Aztext Press

Life Off-the-Grid

Best Book Shopping Day Ever!

By Cam Mather

Michelle and I love books! Yes, we publish them, but we loved them long before we became publishers. Our living room gets smaller and smaller as we add bookshelves. We purchase most of our books from used bookstores and other thrift stores.  Our favorite places to buy books right now are the Salvation Army bookstores and the Missions for Bibles store. We used to be Value Village shoppers but everyone else has discovered Value Village and so it is always busy and they keep raising the price of their used books. I think their hardcovers are up to $5 each now. The Salvation Army Thrift Store sometimes has hardcovers for $1, and never more than $2. Recently we happened to be there on a day that they had boxes of books on sale, four for $1. I was amazed at the amount of reading material that Michelle got for very little money!

As lame as this sounds, a while back I blogged about how I’d seen the book “The Ascent of Money” by Naill Ferguson. I’d been wanting to read that book but for some reason, I didn’t buy it. It was $3 and it was just too much. Well, it seemed like too much at the time. It was gardening season and so I wasn’t reading much and I just thought I was unlikely to read it so I shouldn’t spend the money. But as soon as I left the store I started to have second thoughts. By the time I got home I was angry with myself for not buying it. And over the course of the next week or so I kept thinking about the nature of money in our society. It’s so tenuous. We put all this value in this useless little piece of paper. And it continues to have value as long as we all continue to play along in this emperor has no clothes game of confidence. But what happens if people clue into the fact that it’s just a piece of paper?

Suddenly I wanted to try and better understand the nature of money and this sounded like the perfect book to help me. But we didn’t get back to Kingston for a couple of weeks and by the time we went back to that store it was gone. It was gone! Well of course it was gone, it was a great book and why the heck didn’t I just buy it when I saw it? I felt that time would never heal the sense of loss I have for not buying that book that fateful day.

Until last week! We hit the first Salvation Army store and found a few books. Then we decided to visit the one in the north end of town. It is smaller and in a rougher part of town, but we hadn’t been in a while. It turned out that the streets around it were all torn up with construction and there were a lot of those “ROAD CLOSED” signs with big “DO NOT ENTER” signs all over the place. But we threw caution to the wind, called ourselves “Local Traffic” and went for it.

And that’s when I found it! “The Big Short.” And it was $2.00! For a hardcover! I was hoping my “scream like a girl” shriek of glee was in my inside voice, because if it was my outside voice they’d have asked me to leave the store. This book was all the buzz last Christmas and everyone wanted it. That was like 9 months ago. It spent 28 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. And here it was for $2! Who gives away “The Big Short” 9 months after they bought it? I don’t know, but I’m glad they did. I was giddy.

“The Big Short” is about the market collapse in 2008. “Shorting” is where you basically bet that a stock or market will go down. Most people buy stocks with the hope they will go up, but you can short a stock if you think it will go down, and there were lots of shenanigans leading up to the market crash of 2008 and this book talks about them. And it was written by Michael Lewis who also wrote “The Blind Side.” Apparently his gig is writing books with three word titles starting with “The,” but it seems to be working for him. We’ll have to think about this with our next book.

After I found my $2 Big Short book and was on a crack-like high in the Salvation Army store I also found a $2 copy of “Your Money or Your Life.” This is a book that I read almost 20 years ago that helped us to change our relationship with money. It got us off the spending bandwagon and into saving mode. And it’s one of the tools we used to help us pay off our mortgage and buy this place in paradise. I still have my copy but I thought I’d buy this second anyway and share it a blog reader.

So here’s my offer. The next person who orders my book “Thriving During Challenging Times” from our website will also get this free copy of “Your Money or Your Life.” Yes, it’s used but it’s in great shape. I talk about it briefly in my book, and so now you’ll have the whole book to read too.

Michelle immediately said “Well that’s not fair to people who read the blog later in the day?” So the next 10 people that respond will receive a free copy of our book “$mart Power.” I also talk about all the things in “$mart Power” from an energy perspective. The cheapest energy is always the energy you save, so this book will help you expand on the general concept I provide about the reasons to make your home more efficient and possibly start generating some of your own energy.

Our website doesn’t have a function for you to communicate this special offer with us, so send Michelle an email to michelle at aztext dot com and let her know you’re ordering “Thriving During Challenging Times” from our website (  and would like the free copy of “Your Money or Your Life.” Even if you’re not the first person to order, the next 10 people will get a free copy of “$mart Power.”

And for all the readers of this blog who are happy to point out my hypocrisies, I’ll beat you to the punch. Yes, in my book I suggest that one of the keys to financial independence is to stop buying “stuff” that don’t help you achieve that goal. Well first off, I believe these books will help you on that path. And second, the one exception to that rule is buying used books for $2 each or less. I make an exception for that.


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