Posts Tagged ‘Michael Koh’

Books: On Selling and Borrowing

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

College savings are important. Just this month, I had to pack all of my books along with my essential goodies into a car and drive it almost 400 miles only to take the boxes back out and lug them into my parents’ house. It cost a pretty penny. The books are still unpacked and I don’t have space to store them anywhere. This got me thinking: why don’t I start selling on Amazon again?

While living in an apartment in Western New York, I sold books and video games, but mostly books. I made a nice chunk of change selling them, and got rid of things that I had no use for. Of course, I had to invest about $20-$30 to start in order to buy a nice Sharpie and bubble mailers in which to safely mail books, DVDs, CDs, and games. Towards the end, I got a bit lazy and decided to remove all of my listings on Amazon. This time, however, I plan to start up again.

Selling items online is a great way to make extra money and lighten your load. It is not as time consuming as people think it is. All you need is about 25 minutes (or less, depending on how many items you are going to sell) to punch in the ISBN numbers and the UPC code and just set a price that you are willing to sell the item at. You don’t want the selling price to be too low, because you won’t make profit. Try to avoid selling items at 99¢. Only large-scale sellers can afford to do that. You might reason that Amazon gives you $3.99 for shipping and handling, but they take a percentage of that and you have to mail the item too—out of your pocket. That’s not worth the money and time for you. I try for items that sell for $3.99 and up. Try to sell your books during back-to-school seasons. Prices skyrocket during these times. It’s actually pretty crazy. I have a book that I bought for $4.99 + S/H three years ago that is now sold on Amazon for $50.99. I don’t get it, but that’s $46 profit in my pocket.

Also, go to book sales if you want to make this a money-making hobby. I bought a fairly large amount of books at $1 each and profited off of them. I’ve found out (although it may be common sense) that older books can make more money, especially if they are OOP, or out-of-print. Some can go for as high as $250 if they are in great condition. Can you imagine paying over $200 for a paperback?

When you mail items like books, especially if they are large like chemistry textbooks, or textbooks in general, send them via Media Mail. It’s the cheapest way to send heavy books to your customer. Don’t bother with First Class or Priority unless the customer has paid the extra for faster delivery. Of course, there are instances where First Class is cheaper than Media Mail. Just ask the teller at your Post Office and they will tell you.

Now, what am I going to do when I have no books to sell? What am I going to do when I want to read books? Lucky for me, I live near a library. It was just this summer that I’ve come to understand how useful libraries are. I can order books—if the local library doesn’t have it—through the library system, and other libraries within that branch will send the books to the closest library to you for pick up, and best of all, it’s free. Well, not exactly free, but you don’t pay for the books, right? You can borrow as many books as you want as long as you have a library card.

I’m not sure about other libraries, but for the library I frequent, you have to show a proof of residence to that particular area. Just show a utility bill or your driver’s license and you should be able to sign up for a card fairly easily.

I can spend all day in a library. It’s a luxury that I can afford—because it’s free. Of course, university libraries are far more extensive, but I can’t complain—well, sometimes I do.

Owning books, of course, has its perks. There’s no due date, you can write in them, and you can take it out of your bookshelf and leaf through the pages for that certain paragraph or sentence at any time. But they do take up space, especially if you move around a lot. However, I don’t plan on selling all of my books. There are a couple that I will hold on to for a long time, if not, forever. These books represent my thoughts and ideas. These books have been read over and over again. Unfortunately, there are books that I do not have time for and have no interest in reading that have found themselves in my possession that I let go with a heavy heart.

Sold some books, did you? Treat yourself and a friend to some delicious Thai food at Reserve!

Michael Koh. Read my blog!!  Follow me on Twitter!

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On Watching the Olympics

Monday, July 30th, 2012

The opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics was held on Friday, June 27th across the pond in London. I, along with billions of people from around the world, witnessed a bizarre spectacle of British history (mostly all happy stuff, no Spanish Armada destroying the British fleet, or the British invading India). It ranged from coal miners emerging from a cave(?) and then moved on to Mary Poppins and a parody of James Bond. The ending, I thought was quite spectacular, considering that London seemed to embrace the dubstep/grime culture that’s been so central to their youth. The social media thing was clever in a way that did not alienate the majority of viewers—except for men and women hailing from certain countries that limit freedom.

Since the opening ceremony, I (like many others) have been keeping an eye on medal counts, and I felt that there was something a bit amiss between the initial celebrations and the celebrations on the podium.

I took a look at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the current medal standings at London. The New York Times actually has a pretty cool interactive map of the medal winners from previous Olympics that, interestingly, lists the countries by number of medals won, not by the number of gold medals won (which would have put China in first place, not the United States).

Here are the current top 10 medal-winning countries from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London:

Here are the top 10 medal-winning countries from the 2008 Summer Olympics:

…and the 2008 interactive map provided by the New York Times:

Do you see a difference? There are obviously countries that consistently dominate in the Olympics. Although it’s still very early in the Olympics 2012, by an extrapolation of data from previous Olympics, it’s pretty clear which nations will be  in the top 10 at the end of the Olympic games.

Here are the top 10 countries from the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens:

…and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney:

Interesting, isn’t it?

How about one more, from the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta:

Time and time again, you see the same countries place in the top 10. Obviously, the United States hasn’t placed lower than No. 2, and I guarantee that this summer, the US will place first or second (probably second) with China.

But, this isn’t a medals race, no way. The media might focus on the medal count—I mean, we’re all suckers for high numbers—but really, this is a celebration of the achievements these athletes have accomplished.

This is a celebration of the world.

The Olympic Committee has a commission called “The Commission for Culture and Olympic Education” for support and promotion of health, peace, and a better world through cultural exchanges and recognizing cultural diversity.

The Olympic games moved from a competition to an exhibition, successfully incorporating the elements of the arts into the mix. It embraced the presentation of culture through the subjective, the incorporeal attitudes of certain cultures depicted only though the means of sculptures or paintings.

In its very essence, with countries showcasing their best athletes, the participants of the Olympic games are not only competing against one another, they’ve become participants of a global museum; that is, the best athletes are watched and scrutinized and admired, not just as men and women with incredible athleticism, but as part of the cultural exhibit put on show for the world. The athletes become, basically works of art, rather, “sculpture-esque,” and are canonized into the halls of the Olympians.

Read my blog and check out my Twitter!

Click here to download the Campus Clipper iTunes App!

Follow Campus Clipper on Twitter or keep current by liking us onFacebook.

Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions  and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book.