It’s Time to Talk About that Pile of Shame

Without wanting to be a Debbie Downer on your recent-and-hopefully-delightful vacation, many of you are facing a cost of living crisis. I had a reader email me and say (I paraphrase), “I’m not going to start reading your Tyche series because it’s just so many books and I can’t afford that.”

Ignoring the inherent logical pitfall here (where, if you’re going to pay for something, there’s no pro or con to standalone vs. series – i.e., the price is the same for either a) a trilogy or b) three standalones), it does shine a light on where people are at emotionally.

People are feeling fairly fucked by the economy. There may be a way to survive 2024 with more of your dollars intact, though.

Ownership can create an emotional attachment and increase the perceived value of something (the endowment effect). And if we see something that’s cheap or free, we might want to get that thing! But as time goes on, the novelty wears off. You might not feel compelled to actually use or read what you’ve acquired.

It’s why your Kindle is stuffed with dollar books you’ve never read 🤣

I’m calling 2024, “The Year of the Backlog.” It’s the year we can all dig into our libraries and start/finish those things that looked like hot sauce when we first saw them. What if you made a conscious choice to only buy after you’ve exhausted the things you own?

  1. If you’re a gamer, you’ve probably got a shit-tonne of games you got on sale and never played. 2024 is that rainy day you’ve been waiting for.
  2. Boxed sets of movies and shows? Now’s the time to think long and hard about whether you really need the subs to Netflix, Disney, and HBO at the same time. Consider ditching the subscriptions, and watching the stuff you bought. Or, re-watching. It’s never a bad time to start that 349th go around on Firefly.
  3. And back to books, my word. I mined the Humble Bundle deals I bought just in 2023 and I have enough reading to last until the end of time.

I hope you consider joining me. Those things you bought? They’re still awesome, even though the shine’s become a little hidden by dust.

(And if you really must have something new? Consider Libby, where your taxes have already done the purchasing work for you).


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