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White Unicorn Books

Welcome to White Unicorn Books used book store. Please take a moment to look around our site for used & out-of-print books, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Arkham, and books in literature, classics, history, travel, fiction, mystery, thrillers, nonfiction, politics, religion, spirituality, art books, and much more. We upload books daily so check back often

On these pages I've written about Medicard Part D, about searching for information on a book on Google and at the Library of Congress, reviewed several books, and talked about the IOBA. No telling what will show up here. I'm sure we'll duplicate information on the rest of the site, but a lot of it will be unique. Hope you find it of interest.

PLEASE, if you find a mistake on our site, notify us at info@whiteunicornbooks.com. We invite and appreciate your                        

Oh yeah, remember that repeat customers receive a 10% discount when they order on our site. Thanks for looking -
    De
    White Unicorn Books

BTW: Would you like to send us to a friend? Then
       

Nov 26, 2007

Something I didn't know. There is a lot of history in the US Supreme Court Opinions. We had a book we were researching the other day which was printed by the War Department in, I believe, 1917. I knew the War Department name had been changed to the Department of Defense in the not too distant past [I'm probably showing my age a little here], but I wasn't really sure of the dates. Well, what is Google for if not to search for answers to questions like these. So I searched for
             "ordnance department" "war department" "department of defense"
(the Ordance Department was also related). I saw a "Supreme Court No. 2000-164-A ..." link which looked interesting, so I clicked on that (actually a left click and open in a new tab in Firef)ox) and started reading. That's one of my problems when I go wandering about - I get distracted with other interesting information. This particular Supreme Court Opinion was on a question relating to the retirement of a major in the National Guard and the definition of “staff corps and departments". In case anyone is interested, the Opinion concludes "In conclusion, we find that the term 'staff corps and departments' is a vestigial term that cannot fairly be construed to have any meaning in modern military organization or application to presently commissioned officers. ..."

What has all of this to do with the history of the War Department? Well, apparently when the Supreme Court (or at least this particular Supreme Court Judge) renders an Opinion (note the capital O), they cover everything related to the case for A to Izzard. In this decision we have a brief history of the National Guard/War Department/Department of Defense from colonial times to December, 2001 [the date of the Opinion]. President Theodore, in 1901, proposed that the organization of the National Guard be "identical to that of the War Department (now the Department of the Army)". We also find out the at the time the War Department became to the Department of the Army that "the armed forces were reorganized into a centralized body under the Department of Defense similar to its present structure". Well so much for what I knew. Yes the War Department was the precursor to what is now the Department of Defense, but the actual War Department became the Department of the Army. So the next time you need to find out a little bit of history, you just might look in the Supreme Court Opinions.


>> 'til next time - DW <<

Nov 15, 2007

The winners of the National Book Awards have been announced. The fiction prize went to Denis Johnson’s Vietnam War novel Tree of Smoke, published by FSG. The non-fiction award went to the Tim Weiner’s report on the American intelligence policy, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Doubleday. The Young People’s Literature Award was won by Sherman Alexie for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, published by Little, Brown. Read more at National Book Award.

Other major book awards include

We would like to see your .

>> 'til next time - DW <<

Nov 07, 2007

[[Image curtosy of My Wings Books - click to enlarge] A question which comes up every once in a while is "Should uncut pages be cut?". Discussions abound and so do answers. Two interesting sites are Conservation OnLine where you can find a discussion by book conservation professionals and the example at My Wings Books where they present the generally accepted term unopened rather than what I have heard mostly used by non-book professionals. Other terms and images are presented there also so give them a look see. If you decide to open your uncut pages, there is an accepted way to do it. Although the method varies a little, the following is part of the the thread referenced above at Conservation Online:
We've found the best tool for opening unopened leaves is a plain old catalog card (or any stiff card of that weight and thickness). Card and book are held flat, and the card moved in a gentle sawing motion from the foot of the book to the top, inside to outside, gradually opening the connected leaves. The card is just stiffer than the book paper so does the job, but is not sharp like a knife, which easily can slice paper where one does not want it sliced.

