Think of buying a book at a discount? Beside Amazon, where else can you try to explore?
As one book store after another faces the fate of being closed down, a traditional book store is hard to locate in town nowadays. Today, I was lucky enough to walk into a plaza and saw a sign of "Half Price Books
." It is a new store just got opened recently that I had not noticed before. I ditched the furniture store that I was planning to go. Instead, I followed my instinct and walked into this book store. I couldn't believe my eyes. I saw a wide range of books, LP, CD, audio books on the shelf.
Half Price Book display
Everything I saw was at least half-priced off the original. Many of them are in used condition but are still in very good condition. Some are even brand new ones in perfect shape but at a deep discounted price. I was totally looking at the array of book display from a customer's perspective, as a reader, and a buyer.
Shortly after I entered the store while I was still browsing through rows of book shelves, I noticed someone who just entered the store with handful of books asking to sell to the store. Later I found out from cashier that she's here to sell her used books to the store and that's how the store source the book to sell to customers like me and others. Any one can be a buyer and also be a seller. What a brilliant, environmental friendly idea it is!
To put the store under real test. My wife looked for travel books that she'd love to go to Europe some time. We ended up with buying four brand new books for a bit over $25.
4 travel books for $25
As we were walking pass the kids section to leave the store, a group of little kids and parents were enjoying some precious time together with help from the store staff. That was definitely a scene resembles many years ago when Barnes & Noble was still around in town we bought our kids in to enjoy story times.
One more thing that impressed me is the LP records they stock in the store that can't be found else where. Don't even know what an LP is? Click here
HPB (Half Price Books) has just opened a new store in Fremont, CA. They are many other book store locations across the nation. The book store is definitely worth your visit and every store is different as each sources from its local community.
If you're a book lover and would like to enjoy in-store browsing and great book deals, we encourage you to find a store location near you here
. For online shoppers, try their online book marketplace at hpbmarketplace.com
where you'll see titles from 20,000+ sellers around the world.
Half Book Price store locations
I drive about 50 miles a day to work and back, round trip. Since I drive a lot, last year, I bought a Prius using a couple useful websites and steps
. I mentioned how to get the most mileage of your car
in a previous post. Today I'd like to share with you my best way of finding the cheapest gas that goes with your car with a combustion engine.
It's not too hard to find the cheapest gas in your area with Internet at your fingertip. For example, websites like GasBuddy
simply shows you gas prices given a zip code. It's cool, it's convenient, but it could be better. How can it be easier?
Imagine you will be on a route and on the way you'd like to re-fuel your car. Don't you want to know whereabout is the best to make a stop at a gas station? FuelMyRoute
can help. Instead of assuming you know the location around which you'd search for gas, FuelMyRoute helps you look for the cheapest gas price along a specified route with a start point and end point. It'll search for gas stations along your route for you within proximity.
Once searched, you'll easily see the lowest, average, highest gasoline price along with your driving direction. The lowest price is visualized on a map of driving direction as seen above. To give it a try you may go visit FuelMyRoute.com
and see for yourself.
FuelMyRoute was created by Marcus Christie
who thought of this idea in 2008 when he was planning a family vacation to Disney World in Orlando, FL.. Yesterday, I caught Marcus via email and asked him what's on his mind to make his free service even better. Apparently he's working on an Andoid version of the service these days. Here's what he said:
"Currently I'm working on an Android app that will provide the same functionality as the website. I don't have any near term plans for improving the website, except that some of the things that I am planning on doing for the Android app will likely also benefit the website. For example, I'm planning on some performance improvements that will also benefit the website and I'm also looking into increasing the amount and quality of gas price data I have to search over."
---by Charles Gwa
As more and more software moves to the cloud there are still software images that requires installation on your personal computer. For those kind of software titles, Giveawayoftheday.com
is a website that nominates one software title a day to be a Giveaway title of that day. Totally free to you!
Every day, one software title is available for download for 24 hours (or more, if agreed with software publisher) and that software is absolutely free. Such a free software title is not a strip down trial version, nor is limited in functions in any way, but a registered, licensed and legal version of the software is completely free for users to keep and use, which sounds too good to be true.
Take today as an example, the following software title is the free giveaway of today that we dynamically pulled from Giveawayoftheday.com. Check this out:
What if you missed the free offer? Well, as far as we know, once the giveaway for a software product is over, they will continue to promote the software title with discounted purchase links or coupon so you can get some discount off the title. You can sure take your time to read through software reviews after the giveaway day for the given software product. It's a win-win situation for both software users and software publishers to promote their software.
For other discounted software offers, please see INAB software deals
---by Charles Gwa
Higher education should not be a privilege only to those who can afford to pay. Who can't use some free courses? These free courses are not some basic courses at the elementary or middle school level. They are high quality courses from the top universities, for free. Yes, you read me right, FREE!
Founded in 2011 by two Standford professors - Andrew Ng
and Daphne Koller
is based in Mountain View California. Coursera.org hosts professor-created courses and lectures from many top universities include Princeton University, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and University of Pennsylvania. A couple of years from now these free high quality university-level courses may become a norm, but right now, Coursera.org is changing the face of education so you can learn at your own pace and work on your own schedule over the Internet.
Here's a partial list of courses currently available through Coursera in 6 major categories:
The course offerings by Coursera span a broad range of more advanced topics than those offered by Khan Academy
(also a great online free education source), and the number of courses offered are growing too. If you can't find the course you'd like to take, you can sign up to be notified when there are more offerings.
