Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More eBay Changes Part XV

These eBay posts are drawing in all the spammers, and I keep deleting their comments. On Saturday, someone posted three comments. One comment mentioned that we shouldn't list coats and jackets during the summer because they won't sell, and that we should use a certain website (link provided of course) to make listing tickets easier. Um, I don't sell coats, jackets, or tickets. Nice try, but the comments were only made in order to spam. I deleted all of them.

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I now have standard search exposure once again because, according to eBay, I have fewer than 10 DSR ratings for the last month. A couple of 30-day DSRs dropped off a few days ago, which is what switched me back to standard search exposure. I do not understand because I am sure that I have received a couple of DSRs in the last few days, so those should have taken the place of the ones that dropped off. I should still have enough 30-day DSRs to have my lowered search exposure.

I am now 100% certain that the DSRs are not accurate, particularly because other people are reporting similar problems. A recent post to the AuctionBytes blog has a screen capture of one seller's dashboard. The seller has the 15% discount that is given to powersellers who have higher than 4.8 on all four DSRs. Any seller who gets the 15% discount should qualify for raised search exposure. This seller has only standard search exposure. Huh? Something is wrong.

I had a lot of trouble with my computer on Sunday, and it froze four times during eBay searches. I had to restart the computer each time without shutting down properly because of how badly it was frozen. I did some troubleshooting, and it seems to be okay now. There are some reports on the message boards of eBay slowing down and freezing up computers. Way to go, eBay!

I have also read that new eBay seller IDs seem to get more bids than established IDs, and it has something to do with eBay's relationship with Google. This does not make sense, but when I next feel like listing some books (I have once again lost all motivation), I will most likely use my new ID just to see what happens. I have decided that it cannot hurt anything. Around half of the items I sold this weekend went to resellers. Hardly anyone else is buying from me, so I won't have much to lose.

The economy and the big mess with the proposed bank bailout plan are probably the most significant reasons why sales are down on eBay. Compounding the problem are eBay's ridiculous policy changes. It is amazing anybody is buying on eBay. I have noticed that I am losing interest in running searches for books. I am much more reluctant to buy large lots of books because I'm not sure anybody is going to want to buy the extras. I just totally gave away some extras because there was only one bid. Why should I buy when I cannot sell the extras or I have to sell them at a loss?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Kit Hunter Show Jumper Series

I have decided to read the Kit Hunter series—finally. I read the first book, Kit Hunter, Show Jumper, in The Wild One, around four years ago in order to determine whether I should build a set. I liked it a lot and did eventually purchase all twelve books. Once I completed my set of twelve books, I was busy reading other books and had never gotten around to reading the rest of the Kit Hunter books. I recently re-read the first book and just finished the second book. I have now started to read the third book.

The Kit Hunter Show Jumper series is a British series that was originally published in hardcover with dust jacket by World Distributors from 1959 through 1961. World Distributors also published the Sally Baxter Girl Reporter, Shirley Flight Air Hostess, and Sara Gay Model Girl series. I have read all of the Sally Baxter and Sara Gay books and enjoyed all of them greatly. I have read most of the Shirley Flight books and did not enjoy them quite as much, which is why I lost interest before reading the complete set. I must get back to Shirley Flight and finish reading the remaining titles.

Kit Hunter is an orphan whose mother recently passed away. I do not recall any mention of Kit's age, but I assume that she is an older teenager, probably around 16 to 18 years of age. As Kit grieves for her mother, she recalls the wonderful times she spent at Colonel Hamden's home, Moor Grange, when she was a young child. Kit writes to Colonel Hamden, who invites Kit to come stay with him.

Colonel Hamden's life was once saved by Kit's father, who was Colonel Hamden's commanding officer. Colonel Hamden feels indebted to Kit's father, which is why he is protective of Kit and invites her to come live with him. Kit refers to the Colonel as her adopted uncle.

In the first book, Kit arrives at Moor Grange to find it greatly changed. Moor Grange has fallen on hard times, and Colonel Hamden may have to sell out. Kit learns that Colonel Hamden had invested all of his money in South American horses and bred them with moorland ponies. The Colonel's scheme was nearly successful, but others sabotaged it. If Kit could find the one horse which was crossbred, she might be able to prove that the Colonel succeeded and turn his luck around.

The Colonel's secretary, Miss Ashford, despises Kit, who suspects that Miss Ashford wishes to marry Colonel Hamden. In time, Kit discovers that Miss Ashford has a particular plan in mind, and the first book centers around Kit's discovery of the scheme and her finding of Wild One, the one surviving crossbred horse.

In the second book, Kit travels to South America to try to find the person who sold Colonel Hamden his horses. It is a race against time, as another person wishes to prevent Kit from finding the dealer so that he can profit from the Colonel's ideas.

Both of the books that I have read so far have been very engaging. Sometimes I have trouble getting into books, and those are ones that I decide not to collect. These books are quite interesting. It is hard to say which series this one is the most like. The best I can do is compare what I have read so far to Trixie Belden, since Trixie and the Bob-Whites are always around horses, and Kit Hunter's main interest is horses. Also, Moor Grange is a rural setting similar to the setting of the Trixie Belden books. My opinion may shift once I read additional titles.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #15

Remember that you have to be very specific and spell out exactly what you need when you ask a seller a question. You have to tell the seller exactly where to look in words that he or she can understand. Here is an example:

NANCY DREW MYSTERY 1930 THE MYSTERY AT LILAC INN EXCELL Item #180286889981
Question: Hi. Could you please tell me the last nancy drew title on the inside jacket and on the internal list in the book itself? Also, if you could please describe the other authors listed on the jacket and the last titles? Thanks!