Wayne Hammond
Chapin Library, Williams College


Doesn't a catalog card leave the pages rough along the cut? There are such things as paper knives, made especially for slitting the pages of uncut books. Work it just like you describe using the "card", except keep the sawing motion to a minimum and more draw the knife from the inside of the fold to the outside, thus cutting it clean and without a jagged edge (if properly done). Such knive can be purchased through book binder's outlets, such as TALAS or Bookbinder's Warehouse (or you used to be able to, I haven't seen their most recent catalogs).

Eric Alstrom
Special Collections Library, University of Michigan


You don't need to log in to .


>> 'til next time - DW <<

Oct 22, 2007

Is the internet going to take over the world? Probably, but not in the fashion you (nor I) think. For one think, the death of the book business has been knelled many times and the internet is one of the latest which has done so. In fact, so much so that publishers have really been worried about the book business going out of business. For proof that it 'taint see last Fridays article from Reuters: Surprise! Internet actually a boon for books.

BTW: did you notice that new "link" up top and in the (somewhat) weekly postings? You can now comment on what you see here or actually post about anything you want. The new comment capability is from Haloscan

We would like to see your .


>> 'til next time - DW <<

Oct 15, 2007

ISBN's and Amazons search function. First of all, what are ISBN's? Well, actually you probably know, but just in case: They are a 10 or 13 digit book identification number that is used in almost all search systems when searching for a book. Unfortunately, too many are not unique.

So, what has this to do with the Amazon search function where you can get a single hit covering the same edition but different printings and other times only get a single Binding Unknown hit.

Well the Binding Unknown listings sometimes comes about because some publishers use the same ISBN for both a hardcover and a paperback although, according to everything I could find out, they are not supposed to do so. Should this be the case? After all, Amazon and their Pro Merchants have the capability to create a listing page using the Amazon identification number (ASIN's and BASIN's) so they could distinguish between the hardcover and paperback. There are discussions on Amazon about this and thought flows both ways. Some think you should just include details of hardcover or paperback in your description, others would like to see a totally different page for each.

And the same ISBN's for different printings? That's because most publishers use the same ISBN for the same edition and different printings. Once again, though runs both ways about this problem of identifying a unique book via an ISBN. I would rather see a different page for each printing but others feel differently. They think few people really care about the printing, they just want a particular edition. And for those who do care about different printings, the dealer puts the printing in the description.

We would like to see your .


>> 'til next time - DW <<

Oct 08, 2007

The latest go around from ABE is the new "Bookseller Rating" system. You can get several takes on the new system in the IOBA article by Stuart Manley - The ABE Bookseller Ratings Deception, the comments by Michael Lieberman in the Book Patrol blog and by David Brass in his David Brass Rare Books blog. What does ABE think of the reaction to the ratings. Well, if you accept the fact that booksellers are invariably book buyers, then to slightly paraphrase Shaun Jamieson, who signs himself "Manager, Sales & Account Management; [e]sjamieson@abebooks.com; www.abebooks.com" they found that some customers interpret the meaning of the term ‘Bookseller Rating’ as referring specifically to how reputable a seller is.

And they continue to use the term?

For those sites I know about I agree with Stuart Manley's ratings presented in the following table:
two stars ABE (Advanced Book Exchange)
two stars Alibris
one star Amazon
three stars Biblio
three stars Choosebooks / ZVAB
one star eBay
five stars IBookNet (Independent Booksellers' Network)
five stars ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers
five stars IOBA (Independent Online Booksellers Association)
five stars PBFA (Provincial Book Fairs Association)
five stars TomFolio
fiv stars UKBookWorld


Key:
five stars No commission charges and strong quality rules
four stars Low commission charges and strong quality rules
three stars Medium commission charges and strong quality rules
two stars High commission charges and variable quality rules
one star High commission charges and weak quality rules



>> 'til next time - DW <<

August 19, 2007

I don't know how many of you have visited the 3 A's (Amazon, ABE, and Alibris) or other book listing sites. Nor, if you have, have compared prices between, for example, ABE and White Unicorn Books for the White Unicorn Books Inventory or for that matter, between ABE and xyc corp and the xyz corp inventory. For quite a few cases you will find that xyz corp charges more on ABE than on its own site. Why is this? If you question the booksellers, you'll get roughly the same answer. ABE charges more than is reasonable for listing on their site. We also feel this way.

