Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Recession Buying

by Sariah S. Wilson

My youngest brother got his mission call last night. I said he was going Spanish-speaking, and guessed South America. My mom's been praying and praying for stateside, because she was horribly anxious the entire time one of my other brothers was in Russia (and got even more upset when he got home and found out how much he watered down his letters about the regular dangers he'd faced).

So he opened it and said he'd been the Utah Salt Lake City mission.

Cue everyone's open mouths and wide eyes.

Finally I said, "Are you serious?"

Not that there's anything wrong with being called to that mission, it's just that my brothers are definite pranksters and everyone in the room thought he was kidding. (To validate that claim - when he called one of my sisters in Utah and told her, her response was, "Really?" "Yes, really." "Really really? Because you don't sound like you're being serious about it." "Really really. I'm being serious.")

He announced that he would be Spanish-speaking (woo-hoo on me guessing right!). Everyone told him that it was the highest baptizing mission (seriously, everyone told him that. Every person he talked to on the phone at different times told him that).

We're wondering at this point whether or not he'll be staying in that mission though. His serious girlfriend lives in Ohio, but goes to school at BYU. My parents are planning on moving to Utah at the end of the summer to the Salt Lake area. Almost all of my entire maternal extended family already lives in SLC, as does one of my brothers and two of my sisters (with the rest to join them shortly when my parents move). One of my brothers who was bounced around to different mission areas (he was in Brazil, seriously hurt his back, came home to recover, got sent back out to Utah and then was put in Texas) got transferred from the Utah mission because his girlfriend lived in his area. So we'll see whether or not it ends up staying Salt Lake City.

(I do have to say that it was a very "Singles Ward" "I'm going to BOISE, IDAHO! WOO-HOO!" moment. Someone even asked him if he needed a map. LOL)

I'm thinking I asked this question before, but as I am too tired and/or too lazy to look back at my old posts, I'm wondering how the recession has affected your book-buying dollars.

I've found that for myself I've become very controlling over all of my money output. I'm not as good at it as I need to be, but I am really trying and hope to continue improving. Unfortunately, one of the things I've had to let up on is my expensive book habit.

My last book didn't do as well as anyone had hoped (not me, not the publisher, not my brother that I owe a lot of money to), and it didn't help matters to read the comments on Josi Kilpack's post on what LDS authors make on their royalty checks and apparently the only person not making more money than me is Rob Wells.

So rather than blame myself for not having enough writing talent, I have decided to blame the recession. I'm sure people want to buy my books but just can't afford them right now. That's okay - I know you'll be back in full force once things pick up again. Right?

How is your spending being affected these days? Experts always say that book sales actually go up as a cheaper and alternative form of entertainment, but I'm wondering whether or not that's true. Tell us whether or not things have changed for you.


At 5/16/2009 11:34 PM, Anonymous Michael said...

Maybe the harlequin romance period at Deseret Book is finally coming to a close. With all due respect Sister Wilson I don't think it is the recession that has put a damper on LDS book sales. I think that DB has driven almost everyone away with the overly feminized selection of gifts, the use of the scriptures as raw material for feminized romance, and the totally girlie depictions of our Saviour in print. We have tilted the pendulum entirely to one side.

At 5/17/2009 1:37 AM, Blogger J Scott Savage said...


I served in the SLC Utah mission about twenty years ago. He will love it. He will spend lots of time teaching and giving talks, firesides, etc.

Don't plan on him changing missions though. I had a friend who got called to the SLC, Temple Square Mission. He was from Japan, but had lived in Utah for five years, had family and a girlfriend only minutes away.

He contacted the Bretheren and was immediately told, "This is not a mistake." It's where Heavenly Father needs you.

Great mission!

At 5/17/2009 6:43 AM, Anonymous Floyd the Wonderdog said...

My buddy in High School was called to the SLC mission when it was first openned. There hadn't even been a formal announcement by the Brethren yet. The bishop drove over to the guy's house to confirm for himself that the call was really to SLC. He served at BYU for a while when his girlfriend was going there. They kept the mission rules and avoided seeing eachother.

At 5/17/2009 7:35 AM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

Congratulations on the mission call, Brother of Sariah! :-)

When it comes to books, my buying habits have changed. I recently joined an online bookswap, where I trade a lot of books. I've gotten to read many things that aren't available in my local library, for instance. When I do buy books, I also look first at amazon marketplace to see if there's a cheap used copy on offer. I'm also changing my priorities. For Valentine's Day, for instance, I told my husband to save the money he'd spend on flowers and buy me a small bouquet of books instead.