Answer: If I am looking at the right place is is THE MYSTERY OF THE IVORY CHARM.....FRONT FLAP THE CIRCLE OF FOOT PRINTS BACK FLAP... NOT TO SURE WHERE ELSE TO LOOK PLEASE TELL ME SO I HELP THANK YOU FOR ASKING
The seller did not quite understand the question, so the buyer did not get all of the desired information. Rather, the buyer should ask what the last title is in the list on the front flap of the dust jacket. Second, the buyer should ask what series is listed on the back flap of the dust jacket and for the last title listed. Third, the buyer should ask what series is listed on the back panel of the dust jacket and for the last title listed. The seller will most likely understand what the buyer means by front flap, back flap, and back panel.

Additionally, the buyer should tell the seller where to look inside the book. By just telling the seller to look "on the internal list in the book itself," the seller might find a list on the copyright page or in the post-text ads. Most likely, the seller will land on the copyright page, and the copyright page list, if present, is never accurate. It is better to ask the seller whether there are any post-text ad pages and then ask for the last title listed.

Friday, September 26, 2008

More eBay Changes Part XIV

In the mail on Monday, I received the eBay Power Up Pre-Holiday Sales Planner. Excellent! I knew I would find some good content to cover in this blog. It is full of information on how sellers can improve their DSRs and other such nonsense.

On page 2, eBay states that sellers should "remind buyers to give you 5-star ratings on each DSR if they're satisfied with the transaction, or to contact you if they are not satisfied." So, we have to beg for fives? I have already decided that directly asking for fives is a very bad idea.

On page S3, eBay gives us this piece of advice:
We love that you care passionately about your Feedback scores—they're important to your business. But we don't expect you to have 100% positive Feedback with 5-star ratings. In fact, less than 1% of sellers do.

Strive to deliver great listings and customer service. You don't have to be perfect to be great.
Under this statement is a picture of a smiling woman holding a card with a large 99.99% on it. EBay may not expect us to be 100% perfect, but they expect us to be 99.99% perfect. It is quite apparent that a 4.69 rating is considered horrible by the way eBay has it colored red in my seller dashboard.

On page S3 of Power Up, eBay has a section entitled, "How Do You Stack Up?" This section contains the following remarks:
If 4 stars mean "reasonable," is a 4.3 DSR bad? Buyers leave 5-star shipping and handling DSRs 73% of the time. A score of 4 is left 17% of the time. As a result, sellers with a score of 4.6 or higher are above average and get increased visibility in Best Match.
I noticed that eBay did not directly answer the question of whether a 4.3 DSR is bad. Reading between the lines, if only 17% of buyers leave 4-star ratings, I can conclude that a 4.3 is bad, and this is why eBay plans to block sellers who have a 4.3 average DSR.

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It does appear that my seller dashboard is broken. If my seller dashboard is not broken, then the information that eBay sent me in an email is bogus. I received the email version of Power Up this week. Here is a screen capture of what the message stated are my 30-day DSR ratings:


According to this message, my 30-day DSRs are all at 4.8 and 4.9. If these are my actual 30-day DSRs, then I should have raised search exposure. However, seller dashboard has me at 4.69, 4.49, 4.50, and 4.50 with lowered search exposure. The ratings seen above cannot be my one-year DSRs, either, because those are 4.9, 4.8, 4.8, and 4.8. Why the discrepancy? Why does eBay have so many glitches? Once the new policies take effect, some sellers may be blocked from selling who have good DSRs because of eBay's continual glitches.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Connie Blair's Colorful Clues Part II

I almost hate to admit it, but I find that I like The Mystery of the Ruby Queens the best of all of the books in the series. This distresses me a bit because it is the only Connie Blair book that Cavanna did not write. This book is set in an old house, and Connie must try to find the missing Ruby Queens, which are six priceless figurines. I always love mysteries that are set in old houses and that require the sleuth to search for something. The book is quite well-written.

My first and foremost thought is who wrote it? All we know is that Cavanna contracted to have someone else write it. Cavanna never revealed who that person was. We do know that Cavanna was reluctant to have everyone know that she did not write it. For a time during the 1980s, she had told at least one collector the truth but begged for silence. Later, Cavanna changed her mind and told a group of fans. After that gathering, it was common knowledge that Cavanna did not write the last Connie Blair book. From page 29 of Issue 31 of The Mystery and Adventure Series Review, Fred Woodworth tells the story:
In a 1984 issue of this magazine I published Don Holbrook's very favorable review of the Connie Blair series. After the piece was printed, I managed to locate the old author of the series and sent her a copy of the review. This resulted in some cordial correspondence, during the course of which she revealed—in strict confidence—that she had not written Ruby Queens herself, but had contracted with someone else to do so.

I'd have liked to bring this interesting tidbit to the attention of Review readers, but felt bound by my word that I would treat this fact as confidential. Imagine my surprise when, some months later, after I'd put that author in contact with some other fans of her books, she attended a convention of theirs as a featured speaker—and in her talk calmly announced the news that she had not written this story! The upshot was that other publications which had done nothing to review her work or even find out if she was still living, got to report this as if they'd run down the news themselves.
Now, back to my question of who wrote the last Connie Blair book? I kept this thought in mind as I read the book. I was struck by how good the book is. It was certainly not written by an amateur and must have been written by an established writer. It was written by someone who had read the early Connie Blair books and knew about the series. Was this person just an acquaintance of Cavanna, or was this person someone whose name we would recognize? I do have one name in mind. I'll explain further in my next post.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Connie Blair's Colorful Clues Part I

I recently revisited the Connie Blair books. In the past, I recall people stating that the first book, The Clue in Blue, is slow-paced. It does start out slowly, a little slower than I would prefer. The first two chapters read more like the usual young adult fare—probably because the author was Betty Cavanna. During the third chapter, Connie gets knocked out, so the action begins.