Stuart Manley of Barter Books, one of the largest secondhand bookshops in Britain, has talked about this in a variety of venues and wrote about A Strategy for Independent Booksellers in 2004 when ABE first started charging a commission. Now being a large book store with many employees to pay, Stuart has to sell quite a few books a day to stay in business. Paying that extra 8% of ABE sales to ABE as well as the monthly fee took quite a bite out of Barter Books Income - I would expect at least a couple of thousand pounds a month. Now it is a fact of business that costs are passed on to the customers. Part of the costs may be absorbed for a while but eventually if enough of the cost aren't recover, you go out of business. The "fair way" to pass these types of costs on to the customers is to pass them on to the ABE customers and that is what Stuart and other dealers (including White Unicorn Books) do. Not that all of the independent bookdealers raise their prices the same amounts - it would be almost impossible to get all them to agree on what is reasonable. For example, Stuart think charging commissions is wrong [I haven't directly asked him this question, but reading his article above and others in the IOBA and elsewhere I definately get this feeling]. I think commissions are o.k. but should be limited. Thus I would think Barter Books would tend to raise prices on any site which charges a commission. We raise prices on a site if the cost of doing business goes over a certain percent. Our method requires a lot more analysis fo reach site and, due to our size, is a lot easier to accomplish than for someone like Barter Books. If we ever grow up to be that size, we'll probably just adopt the simplier approach also.


>> 'til next time - DW <<

August 13, 2007

Books have become expensive. We know this and try to keep our prices down some here on our own site and other places we list which don't charge us "a lot" for listing our books. But even then, just shipping charges can add quite a bit to the cost of a single book. If you are after books to just read, you might use our advanced search to search for some of our bargin books. This is generally several books together which are offered at a discounted combined price because they are just books to read. That doesn't mean that they are necessarily that the condition is a Reading Copy - it could mean that there were just to many books for sale at such a cheap price that they wern't worth listing by themselves. Typically there would be no extra shipping charge for two paperbacks, but if they are a think ones there might be an extra $0.50 charge for the second paperback book . $3.00 charge for paperbacks As a couple of examples here are two listings [which may have already been sold]
Hogan, James P. Voyage From Yesteryear; Endgame Enigma (2 Books) NY 0345294726 / 9780345294722 Paperback Poor Illustrated by Darrell K Sweet, Tony Randazzo Reading copies. Reading creases. Just a bit of wear at edges. Solid, Clean. Read and re-read with many readings left. Yesteryear, 377 pages; Endgame, 436 pages. Great reading! Price: 3.00 USD
or
Landis, Arthur H. Home - To Avalon; A World Called Camelot (2 books) NY Daw 1982 0879977787 / 9780879977788 First Printing Paperback Very Good+ Illustrated by Kelly, Ken W. 223 pages; Very Good Plus condition. Light reading creases. Just a bit of rub to cover. Solid, clean. Avalon the Forbidden World was the only Terra-type planet ever to be discovered. But when the scattered remnants of Earth's people sought to migrate there, superstitution and politics blocked them. Daw Books Original No 505; A World Called Camelot, DAW UE1418, ISBN: 0879974184. Great Reading. Price: 4.00 USD


>> 'til next time - DW <<

August 6, 2007

By now, everyone should know we are in Texas. Like most Texans, we are proud of our state and enjoy reading about its history. Well, I ran across My Texas the other day. This is a set of pages which is a "digital gateway to Texas History at the University of Texas at Austin". It contains "... Texas history stories written by people just like you." and I found it fascinating to browse around and look at some of the Texas history. You can search/browse by category, including Texas Families, Famous Texans, Urban Texas, Small-Town Texas, and many more, or by title (too numerous to mention).

The latest one I've read is Granny and Her Girls which starts out "My Granny, Ida Augusta Hawkins Coney, was a small woman with many talents and an unusual amount of energy." It goes on to talk about Granny milking the cows, planting the garden, canning the vegtables and fruits and doing other things needing doing on a farm.

Some of the stories are well written and others somewhat amateurish but I've found them all (at least the ones I've read) interesting and fun to read. I think you will too.