On the one hand, I delight in saving money, but on the other hand, I do feel slightly guilty that I'm not supporting authors and bookstores as much as I'd like to. I have to admit, though, that our financial situation is not as bad as that of others, so I can still afford new books on special occasions, such as birthdays or Christmas, and that does assuage some of that guilt. But just a tiny bit.

At 5/17/2009 9:10 AM, Blogger Liana Brooks said...

I admit, I'm really not trying new books. And I tend to shop used bookstores first. I know that's not fair to authors. But when the main bookstores don't stock the books and are charging to order the book in why would I pay $10 for a paperback I can get used for 75 cents?

Used books and library rejects are my go-to buying preferences. I won't even go after a new book unless I'm already reading the series. With the one exception of the book I won in a raffle. It was book 3 of the series and so I bought book 1 and 2 with a gift card someone gave me.

At 5/17/2009 10:51 AM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

From what I understand, the SLC mission isn't actually the highest-baptizing mission. It's one of the highest in the US, but some of the South/Central American missions easily beat it.

At 5/17/2009 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband served in the SLC Mission. He loved it. At that time it was the highest Engish speaking bapizing mission.
Congrats to your brother.

I'm pretty picky about what books I buy. I've been disapointed with too many of my LDS author book purchases, so I'm pretty cautious when it comes to buying them.

Karen- a reader

At 5/17/2009 11:50 AM, Blogger J Scott Savage said...

Rob is right. At least when I was there, The SLC North MIssion was the highest baptizing English speaking mission. At the time, it included everything from 45th South in Salt Lake up to Preston Idaho, and parts of Wyoming, including Temple Square. Now it is smaller and I believe Temple Square is its own mission.

At 5/17/2009 12:19 PM, Blogger Sandra said...

My brother served in this mission while I was at BYU. I rarely saw him. Even after I was married and he lived in my ward. It encompases so much more than SLC.

As for books, I am so glad that I live in Utah so I can go to the library. But after I have read the book if I love it, I budget it into my spending and then buy it.

At 5/17/2009 1:14 PM, Blogger LexiconLuvr said...

I suppose I'm frivolous but my book-buying seems to be just as steady as it ever was. Books have always been my main form of entertainment (and I re-read them all the time) so buying them is almost as natural as buying groceries. I actually think that my book-buying has increased recently because of the networking I've been involved with. As I meet these new, wonderful people and hear about their books, I want to support them and find out what their stories are like. I probably ought to cut back on the spending but it is one of those rare things I allow myself. Or maybe my husband just spoils me. =]

Congrats to lil' bro on the mish call!!

At 5/18/2009 4:18 PM, Blogger Shirley Bahlmann said...

What an interesting, thought provoking post! I'm a library lover, always have been. In fact, I work there! What a delicious job, yet difficult when I see how many books I want to read! I own a few books, but they're mostly classics, like Sherlock Holmes. I wouldn't say that the economy has changed my book-buying habits. I will say, though, since someone else already mentioned it, that I don't really care for romance. (I tried to write one once, but my publisher said I'd come up with an adventure that had a thread of romance... kind of like Julie Bellon's recent post about hiking, you know, ADVENTURE!)
As to interesting mission calls, the brother and sister in a family in our ward were called to the same mission within a week of each other, then the sister's call was changed a couple of weeks after that.

At 5/18/2009 6:27 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

My husband went to Boise on his mission (he grew up in Utah, but was living in Minnesota at the time of his call). He loved Boise and ended up returning and doing a stint at Ricks college.

In Utah, he'll love being a missionary. He'll probably have a free meal every night from a ward member and will constantly get waved and honked at while tracting.

My book buying habits only slow when there's nothing I want to read. I bought 5 books on Saturday--all must-reads in my mind. Most were by LDS authors as well:
Tristi Pinkston's "Agent in Old Lace", Jessica Day George's "Dragon Spear", Carol Lynch William's "The Chosen One", Jamie Ford's debut book "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet", and The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas. I do reserve a lot of books from the library as well, but that's just because I don't want to go completely broke. Since I'm a writer, I believe 100% in supporting my industry. So every person on my birthday-buying list always gets a book. I bought Annette Lyon's "Tower of Strength" for my mom for mother's day and "When Hearts Conjoin" for my mother-in-law (by Erin Herrin & Lu Ann Staheli). Again, LDS authors :)

Sariah, I don't remember how long your book has been out, but it was a fun read!

At 5/27/2009 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believe me, it has nothing to do with your writing talent(which you have in spades). I have had to scale down my book purchasing to one every 8 months or so. Yes, it is actually painful. Things will pick up again though, and you (and I) will be grateful to see the brighter side of the recession.


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