In the Connie Blair series, Connie is knocked unconscious many times. If someone were knocked out this many times in real life, they would have to end up with brain damage. Some of Connie's concussions are quite bad, particularly the one in The Gray Menace in which the assailant drew blood.

Cavanna was an expert at imagery. From The Puzzle in Purple, page 83:
Somehow, though it was a lovely and dramatic thing the sight of the ill-fated cape made her shudder. She had a feeling that in using it to drape the skeleton someone had tossed a pebble into a dark pool. In ever-widening ripples the water it had disturbed might eventually reach some dim and frightening shore.
I noticed a mistake in The Secret of Black Cat Gulch. Connie and Georgia stay at the Casa Bonito. Casa is Spanish for house, and it is a feminine word. The name of the inn should be Casa Bonita.

People love it when something exciting happens, like a bad car wreck, or even a car wreck that is not bad, and cars slow down so that the drivers can gawk. I remember having to slow down to a crawl one time on the interstate highway because of a pickup stopped at the side of the road with a refrigerator standing behind it. Wow, how exciting, a refrigerator. I was disgusted because I wanted to get home. From pages 158-159 in The Peril in Pink, a similar and hilarious scene occurs:
.....the chase was not over. What was their next move to be?

The decision, as it happened, was taken out of her hands. Before the driver of Paradise had even shifted gears there was a great shout from behind them and the passengers all turned to discover that Comet had burst into flames.

To Connie and Mike it came as an almost inevitable climax to their wild ride over the mountains. Overheated, pushed beyond endurance, steam had been hissing from the radiator for miles. But the uproar the fire was bound to create, in an island where any kind of excitement is welcomed, was something they couldn't foretell.

This was as good as Carnival!

This was fun!

There was no question of proceeding and abandoning the afflicted bus. Such a spectacular performance deserved a cheering squad. As the factory doors were braced open and a bucket brigade began to form, the workers scrambled down from Paradise in a joyous throng. The driver pulled on his brakes, turned off the ignition, and hurried along with them, leaving his vehicle blocking all traffic on the narrow road.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More eBay Changes Part XIII

I received a positive feedback on my new ID, so eBay had to let me know by sending me this message:


Hey, eBay, I actually had already noticed, but thanks for letting me know! While you're trying to make me feed good, how about rethinking some of your stupid policy changes?

EBay makes a few interesting comments in the message. EBay states, "Your positive feedback is like a stamp of approval. It tells other community members what it's like to do business with you, which builds trust across all aspects of your trading on eBay. The more you do business in a responsible way on eBay, the greater your feedback number--and your eBay reputation--will be."

Now, wait a minute. I have 100% positive feedback on my primary ID, and my seller dashboard states that I have "good" buyer satisfaction, but also tells me that I "need to improve [my] selling practices to earn a higher search standing and more visibility for [my] items." Isn't there a contradiction here? EBay tells me that positive feedback is a "stamp of approval" and at the same time tells me that I need to become a better seller while at the same time my selling ID has 100% positive feedback. What am I missing? I have a lowered search exposure because I have somehow done wrong by my recent buyers who, by the way, have not complained to me. Something is wrong with this picture.

I hope eBay keeps sending my new ID more stupid messages. I'm enjoying them. There comes a point when a person just has to laugh at eBay, and I have reached that point.

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EBay continues to have lots of glitches which affect users in very bad ways. One of them has caused much frustration among sellers who use eBay's Turbo Lister. There is an updated version of Turbo Lister, and after sellers updated it, all of their return policy details had been removed from their listings. This is especially frustrating since sellers must now have a return policy. This means that through no fault of their own, many sellers now have listings which do not have a return policy and are in danger of being ended by eBay. If eBay pulls those listings, the sellers end up with a policy violation which in turn will most likely cause them to have lowered search exposure. The sellers get punished for something that is eBay's fault.

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Something odd is happening with eBay's sell-through rates. Medved tracks eBay's listings, and normally, Buy It Now listings have a higher sell-through rate than regular auctions. For some reason, this changed a few weeks ago. It could possibly be a temporary data error, but it also could mean that eBay has done something to suppress the visibility of the Buy It Now listings. Some serious search glitches have occurred in the last month. Here is a screen capture of the data from Medved:


The red represents the sell-through rates of the auction listings and the blue represents the sell-through rates of the Buy It Now listings. The increase in auction sell-through and decrease in BIN sell-through is dramatic and happened near the start of September. Only time will tell whether it is a data error or whether eBay has done something to affect the sell-through rates.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

More eBay Changes Part XII

My seller dashboard still has my search exposure as lowered. It went up briefly this week when a buyer left fives, but I remained in the lowered search exposure. A DSR from 30 days ago has expired, putting me back where I was before a few days ago. I'm expecting a good DSR from 30 days ago to expire in a few days, and I'm curious to see how much my averages drop. I'm actually enjoying this in a perverse way and like seeing all the red in my seller dashboard. This is what it still looks like:


It has all these nice reds and greens, like Christmas colors. It's pretty!