>> 'til next time - DW <<

July 30, 2007

I drop in on quite a few on-line forums almost every day. Mostly to see what is going on and possibly answer a question or two. I may also read several blogs (I'm pretty sure I've mentioned my favorite blog Bibliophile Bullpen). So I don't know where I picked up the following tip on The Online Book Pages. Edited by John Mark Ockerbloom the page says it contains "Listing over 25,000 free books on the Web". You can search/browse the listings via New Listings, Authors, Titles, Subjects, Serials. There is even an Individual Submissions Form available and plans for bulk-loading whole collections. The new books for July 19, 2007 contain such diverse books as The Preventive Obstacle, or, Conjugal Onanism: The Dangers and Inconveniences to the Individual, to the Family, and to Society, of Frauds in the Accomplishment of the Generative Functions (New York: Turner and Mignard, 1870), by Louis François Étienne Bergeret, trans. by P. de Marmon (page images at Google; US access only) to The Statesmen of France, and the English Alliance (London: John Ollivier, 1847), by David Urquhart (page images at Google). Enjoy!

Speaking of free books on the web, one can't go without mentioning Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books, or eBooks. Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, invented eBooks in 1971 and continues to inspire the creation of eBooks and related technologies today. Numbers vary but I seem to remember seeing something like over 170 000 free ebooks have been created. BTW, the Project Gutenberg Science Fiction CD is out.


>> 'til next time - DW <<

July 24, 2007

I was making my wife and I a sandwich the other day (yes, I do too help around the house every once in a while) and noticed that there was a partial loaf of bread left. Well my wife, as usual, hadn't used the top crust off the loaf and the bottom crust was there too, so I just natuarlly used those two pieces for my sandwich and the other two, without any more than the usual crust around the outside, for her sandwich.

Now normally, back some twenty or thirty years ago, I would have made my wife's sandwitch out of the two crusts. Having said this, I can just hear some people yelling "That's a terrible thing to do, always giving her the crust" and just as quickly I can hear another group reply to that first bunch "Why! What do you mean, the crust is the best part of the bread". This actually happened to me although that first bunch was an individual and the second was my mom and myself. It reminds me of several other peculuarities I've seen in my life. I even once knew a man who thought the chicken neck was the best part of the chicken, God rest his soul.

So, anytime someone "gives you the crust of bread", don't automatically think that they think less of you - they may just be giving you the best piece. Oh, and you people who, like me long ago, give up that crust automatically because you like someone, maybe you should check that that someone really thinks the crust is best. As strange as it seems, there really are people out there who don't prefer the crust.


>> 'til next time - DW <<

July 16, 2007

I wrote an article a while back on Setting Up Your Own Internet Book Store and in that was a list of some database software for keeping track of book inventory. I had a question about that today and though I would update the list I have there.

Before we present some of the database programs out there, lets talk about what I consider the main difference between a library/collector inventory management program and a book sellers inventory management program. That difference is the automatic marking of items as they are changed and creating an "update list". You mark a book sold, or change the price, or correct spelling in the description, or add a new book, or ... When you click on "finished updating this book" in the booksellers program a flag is automatically set which marks that book as changed/added/deleted and adds it to a list to be exported to a "file" as an update record. When you "create the update file" (by clicking on a button or whatever), this list is automatically processed and the file is created. Without this one feature, you will have to manually go through your records, create this list and then prepare a "changed records" file. This can be a time consuming job. So when I say library/collector program below, what I mean is that it doesn't have the capability to make that update file automatically.

Since I started this project, I've found that the list of programs has become quite a bit longer than I initially though. Because I think people will be interested in either a "bookdealers program" or a "library/collectors" program, I've decided to break the list into two parts. The third part of the list ("I don't know what category" part) goes under the Library/Collector list. Of course a bookdealers program can be used as a library/collector program. Some have both versions and they will be included under the bookdealers list, not both.
Bookdealers Programs
  • Book'em Developed by The Old Library Shop for on-line and in store with the additional POS module. Standard Version sells for $49.95, the POS version (the Standard version with the POS module) for $149.95. Free Demo.

  • Bookhound Both a Mac and Windows version. Price: $300, Support Package $175. Free Demo and free trial version.

  • BookStacks. Macintosh only. Collector version $95, Book Dealers version $195.

  • Booktrakker. Exellent program, extremely flexible, free trial. Note that we currently use Booktrakker as our main database program. Basic ($125), Pro ($250), Network ($500). CD $10. Excellent FREE support. A library/collector version is available for free.

  • Homebase Provided for free by the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE). An adequate program which we currently use for auxiliary entry for transfer to BookTrakker. When we first started in the on-line bookselling business, we used it as our main database program.

