbers are teasers, I’ll admit to that. My average sale price is right about $20, and I only get about $5-7 on a $20 book. However, considering I usually pay 50 cents to 2 dollars per book, that’s a pretty good return!

If you want to get into book flipping, I’ll leave it up to Caleb to teach you. However, before you hop over to his blog, let me try to scare you off first:

-Be prepared to spend several hundred in “startup money”, just to get the business off the ground. I think, as far as buy-in, that’s not bad at all. A scanner runs $100-$300, and is a very good first buy. An app for your smartphone runs $10/month.
-With that in mind, it takes a few months for the business to make a return on the investment.
-You should have a decent back. My back is merely OK, and I feel it after 4 hours scanning books at a library sale.
-You must have a mentor. Caleb is guiding me through this process, and without him, I would be up a crick without a paddle.

I’m hopeful for a day I could maybe be my own boss and flip books full-time. Or maybe just cut back at my day job.





noun: leadership

the action of leading a group of people or an organization.


What is our culture’s obsession with leadership? You drive by billboards and hear about seminars and books are sold– all about leadership. The push for selling leadership is ubiquitous. You hear about it in church, at work, in the home, and at school.

Does anybody talk about followership?

More importantly, can we understand what it means to be a leader, without understanding what it means to be a follower? Have we taken any time at all to understand what it means to be led?

Oh sure, sometimes, in Christian circles, we talk about servanthood. And that’s more than close enough to what I’m talking about. However, I feel like half the time, we end up talking about “servant leaders”. Because we can’t stop trying to push “leadership”.

Please don’t get me wrong– we need strong teachings on leadership. However, I am increasingly noticing a dearth of teaching and interest in being a follower and a servant. And I think it’s having a deleterious effect on our quality of leadership. I had a boss once who was great in one specific area. But he wasn’t good at managing his people– or at least, not me. His competency in his specialty did not translate to management capabilities.

Here’s my hypotheses:

  • There are three categories of workers: leader, follower, and independent.
    • Everybody, in their job, probably exhibits at least a little bit of each.
  • Your understanding of leadership cannot be kept abstract from an equal understanding of followership. In other words, you cannot ignore followership, believing that it will teach you nothing about leadership.
  • You cannot understand leadership for all areas and competencies.
  • Good leadership may not look like what you expect.
  • Leadership is not being a good independent worker. Taking charge of your own stuff does not make you a good leader.
  • Being a leader is rarely optimal.

Abandon the “isms” of politics. Be responsible.

I find I don’t agree with any political party any more. I think I’m hardly alone.

Democrats have a little better idea of the problems in poverty, something that’s hitting me hard at the moment. But I’m also very pro-life, which brings me closer to the Republican party.

I used to think of myself as a libertarian, or at least mostly libertarian. But lately I’ve found I don’t fit that either– it’s just a little too close to anarchist ideals for my comfort.

I’ve come to realize my political ideas are actually the same as so many people: Just be responsible. Be a mature adult, understand what social responsibility means, don’t trample on other people, do to others what you’d want them to do to you.

I mean, how hard can it be? (Cue Top Gear theme song.)

What Should Be the Final Argument About a Living Wage

And it is: People need a living wage because people need to live.

Seriously, as I’ve been thinking about it, I’ve come to realize the fundamental arguments for a living wage are pro-life arguments.

I find it amazing that the two US political parties seem to flip-flop on this issue. The one that was pro-life isn’t, and the one that wasn’t pro-life now is. Just another reason I argue for taking a different route.

Any road, the way I see it, the question of wages shouldn’t be one where the government has to step in. Are you an employer? Is your employee still dependent on his parents? If so, pay him any wage you’ve agreed on. If not, s/he needs a living wage. It’s that simple.

Small Victories

Today is a day to rejoice. In a small way. Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the financial difficulties we were experiencing. It didn’t help that my wife and I had to move this past month. We were blessed with someone who stepped up and said “Here’s the money you will need to cover rent and security deposit; pay us back when you can.”

Thanks to those generous people, I’m happy to say, for the first month since last June, we were in the black for April. It wasn’t much at all, less than $50, but it’s a victory, and I’ll take it.

(To those who might say it “doesn’t count” because it’s a loan: the money allowed us to basically ignore one month’s extraordinary expense.)