I bought some items from a few Amazon.com sellers. I decided to leave feedback for a couple of them tonight, mainly because one of them didn't do such a good job. This is what the screen looks like when leaving feedback for an Amazon.com seller:


Amazon has a message in bold print that states, "If your order hasn't arrived yet, please note that it's still within the range of the delivery estimate." Amazon is not trying to force buyers to destroy their sellers' feedback.

Amazon only has one star rating for the buyers to leave. A five is excellent; a four is good; a three is fair; a two is poor; and a one is awful. Amazon's star rating system is short and to the point.

Amazon has three optional questions for buyers to answer:
Did your order arrive by September 29, 2008?

Did your item arrive in the condition as described by the seller?

If you contacted this seller, did you receive prompt and courteous service?
The third question has "did not contact" as one of the choices. A buyer should not rate a seller badly on communication unless the buyer needed communication and did not receive it. EBay seems to want buyers to give their sellers bad ratings. Whenever I go to leave a seller feedback, eBay gives me this message that appears to encourage poor ratings:
Please leave honest feedback
Buyers should honestly rate the quality of service received from a seller. This helps other buyers to find reliable sellers on eBay. Even if your experience was not positive, please leave honest feedback - without the fear of receiving negative feedback.
I get the idea that eBay wants us to leave bad ratings. My overall impression from Amazon's feedback page is that Amazon hopes we will leave good ratings. This is all very strange. What is eBay trying to do?

I have decided that the lowered search exposure in best match may not affect listings as much as I thought, at least for the types of items that I sell. I have done some checking this week on my one Nancy Drew listing and have compared its placement in ending soonest and best match. It is consistently showing only one page further back in best match than it is in ending soonest. It doesn't seem to be a big deal. Additionally, there are a few things that may help cancel out the lowered search exposure. I don't care to elaborate since I don't want to give eBay any ideas on what else they can change in order to make selling difficult. They have come up with enough ideas of their own without me making suggestions.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #14

It is helpful to know when certain endpapers were in print in order to avoid asking unnecessary questions. Here is a tweed copy of Nancy Drew #38 with an intact dust jacket:

1961/Nancy Drew/Mystery of the Fire Dragon/VERY GOOD Item #150288278608
Question: Please describe the endpapers--Nancy watching a man dig or multiple scenes from other stories?

Answer: Thanks for your interest in the Nancy Drew book. The endpapers display multiple scenes from other stories.
The digger endpapers were used on tweed books from 1952 through 1958. The blue multi endpapers were used on tweed books from 1959 through 1961. Since The Mystery of the Fire Dragon was not published until 1961, it cannot have digger endpapers. The digger endpapers were no longer used in 1961. All tweed copies of Fire Dragon must have blue multi endpapers.

There was no point in the buyer asking what kind of endpapers a tweed Fire Dragon has since it cannot possibly have anything other than blue multi endpapers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Edith Lavell Original Illustration

I recently made a neat purchase on eBay. The auction lot contained two old illustrations in watercolor from the 1930s. Each illustration measures approximately 9 inches by 14 inches. One of the illustrations is the cover art of the Edith Lavell book, The Mystery of the Secret Band.


It is just the lower half of the cover art. The upper half is missing, and the illustration is damaged around the edges. The top part of Edith Lavell's name is just barely visible along the bottom. For comparison, here is the front panel of the dust jacket from the book:


In closely examining the illustration, there is no doubt that it is the actual illustration that was used to produce the dust jacket art for the book. There is even a slight imperfection in the illustration near the car's bumper that appears exactly the same in the dust jacket.

Another illustration was included in the lot:


I do not recognize the second illustration, so I do not know which book it is from. This seller had many lots of original illustrations from different A. L. Burt books, so it is likely from an A. L. Burt book. If anybody recognizes the above illustration, please let me know.

The crude way in which both illustrations were cut shows the utter disregard that the publishers had for the original illustrations. It is amazing that any of them have survived to this day, in any kind of condition.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More eBay Changes Part XI

I am looking at other sites. All of them are dead and have nothing interesting for sale, but that can change if people like me list books for sale on any of them. AuctionBytes mentioned an interesting mom-and-pop site:

http://www.wensy.com/

I like it, especially because sellers pay no fees. I would love to be able to try out another site and not have to pay the listing fees. I am going to keep it in mind in case I cannot continue to sell on eBay. If anyone who collects series books has an opinion on any other sites, please post a comment. If you are someone who is just going to spam my blog with a bunch of random sites, I will delete your comments. I do promptly delete the spam comments which curiously always come from anonymous people.

There is a site called Compete.com in which the number of visitors to two or three different sites can be compared. Here is a screen capture of the comparison of the number of visitors to Amazon.com and eBay.com for the last year:


EBay is blue and Amazon is red. Notice that there is an overall decrease in the number of visits to eBay and an overall increase in the number of visits to Amazon. EBay has been trying to draw closer to Amazon, and they are succeeding, although not in the way intended. EBay is losing ground to Amazon. The individual graphs tell the story even better. Here are the results for Amazon:


Amazon is increasing at a slow and steady rate. A year ago, Amazon had around 48 million visitors, and last month had around 55 million visitors. It looks like Amazon has a solid customer base. Here are the results for eBay:


A year ago, eBay had around 75 million visitors and last month had a little more than 68 million visitors. This seems to prove the theory that eBay is losing its customer base. Could eBay be losing its customer base to Amazon? If so, how funny!

Monday, September 15, 2008

More eBay Changes Part X

On an earlier post, someone commented, "I strongly suspect it is indeed the beginning (or now, early middle) of the end" in regards to what is happening on eBay. I sense that it is now well within the middle of the end. Early next year may be the end.