  • Prager Software. $29, CD $12.50. Full featured program but requires installation of two (free) Microsoft programs. FREE e-mail support and program upgrades. 30 day free trial. Free library/collectors version available.

Library/Collectory Programs
  • BookCAT Library/collector program with HTML page generator. Shareware - $39.95

  • Book Collector What it says. For the collector, even the Pro version is really a library/collector program with a few extras not in the standard version. Price: $24.95 ($39.95 Pro), Support (by e-mail for 1 year) $9.95. Advertises Windows or Mac.

  • BookMaster. Appears to be more for libraries/collectors. BookMaster Plus is a complete library system: catalogue, search and loans while BookMaster Light has catalogue and search only. BookMaster (prices in pounds Sterling) Plus £120, Light £50, Manual £12, Additional single-user licence £30. Free trial download.

  • DV Book Manager DV Book Manager is distributed as Shareware. Its license costs only $30.

  • My Book Collector Library/collector software, Windows or Mac. Comes with MySignature Collection and the tutorial "Book Collecting for Beginners" by Marc Slott. $24.95

  • ReaderWare. More for library/collector. Windows, Mac, Linux, and other operating systems. Free Trial. Standard Edition $40, Palm Edition $50, Client/Server Edition $90. Also offers a Music and a Video inventory program with substantial discounts if obtaining all three.

Mentioned around the web but gone missing (at least for me): Bookcase, BookEase, Book Lister, BookMate, Bookminder, Customer Base. I'm sure I haven't covered all of the Library/Collector book databases but I'm going to leave that to a page of its own. As a "short post on ramblings", this piece has gotten to long.

Please note, prices and links were when I last checked (typically around the date of this blurb). I would appreciate it if you notified me if there were a dead or incorrect link.

Just found this link for some database programs. Didn't check to see if I had all of the dealers software but know that EclectiCity has more programs listed for the library/collector.


>> 'til next time - DW <<

July 9, 2007

It's strange but there seems to be a rash of questions about database software for book sellers. Well, I had written something about that in the Setting Up Your Own Internet Book Store article I wrote for the IOBA Standard some time back. I still only have part of it written, so it won't go up this week. Hopefully it will be ready by next week. If it gets too much longer I just might make a it a page of its own.

It's been awhile, actually May of last year, since I wrote about
LibraryThing. There are over Sixteen million (16 000 000) books now. To sign up for a personal account on LibraryThing, go to the home page [click on that LibraryThing link just above this] and enter a user name and a password in the green box. You're done! Well that is until you get up to 200 books. After that personal accounts cost $10 for a year or $25 for a lifetime. The cost is a bit steeper for organizational accounts but still a bargin.

It seems to me that they have added several things such as Groups on LibraryThing and Talk topics. A good place to check out.


>> 'til next time - DW <<

July 3, 2007

There are quite a few of the "same" books out there less expensive than some of ours. Same title, author, publisher, publication date, etc. but we sell our book and the "penny book" remains unsold. Why? We think it has a whole lot to do with our descriptions. When you look at a book we have listed you generally have a very good idea of all of its faults. I say generally because we do list some of our less expensive books with a somewhat scant description. For example "Reading copy. Read & Reread with many readings left. Complete & intact. Time's Dark Laughter... The creature's life threatened the world -- but it's death would upset the universe. 318 Pages" for a $3 paperback. That's about the cheapest you'll find a book on our site [and even then the price is from some time ago]. However, I think you get the idea from the description that that the book is beat up but you can still read the complete story.

As I said, you'll generally know all of the faults of one of our books by reading the description. One reason for doing this is that in an on-line bookstore, one can't see, touch, or smell the book they are interested in at that moment so we think a dealer should describe the book to try to give the (potential) customer a better feeling about the book. Do we always succeed? I doubt it. But hopefully we always describe them enough so that if they are really interested in buying the book they will email us for other information. BTW: remember that you can always return a book for any reason and, if we have misdescribed it, we will pay shipping both ways. Payment for returned books is after we receive the book back in the original condition.


