Our Packaged Life

Recently I have been noticing how much packaging we throw away. Although we do recycle paper packaging through our furnace / free-standing wood burner, we still have to throw away a lot of plastic packaging.

Now I know that we could be shopping in the bulk-buy shops or aisles of our supermarket, but when you need to exclude food additives, you really need the packets for the fine print. And for many people with allergies and specific preferences (just try being a vegetarian or vegan) you need to know what sneaky little chemicals or food additives are present in your supermarket purchases.

Governments are insisting that information such as Best Before dates and ingredients listed in their relative amounts are clearly stated on labels. Manufacturers can’t even hide behind a label like ‘tomato sauce’ without revealing what went into making that tomato sauce. Great for the discerning shopper, but inevitably foods are being packaged more and more into plastic or tinfoil.

Then I started thinking about other ways our life choices are being packaged for us. Take Amazon, for instance. Great store and I buy from it often using Amazon recommendations. These recommendations have nothing to do with what is quality writing but are based on topics we have already purchased and what other purchasers, who also purchased the same recent book, then chose to purchase. As we purchase Amazon’s recommended books we add to the likelihood that those books will also be recommended to others who will do the same as us.

Note that the recommendations are based on purchases, NOT on reviews of quality. The most popular books become those that have the best marketers behind them – the ones whose digital ‘dust covers’ sell the book in the most compelling way. Although Amazon does allow readers to write a review of books they purchase, a book could ostensibly become popular without a single review, especially Kindle books that don’t have hard copies in conventional shops.

Come to think of it, traditional books ride on marketing too. I remember receiving books and videos to review when I working as a journalist. We reviewed them, however, prior to being released on the unsuspecting public.

Amazon’s system is ‘packaging’ of a different kind without the detail required of food packaging – no health warnings required. You just get to read what everyone else is reading and you’re unlikely to ever come across well-written books that are not so vigorously marketed and are therefore less likely to come before a mass Kindle market.  A Kindle book is cheap. If you don’t like it, the book sits on your Kindle device or on your Kindle Cloud until you decide to delete it. And you (well … I) don’t feel as bad as I would if I was throwing away a hard copy.

Independent (Indie) authors are forced to become marketers and learn how to package our own books. We cannot leave ‘our publishers’ to handle all the ‘packaging’ and get on with the next book. So book plug, dear readers: Take a look at my own offering: Real Estate Rollercoaster in which I trace our ups and downs in the real estate world and share what we learned (often the hard way) about buying, building and selling real estate. I also talk about the emotions that may beset a first time buyer or investor, and that could get in the way of making could real estate decisions.