Over the years, people have kicked and screamed over changes to eBay, saying that the site would fail. I never agreed with those people. I did not like some of the changes; after all, none of us like change. I did not like checkout when eBay first created it. I was used to personally emailing my buyers and did not like the impersonal approach. I became used to it, and even though checkout is impersonal, it is much easier. It is not such a bad thing.

Even last year when the dreaded DSR ratings began, I decided that it would be okay. So what if I now have four different ratings and they are not all five out of five? I didn't think it would hurt anything. Now that eBay is punishing me by reducing my search exposure due to my ratings of below 4.8, I have changed my mind. This is not good.

I listed 16 auctions this weekend. I relisted one lot of Nancy Drew paperbacks, hoping they would finally sell. They probably won't even be noticed by people using best match, so that listing may be doomed. My other listings are four Girl Scouts books by Lavell in dust jackets, six Vicki Barr picture covers, and five Judy Bolton picture covers. I selected all of my listings with the idea that eBay cannot easily bury them in best match. They can and have placed them at the very end of the best match results, but the number of listings in those searches is low enough that I feel most people will notice them.

The reason why it is so important to have at least standard exposure in best match is because eBay has now set best match as the default search. I have my searches set with ending soonest as my default, but eBay sometimes changes it back to best match. A couple months ago, I was doing a Nancy Drew search for ending soonest, and it was not until the second or third page that I finally noticed that my results were all out of order by the amount of time left. EBay had changed that search back to best match, so I had to save that search again as ending soonest and start over from page one. If I had not noticed that the sort had been changed, I would have missed some books of interest.

All new eBay buyers will use best match because it is the default. They will not know any better. After a while, it may occur to them to use a different sort, but we cannot depend on it. For a time, I had raised search exposure, and I remember one of my auctions that was placed as the number one listing in best match for the last 24 hours that it was active. That auction sold for higher than expected, and I am certain that it was because of the placement in best match. This means that it is very important for sellers to have either standard or raised search exposure rather than lowered search exposure. Additionally, if eBay eventually dumps all of us in its wicked Playground (see previous post), none of us will be able to find anything.

A comment that was made on my previous post states, "My advice is to start looking for another place to list your wares AND don't forget to tell your buyers where they can find you."

I have two choices: either remain on eBay or flee. I want to flee, but I am not quite ready to do so. Therefore, I have come up with a plan that will hopefully buy me some time on eBay.

I now have two primary eBay IDs: thebgs and the.bgs. The second one is the one I created nearly a week ago. I am using it as my buyer ID right now and hope to have some feedback soon. As soon as it has some feedback, if my primary ID is still stuck in lowered search exposure, I will switch to the secondary ID to sell books. I intend to switch back and forth between the two IDs as necessary in order to avoid the lowered search ranking.

I have already set up a selling account on my new ID, but since I haven't listed anything, eBay is trying to help get me started. They just sent me a message entitled "Get help selling on eBay--you can do it!" For some reason, this strikes me as extremely funny, probably because I'm not really new. Here is a screen capture of the message:


Somehow, I doubt most eBay sellers are as happy as that woman appears to be.

I have figured out that it is not a good idea to tell buyers to leave all fives. Some of them will get offended and may leave low ratings out of spite. I tried to inform a small group of buyers, and most of them did not leave the ratings. Of the ones who did, my ratings went down. The only solution is to make my buyers very happy so that perhaps they will consider leaving fives. Several sellers of Nancy Drew books already include freebies in their packages, and I plan to join them.

If my plan to stay on eBay fails, then I will leave. I think I can make it work just a little longer, but I will only know as more time passes. There is also always a chance that eBay may rethink some of these stupid changes after their stock falls even further.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

More eBay Changes Part IX

I will not stop posting these comments until I run out of complaints. By writing out my thoughts, I am working out my frustration.

I decided to list a few books this weekend. Since my search exposure is lowered, I decided not to sell Nancy Drew books. I listed my four extra Girl Scouts books by Edith Lavell and six extra Vicki Barr books. Both searches return few items, so eBay can't hide the listings as effectively as it can hide Nancy Drew books.

Since the changes are coming very soon, I made my listings fully compliant with the new rules. I now have a return policy stated. I offer PayPal only. My postage for a single book is already within the $4.00 limit. When I relisted a lot of 26 books for which I had the postage set at $6.50, eBay gave me this helpful message:
Attention Seller!

Starting in October, the maximum shipping cost in this category will be $4.00. You'll be asked to enter a shipping cost less than or equal to this cost for the first U.S. flat rate shipping service.

Get a head start on these changes by updating your shipping costs for this listing.
Okay, why not? I went back to edit the listing. I had some difficulty with the shipping calculator because I accidentally entered the insurance amount of $1.70 into the handling fee section. Once I figured out my mistake, I was able to get the postage amount to come out the way I wanted. I have successfully launched a book auction with shipping above the $4.00 limit. Exactly how does eBay think that the limit will prevent people from charging too much? I could have entered a higher weight in order to charge a high postage charge. The end result is that eBay harasses everyone, and the guilty sellers will continue to charge high prices.

Here are a couple of excerpts from an article posted on Saturday at MarketWatch:
Brian Blair and Ryan Hunter of investment-research firm Wedge Partners wrote late last week that the company's business is "deteriorating" and that the company is readying layoffs that could affect 10% of the company's 15,000 employees.