>> 'til next time - DW <<

June 27, 2007

Today I found out about the closing of Hertiage Book Shop. Sort of a sad thing, but then again not really as it wasn't one of those cases where they are being forced out of business. Rather it was a case of being too succesful and receiving an offer they couldn't refuse. The building has been sold and their inventory of around $10 million has been sold to an as-yet-undisclosed auction house. They have a page on site where they discuss their history which makes for interesting reading. You might want to read it before it disappears

>> 'til next time - DW <<

June 18, 2007

How about another publishing company. Well no, not a new publishing company, but rather another company spin off. This one is Orbit Books USA. They are part of the Hachette Book Group USA which was created when Hachette Livre acquired Time Warner Book Group from Time Warner in 2006. But that's o.k., whether it is a spin off company from another book group or a brand new company, we always welcome a new publishing company, especially one that is going to specialize in Science Fiction and Fantasy. AND, this one is offering a free book a month for 12 months (US residents only, see site for details).

Of course there will be the backlist from Time Warner but there will be new books too. Like the new Dante Valentine novels, the first of which is The Devil's Right Hand. The two previous novels, Working For The Devil and Dead Man Rising, will be repackaged and The Devil's Right Hand will be released in September to be followed by two more new novels - Saint City Sinners in November and To Hell and Back in January 2008.

See the Orbit site for more new forthcoming books.


>> 'til next time - DW <<

June 11, 2007

Strange things seem to happen when we get involved with our electric company. The latest is that we had a power line down - possibly taken out by the trash people like it was before when they decided to ignore the electric meter which was in their way, but that's another story. About last Wednesday (June 6), we noticed that the electic line to the garage apartment was down so my wife called the electric company. Well all we could find was an 800 number so we used that. The person we talked to seem concerned, as we were, that a live electric wire might be down in the ally which children regulary used but he couldn't seem to get ahold of someone local to report the problem to. Joan left him to it and we didn't think too much more about it. But the next day we noticed the wire was still down. Was it live? We sure weren't going to grab ahold of it to find out. Anyway back to the phone. Friday it was still down and just lying in the alley as it had been for the last several days. Back to the phone with a conversation something like

   Joan: I called before about thepower line being down in the alley and it's still down.
   E.Co: A power line is down in the alley?
   Joan: Yes and I'm very concerned because children use the ally to walk through and the wire may be live.
   E.Co: The power line may be live?
   Joan: Yes. I reported it two days ago and then again yesterday and nothing has been done about it.
   E.Co: You reported it before?
   Joan: Yes. Could you please get someone out here to take care of it.
   E.Co: What is your account number?
   Joan: (gives account number)
   E.Co: We should be able to have someone out there is several days.
   Joan: The wire is just laying in the alley and someone could be hurt.
   Joan: Also, the power line is for our garage apartment and we don't have any power.
   E.Co: You didn't say that before.
   Joan: I was more concerned some children might be hurt by the downed power line.
   E.Co: We'll try to have someone out there right away to restore your power.

So, i guess the moral of the story is to always let the electric company know they are losing money because you don't have power. They could give a _hit about the children being hurt - they don't add to the bottom line.

PS They were out within 4 hours to restore power.


>> 'til next time - DW <<

June 04, 2007

We have a new search box for searching some of our friends books. You can find it on our Links page of just use one of the forms below.

The Bibliophile Mailing List is maintained for the benefit of sellers and/or collectors of rare, out-of-print, scarce books in all subject areas. Subscribers include librarians, students, scholars, and book lovers of all kinds. The Bibliophile search searches those booksellers who belong to the Bibliophile Mailing List and have joined the search group.

Chrislands provides an easy and affordable solution to operating an online bookstore. The Chrislands search searches those Chrislands bookstores who have joined the search group.
Bibliophile Bookseller Search

Chrislands Bookseller Search



>> 'til next time - DW <<

May 29, 2007

We list on sites other than just our own web site. I was looking around on one of them today and came across their list of author bio's. Now some of them are fairly short, but at least there is enough information there to give you a small flavor of the author. Check it out at Author Biographies on biblio.com. The have 328 author biographies and bibliographies (and are adding more all the time) to aid you in finding the books you are looking for.

Speaking of authors, have you looked at our Author Pages and Links. It has been a while since we've added to the page, but we are still adding to it. If you have any suggestions for additions let us know.


