Am I a Thief or an Entrepreneur?
As some of you know, I’m itching for a new computer and I’ve set out to do it without spending a single cent of my own money. That means I’m saving up all the money from my alternative income and I’m also selling things I don’t need anymore.
That means selling some books. Which is going pretty well, I might add. But the other day something happened and I started to wonder if maybe I’m going too far.
I live in a high rise, and in the laundry room there’s a little shelf with a whole bunch of books that people leave there for other residents to “enjoy.” (some of you probably know where this is going)
Anyway, since I’m on a mission to scratch together $1,000 for a new PC, the other day I walked in there and instead of seeing books I saw dollar signs: most of the books are crap: David Baldacci books that go for 30 cents on Amazon. But others are hardcover, first-editions worth around $20. So I grabbed a few and took them with me, all the while looking over my shoulder wondering if this would qualify as “enjoying” or not.
The books in the laundry room are meant to be used like an informal library, although I’m sure most people just leave books down there that they don’t want to throw away (that’s what I keep telling myself, anyway). Instead of chucking them, they’d rather have other people give them a go.
And a “go” is what I’m giving them.
Part of me wonders if this is OK or not. I mean, I’ve seen books show up down there and a week later they are gone, never to reappear again. So someone has either done what I’m doing (I’m always late to the party) or they’ve just taken the book and made it their own—keeping it, lending it away, giving it away, etc.
The entrepreneurial part of me thinks I should set up a formal system for people to bring down ALL the books they don’t want anymore. I’ll do the selling for them and then I can figure out a portion of the profits to give back to people—almost like my own little business. This would be a lot of work though. And when the current system is working out so well, why change anything?
So far I haven’t sold any of the books I nabbed from the laundry room/book depository, but I know I can’t have a sidewalk sale around this neighborhood because it has the potential to upset the people who left their books down there. And the potential for hilarity to ensue.
Have I gone too far in my mad quest for a new computer or is this totally acceptable? I’m curious to hear what other people have to say about this. Do you think I should formally start a service to get people to actively give me their books (it’s a big building) and make even more money that way?
There is a follow-up post that clarifies some of the details of this post and addresses some of the comments people have left behind here.