"Seller discontent with eBay is on the rise due to higher fees and other changes, and we believe eBay has seen numerous sellers migrating away from the eBay platform and creating their own selling sites," the Wedge analysts wrote.

........................................

Blair and Hunter also say eBay is close to rolling out a new search platform that it has been testing for some time. They see risks if it isn't successful: "The ability to search and find an item with accuracy is a key factor in eBay's success and any changes that negatively impact the effectiveness of search would create a significant problem for the company." EBay shares are down approximately 30% this year, trading near their lowest level in five years.
It is a very bad sign when stock analysts state that eBay's "business is 'deteriorating.' " As to the new search, it is called the "Playground," and I have heard terrible things about it. People have had problems finding their way out of it, so I have been afraid to click on it. I will not enter the Playground until eBay dumps me in it. I have avoided it for at least six months, and I hope to avoid it for a few more.

Apparently the new search "thinks" for you and lets you see items based on which items you have already clicked on. If a buyer searches for "Nancy Drew," then the search will show a jumble of stuff that might be items that only have "Nancy" in the item description, other items that only have "Drew," and finally, the items that have "Nancy Drew" in them. Once the buyer clicks on the ones that actually have "Nancy Drew" in them, then the buyer will begin to see more valid results. What about the items that I might miss because eBay's Playground might not realize that I want to see them? The Playground sounds like a Chamber of Horrors. I am scared of the Playground.

Transaction Frustration on eBay

I have quite a few problems dealing with sellers on eBay who have poor communication skills or have no idea what they are doing. I bought a near complete set of Nancy Drew books this week. The auction page listed $25.00 shipping via UPS Ground. I did not know what it would actually cost to mail the books via UPS, but I did know that a complete set of Nancy Drew books can be mailed via media mail for less than $25.00. The shipping was within what would be considered normal for a set of Nancy Drew books, so I gave it no thought.

I paid, and after the seller shipped the books, he contacted me. He told me that he shipped the books via UPS and that the box weighed 31 pounds. He then told me that media mail costs $10.75 for the first 10 pounds and $2.00 for each additional pound and that he had to pay the difference himself.

His comments confused me. He mentioned media mail, which does not cost $10.75 for the first 10 pounds and $2.00 for each additional pound. Media mail is only $12.73 for a package that weighs 31 pounds. Also, UPS does not offer media mail, so why would he mention media mail?

I don't even know what the seller paid to ship the books. Why not come out and say it? He knows what the dollar amount is. I don't. If the shipping amount was $10.75 for the first 10 pounds and $2.00 for each additional pound, then he paid $52.75.

I went to the UPS site and downloaded their shipping rate tables. It appears that the seller used UPS 3 Day Select to mail the books, since 1o pounds to Zone 2 costs $10.75. This is assuming of course that I am in Zone 2. I do not if UPS does zones the way the USPS does. If the seller used UPS 3 Day Select, I noticed that the cost only went up less than a dollar for each additional pound. I can find nothing anywhere on the UPS rate tables to match up with the seller's comments.

What gets me is that the listing stated UPS Ground. Why wouldn't the seller have shipped UPS ground? From the UPS rate tables, the package could have been shipped via UPS Ground for under $25.00, assuming that I am in Zone 2. Additionally, did the seller go to one of those shipping places like Mail and More to ship the package? Those places always charge exorbitant rates. I only use those places when I have to mail something like an appliance which weighs too much to mail USPS.

Transactions like this one really get on my nerves. I gathered from the seller's message that he is not very happy about the postage cost. However, it was his choice to mail the package via a more expensive method than necessary. I want to tell the seller this, but I decided to ignore the message. No matter how I try to state it, I'm going to sound a bit snippy.

It is the seller's fault when the seller charges too little for shipping or when the seller accidentally ships the package at a higher rate. I sometimes undercharge for postage and get an unpleasant surprise when I weigh the package. It is my fault, and I do not mention it to the buyer.

One time earlier this year, I had a package to send media mail to someone in the military serving overseas. The clerk told me that I could not send the package via media mail because "they have no way to get it over there." I was quite taken aback and did not believe this was true. Really, I knew it was not true, but the clerk sounded ever so believable. I thought that perhaps the USPS had changed a regulation recently without my knowledge.

I had to pay around $15.00 priority mail for the package, and I had only charged the buyer around $4.00 for postage. When I got home and thought about it some more, I realized that the clerk was full of it and that I should have asked for a supervisor. The USPS ships the military-bound packages via whatever method the sender uses to the military. The military does not care whether the package was sent media mail. The military will airlift the package to its destination. I messed up by believing a clueless clerk, and I took the loss. It was not my buyer's fault.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More eBay Changes Part VIII

Right after my listings ended nearly a week ago, my 30-day DSR ratings disappeared and my search exposure changed back to standard. It was not very helpful that eBay gave me my standard exposure back as soon as my listings closed. Thanks, eBay!

I was considering the idea of listing a few books this weekend. Please note that I was considering the idea; I'm not so sure that it is a good idea. I checked my seller dashboard and noticed that eBay has changed my search exposure back to lowered. Nice..... I received a feedback today, and it appears that the buyer gave me the DSRs. However, my 30-day DSR ratings are exactly the same as they were a week ago when I had the lowered search exposure.

I question the validity of my 30-day DSR scores. I cannot have more than just a few DSRs for the last month, and no matter what today's buyer gave me, the ratings would not have remained exactly the same. It is not mathematically possible for all four numbers to round to exactly what they did a week ago in the hundredths place. If I had hundreds of ratings, the DSRs could stay the same but not with fewer than five ratings.