>> 'til next time - DW <<

May 15, 2007

You've seen me rant and rave before about how I feel that many merchants are being ripped off by the credit card companies although we have never been hit with any kind of problem [possibly because we don't keep any kind of credit card information on site after the credit card is charged for the order]. Well I still feel that way, but the latest round of LARGE security breaches certainly doesn't endear one particular merchant to me. One of the boards I belong to had a post today with a site (etiolated consumer\citizen) which had some interesting information. The site shows that there has been over 200 million consumers affected by credit card/personal information "incidences" from 2004 to the present. In fact the present (estimated) rate is over 5 Records Lost/Stolen every second.

That's enough to make some people feel very unsecure about ordering on-line. But if you take one simple precaution, you should be able to order on line safely. That is, make sure that your credit card and personal information is entered on a secure site. You can tell that the site is secure by the small lock in the bottom corner of your browser window.

BTW: If you still don't want to give out your personal details for an order on our site, you can always call it in at 214-948-1835. Please remember, we are on US Central time. For those of you who would like to fax an order our fax number is 214 946 1683 [please include your e-mail address or phone number]


>> 'til next time - DW <<

January 06, 2007

Ok people, it been a time. Not that I haven't had anything to write about, I've had a ton of stuff. It's just that I can't seem to get into the mood to write for this page. Have I written otherwise? You bet. Answering questions on boards I read, bitching about the new postage rates which are proposed, etc. Maybe if I got a comment every once in a while I might do better. But then maybe that's why I haven't received comments - no one is interested.

Lately my wife (Joan) and I have been talking about getting a new car or maybe I should say a different car. I've tried to convince her that 125 000 miles is not the end all of cars but she doesn't agree. Even Robert, who is a professional truck driver, can't convince her that we have several more years use out of the car (actually an Explorer SUV). Now we need something like a SUV for the cargo space and the protection on the highways (at least we think so). So what should we get. I would really like to get one of the smaller Hybrid SUV's like the Ford Escape but I ask myself is it worth it? A hybrid costs maybe $5000 more than the non-hybrid but you get some of that back in a tax break if you act soon enough (but see Consumers Steamed about “bait and switch” Hybrid Tax credit) So what do you really get and how long does it take you to get your money back?

The following table shows the number of months it takes to make back the extra money you had to pay for your hybrid. The columns going across show the increasing cost you have to pay for a hybrid. The rows are for a fixed cost of gasoline. NOTE: You will also have to replace your batteries every so often and this $2000 more or less cost is not included The assumptions are (1)you average 23 miles per gallon in the normal auto and 31 mpg for the hybrid, and (2) you drive 15000 miles a year. If you drive more it will take you less time to break even, if the average miles per gallon is less it will take you longer to break even. For example, assume you pay an extra $4000 for the hybrid, you get a $2000 tax credit and you pay an average of $2.30 for a gallon of gas. Look in the column under the $2000 [$4000 - $2000] and in the row across from $2.30. These intersect at the number 62. It would take you 62 months (a little over 5 years) to pay off the extra $2000 you spent for the hybrid. After that you would start to save money.

So, is it worth it?

Additional Cost For Hybrid

$500

$1,000

$1,500

$2,000

$2,500

$3,000

$3,500

$4,000

Cost of Gasoline

$1.90

18.8

37.5

56.3

75.1

93.8

112.6

131.3

150.1

$2.00

17.8

35.7

53.5

71.3

89.1

107.0

124.8

142.6

$2.10

17.0

34.0

50.9

67.9

84.9

101.9

118.8

135.8

$2.20

16.2

32.4

48.6

64.8

81.0

97.2

113.4

129.6

$2.30

15.5

31.0

46.5

62.0

77.5

93.0

108.5

124.0

$2.40

14.9

29.7

44.6

59.4

74.3

89.1

104.0

118.8

$2.50

14.3

28.5

42.8

57.0

71.3

85.6

99.8

114.1

$2.60

13.7

27.4

41.1

54.8

68.6

82.3

96.0

109.7

$2.70

13.2

26.4

39.6

52.8

66.0

79.2

92.4

105.6

$2.80

12.7

25.5

38.2

50.9

63.7

76.4

89.1

101.9

$2.90

12.3

24.6

36.9

49.2

61.5

73.8

86.1

98.3

$3.00

11.9

23.8

35.7

47.5

59.4

71.3

83.2

95.1



>> 'til next time - DW <<
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