Friday, July 13, 2007

4 Hour Work Week for Booksellers?

Can you imagine jetting off to Europe for a few months with no interruption in your bookstore's cash flow? Timothy Ferris's new book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, attempts to make you think about just that.

Call it extreme outsourcing, if you will. Online bookselling would not seem to lend itself to outsourcing. There's Fulfillment by Amazon, of course. This program allows sellers to ship their entire inventory to an Amazon facility and Amazon processes and ships the orders. I have yet to hear of a seller who actually uses this service, however.

If your life depended on your bookstore functioning in your absence for three months what would you do? This is the question Ferriss tells readers to ask themselves whenever they think something is impossible.

Ferriss does an excellent job of describing how to set up a business and then eventually remove yourself from the picture. For the employees out there he gives advice about how to arrange a telecommuting situation with your employer.

Ferriss also gives good practical tips for handling business e-mail and a bookseller would do well to heed them.

He goes on at some length about mini-retirements vs. vacations. A person should have several mini-retirements per year (i.e. spending several weeks in a foreign city learning something new) rather than saving it all for the last 20 years of your life, he says. A nice concept but maybe some of us are content with stability and, say, spending time at a cottage a few hours from home - or even staying home - rather than constantly traveling the world. Not surprisingly, Ferriss is single and 29-years-old.

Even if this book does not appeal to you, treat yourself to the My Outsourced Life essay by A. J. Jacobs, an editor at Esquire. Outsourcing to India never sounded so good.
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Anonymous Bookshop Blog said...

Book selling in my absence has a simple solution, employees do the job. The problem is that our shop is in Montreal and the wages we must pay to attract good help would sink our ship. I must run the business myself in order to keep expenses down. The one nice thing I see happening in the future that would be difficult with a 9 - 5 job is that we should be able to close down for 1 month per year for a nice trip somewhere, but that's still a few years away.

5:24 PM  

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