The 30-day DSR ratings, and possibly the seller dashboard as well, are broken. How wonderful that what eBay uses to judge us is not even working properly! I have also read that best match search has been broken in the last few weeks. So, eBay defaults the searches to best match, but best match is broken. How are buyers to find items? We can only hope that most buyers change the default from best match to ending soonest; otherwise, they will find nothing.

EBay's stock is at a 52-week low. Gee, I wonder why? Investors seem to have noticed that eBay is a sinking ship. Where will all of this end?

I am cheered by the thought that Overstock.com is planning enhancements to its auction site in November! In addition to other features, Overstock plans to improve its checkout process, and it sounds like sellers will be able to accept PayPal much easier. I have my eye on Overstock, and if eBay continues to keep my search exposure lowered, I may experiment on Overstock.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

eBay Selling Tips #2 + One for Buyers

This is a tip for people who use the PayPal shipping and print their own shipping labels. Really, it is just common sense, but a small group of sellers do not seem to realize that labels should be affixed to the packages securely.

I remember one transaction in particular. The seller stated that she had had quite a few lost packages and recommended insurance as she was not responsible for lost packages. I knew immediately why she had so many lost packages when I received my package from her. She used PayPal shipping and affixed the label to the package with one small 1 1/2 inch long piece of 3/4 inch wide scotch tape along each of the four sides of the label. There was no adhesive on the back of the label, so the small pieces of tape were all that held the label to the package. I was amazed that the label was still attached!

This post can be easily turned into a buyer tip as well. Any seller who states in their listings that they have had quite a few lost packages should probably be avoided. There is a reason why those sellers have a bunch of lost packages. They are doing something wrong, and they have no idea that it is their fault. Remember from my last selling tip that I stated that I have mailed out thousands of packages, and none have gone missing. I'm sure I will have one eventually, but it is not the norm for packages to disappear.

I use plain paper for my shipping labels, as many people do. I use a glue stick to put glue on the package where I intend to place the label. I then place the label on the package and use packaging tape to securely fasten all four sides of the label so that it is extremely unlikely that the label will be torn from the package. I had an occasion this summer where I had to remove one of my labels after the glue had dried. It was not easy. Once the glue dries, those labels are stuck in place.

Another selling tip: do not use brown packaging paper on your packages unless totally necessary. Many sellers reuse old boxes; I once did and for a time, I used brown paper. When I did, I securely taped it on all seams. Even so, brown paper can easily be ripped off of the box, causing the box to go missing. I have received some packages in the mail in which the paper was badly ripped.

If you are reusing boxes, there is a way to avoid brown paper and still have a professional outer appearance. Turn the boxes inside out. Along one of the four corners of the box, a seam can be found and the box pulled apart at that location. Turn the box inside out, and tape it back together. I did this for quite a few years until I finally decided that saving boxes took up too much space and that turning them inside out was too much trouble.

These are the boxes that I purchase for my packages:

https://www.uline.com/ProductDetail.asp?model=S-4312

I use these boxes for one or two books.

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https://www.uline.com/ProductDetail.asp?model=S-4406


These boxes are used for smaller lots of around five books.

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https://www.uline.com/ProductDetail.asp?model=S-4105

These boxes are used for lots of around 10 to 12 books.

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https://www.uline.com/ProductDetail.asp?model=S-4125

I use these boxes for large lots. Two of them are enough for a complete set of 56 Nancy Drew books. I avoid shipping packages that weigh more than 20-23 pounds because the packages are too heavy to carry and more likely to be damaged.

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These boxes serve all of my needs when I sell books. The shipping costs from Uline nearly double the cost of the boxes, so the boxes always end up costing around $0.75 to $0.95 each depending on the box size.

Uline ships really fast. They have a number of locations around the country, and anybody who lives near one of those locations gets their orders very fast. My orders ship from Dallas, and I always get my orders the very next day, even when I order in the late afternoon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #13

The goal of this series of posts is to educate buyers on how to avoid unnecessary questions. Here is another listing in which a buyer asks an unnecessary question:

8 Early Nancy Drew Nos 1-18 DJs Blue Orange Keene G&D Item #350088683302
Question: Hi, Do volume #'s 1,5, or 7 have 3 glossy internals, as well as the glossy frontispiece?

Answer: Just the frontpiece. I don't see any internals on a thumb-through. Thanks for looking.
In the item description, the seller states that #1 lists to #16 Tapping Heels on the front flap; #5 lists to #19 Missing Map on the front flap; and #7 lists to #18 Moss-Covered Mansion on the front flap. This information is enough to indicate that it is highly unlikely that the books have the additional internal illustrations. Since only the first 13 titles were printed with the glossy internal illustrations, the volumes that have the glossy internal illustrations list only up to #13 Ivory Charm on the front flap. Any book that has a dust jacket that lists to #14 or higher on the front flap does not have the glossy internal illustrations unless the book and dust jacket are grossly mismatched.

In the unlikely event that a book with internals has been mismatched with a later dust jacket, there is no increase in value. If anything, the mismatch decreases the value. The vast majority of collectors who seek the books with internals and intact dust jackets want the books to have the matching dust jackets that list to #13 or lower.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More eBay Changes Part VII

I have been looking into other venues in an attempt to see whether any site other than eBay is viable to sell books in an auction format. Quite frankly, I don't see a site that will work very well. People keep mentioning various sites in the message boards, but either the sites are fixed-price only or are difficult to use. The one that I like best is Overstock, but I have heard that PayPal is not integrated into it very well. Another site is Wagglepop, which is run by a former eBay PowerSeller. It does not look like much is happening at Wagglepop or any of the other places.