While I direct my kids to try out Khan Academy, I'm all in for trying out some courses on Coursera.
---by Charles Gwa
The state I live in - California - is averaging the highest gas price per gallon in the continental U.S. these days, according to the Gas Price Chart available on GasBuddy.com
where you can check out the average gas of your area down to the county level. As the price at the gas pump rises steadily exceeding $4.25 per gallon in my area as of May 2012, I'm all into knowing ways to save money on gas.
There are some general ways to save on gas usage - by driving less or carpooling more, whenever possible. To drive less, try to combine multiple grocery trips into one with better grocery shopping planning ahead so you don't waste gas by doing more in a single trip. When you carpool with someone else, you're also saving gas on a per person basis.
If you absolutely need to drive a car, consider to review your driving habit (I know it's kind of very hard) as it will affect your gas mileage per gallon. The optimized speed for the maximized highway MGP depends on the model of your car. However, in general, if you're on a highway going over speed limit, you're absolutely not getting the best MPG and may be off by five percentage, ten percentage, or even more. It might be too trivial to remember the exact speed to drive for getting the best MPG, but if you can reduce aggressive speeding and don't drive over highway speed limit, which you shouldn't anyway, you'll be stretching your gas mileage in the right direction.
If you tend to do brisk acceleration, stop doing that. Some people say you may be able save a gallon of gas a week by not doing rapid acceleration on the road. A test
shows the difference in fuel consumption between slow acceleration and brisk acceleration may not be that much unless you're driving a hybrid, but avoid the possibility that you will need to brake does help a lot in terms of saving gas.
Remember to keep tires properly inflated. If tires are under inflated, they may cost you up to 4% of fuel efficiency
according to U.S. Department of Energy. On the other hand, over inflated tires may increase blow out risks. You want your tire pressure to just about the manufacture's suggested PSI (pound per square inch) which is available on the sticker on the driver's door side. I recommend using a non-digital air pressure gauge (e.g. a Handheld Dial Tire Air Pressure Gauge) for measuring tire pressure. A non-digital air pressure gauge does not require battery thus it is always ready for measuring tire pressure when you need it. Besides, non-digital air pressure gauges tend to cost less than the digital ones. American Tire has an online Tire Pressure Gas Mileage calculator
that tells how much is low pressure tire costing you.w
Lastly, evan you can't possibly avoid using gas, consider this: When I pay at the pump, if I chose to pay with a credit card, I always opt for using the card that gives me some money back on gas purchase. For example, the AE card I have gives me 3% cash rebate on every dollar I spend at any gas pump. You may consider the same approach because every little bit of saving counts.
---by Charles Gwa
(MUO) is one of my favorite sources for knowing cool websites and tips. Recently, it rolled out a new monthly column on games. Every month, they said they'll be featuring some best free iPad
games. The first month they featured games in the puzzle category - Arcs Free
, Blocks Free
, Clockwork Brain
, Doodle Fit Lite
, Moonlight Mahjong Lite
, and my favorite Cut the Rope
It is important to exercise your brain once in a while and have some fun at the same time. Check out MakeUseOf's free iPad games puzzle 2012 Feb edition
This month marks my first anniversary of owning a Prius HB II that I bought for $22,188 (before tax). If I were to do it again this year, I'd follow a simple three-stops (2 online and 1 offline) shopping process:
- Go to TRUECar.com for a price reference.
- Sign up to CarWoo.com to get three or more real offers a day. Pick one.
- Go to the dealer to complete the transaction and drive away with the car.
I concluded that my last year's car hunting ended with high satisfaction, measured by how little time I wasted in negotiations and other nonsense. In my case, that year-ago car buying experience wasted record-low time in my entire car-shopping experiences that I can recall, and beat my expectation of the time it took to close the deal. In fact, I spent more time in the final paperwork process (in which I had to deny all the warranty up-sale as usual) than spending on confirming the offered car price. It took me one and a half hours on the closing paperwork; before that, I spent half an hour on confirming the pre-agreed non-negotiable price and checking out the car.
In the simple three-stops process I outlined, the first step of visiting TRUECar.com is not necessary, but just for reassurance for a later time that you'll be given a price range that is reasonable. TRUECar.com gives you a clear idea of how much the car you're interested should be priced in your local region, which is usually lower than the invoice. According to TRUECar.com, if I were offered $22,555 on a Prius II, the price would be reasonably acceptable.
The second step is to head to CarWoo.com, and sign up for their online service to get quote by email from dealers. I was a bit skeptical at first about this service that I had never used and never heard of before. I signed up anyway. After telling CarWoo the specific car I was seriously interested in buying, within 24 hours, in my case, I got more than 3 offers via emails from local dealers. Among them, I chose the lowest offered price which also happenned to be near my work place.
KZ, the salesman, set up a time with me to pay him and the car a visit. Upon arriving to the dealership, I checked the car that he had pulled out from their fleet and set aside for me to inspect, re-iterated the offered price, but I told him I'd be back the next day to complete the transaction. You don't want to rush through as if it was too smooth to be true. However, the very next day I was even more sure about the offer and we completed the transaction in a 2 hours time frame.
You are probably not aware that the car price of the same car of the same dealer may vary depending which representative you work with. The sales representative may belong to a dealer's traditional sales department, fleet department, or newly established internet department. It is the person in the internet department who may potentially offer you the best offer at the dealership. Using CarWoo helps you to reach out to those representatives dedicated in the internet channel. Or more precisely speaking, they can now reach out to you.
---by Charles Gwa
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