Back in the late 1990s, Amazon.com had a brief time in which they had online auctions, and I listed quite a few books there during that time. I did very well, especially since Amazon heavily advertised their auctions. As time passed, Amazon's auctions fell flat and closed down. Yahoo.com also did auctions for several years, but they are also long gone. It is possible that either Amazon or Yahoo! could start up auctions again, but I do not feel that it is likely since both companies have already failed in that venture.

I feel like our one hope for a viable alternative to eBay is Google. If Google could start up an auction site, it would stand a chance at rivaling eBay. The time is ripe for a viable competitor, and I hope somebody sets something up.

It does not seem that there is going to be an alternative venue in the next few months, so we have to figure out how to survive in eBay's hostile environment. Since the DSR ratings could make or break a seller, it is a good idea for all sellers to have an alternate selling ID. This way if one ID has low DSR ratings, then the seller can switch to the other ID. So I just registered a new account on eBay which differs from my primary ID by just one character. If necessary, I can sell on this alternate ID if I have problems with getting too many four-star DSRs on my primary ID. I made my secondary selling ID very similar to my primary ID so that everyone would know that it is me. I now need to buy some items so I can get some feedback. If eBay wants us to play games, then it is games we will play.

It has taken me around 2 1/2 weeks since we heard of these changes to come up with a good plan. I have been brainstorming how I can encourage buyers to leave me fives without asking for them. I have to make my buyers love me. I do have some good ideas which I will put into execution whenever I feel like listing more items. My enthusiasm is at an all-time low, but I may force myself to do it soon. I am not going to let eBay destroy me, but I will bail out fast if another venue opens up.

Monday, September 8, 2008

More eBay Changes part VI

Some sellers are offering free shipping in an attempt to pull up their shipping DSR ratings. Do not offer free shipping because it will backfire. It sounds like a great idea in theory, but I have read quite a few reports on various message boards of sellers offering free shipping. Those sellers have reported that their shipping DSRs went down during the time that they offered free shipping. The reason why the shipping DSRs go down when a seller offers free shipping is because buyers think that the shipping DSR is not applicable and give the sellers threes. The buyers think that a three is a neutral rating, not realizing that eBay sees it as bad. Remember that anything less than five is bad, so the sellers lose. It is better always to charge for shipping but to charge less than other sellers.

I see one seller of series books who is offering free media mail shipping on her current listings, and her shipping DSR is 4.3. It could go down as a result, and if this were already November, she would get blocked from selling. She is probably trying to get that 4.3 to go up, but it will probably go down as a result of the free shipping.

There is more bad news coming. From AuctionBytes:
There is one more major bombshell that will shake the very core of the eBay seller community this year - a pilot program in which the catalogs of some major manufacturers and retailers will be launched onto the site as early as October with the help of third-part vendors. eBay will reportedly grant these Diamond Level PowerSellers special privileges, including zero listing fees and a period in which they will not be subjected to DSR seller standards. The pilot, which I'm dubbing Operation Catalog, is fluid, with one-on-one negotiations taking place with each company.

Operation Catalog won't necessarily affect antiques and collectibles sellers, and sellers of unique items and end-of-life inventory, at least for some time. I'd expect it to affect certain sellers of new product in categories like clothing and electronics, depending on what brands are brought onto the site. Imagine, for example, that you are a shoe seller on eBay, and suddenly Nike's entire catalog of SKUs is competing with your listings. Not only are you competing with the manufacturer of the product you sell, but that competitor is getting free listings and better exposure. It may also leave third-party vendors in the awkward position of explaining to existing customers why some new clients are getting special consideration.
What this could do to those of us who collect series books is further cloud our searches. New items such as current Nancy Drew books do show up in our searches, and each of these new deals with vendors could bring more and more of these listings into our searches. We already have to contend with Buy.com, and soon there will be others. If this happens, I will have to exclude more individual seller's names from my searches so that I can find what I want.

What is very frustrating is that eBay will make these mega-sellers except from the DSR requirements while those of us who are small sellers will get booted from eBay. How fair is that? Shouldn't the big guys also be required to give completely perfect customer service?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

More eBay Changes Part V

As I expected, my 30-day DSR ratings are now substandard. I have only received a few ratings in the last month, and my buyers must be giving me fours. Even though eBay states that a four is good, eBay plans to block sellers from selling who have even one DSR fall to 4.3. Here is a screen capture from my Seller Dashboard in My eBay:


I am showing this so that buyers will know that it is a fact that eBay sees any rating below a five as bad. I am not making this up. My 30-day DSR ratings are 4.69, 4.49, 4.50, and 4.50. Click on the above image to see them clearly. My ratings are not bad, yet eBay has them highlighted in red. When my ratings were higher, they were not in red. It is clear that eBay considers me a failure. EBay tells me that my search standing is lowered and makes the following statement:
Your listings may receive lower placement in search results when sorted by Best match. You need to improve your selling practices to earn a higher search standing and more visibility for your items.
Wow, thanks eBay! I feel so good! My lowest rating is 4.49 out of five stars which converts to 89.8%. In school, that average would round up to a 90% which is an A. However, on eBay, a 90% is failing!

My problem ever since this mess began is that eBay tells buyers that a four is good but punishes sellers for receiving fours. If eBay would just be honest with buyers, I would have no problem with the rating system.

Since my buyers are leaving me fours and eBay thinks I am a failure, you would think that my recent feedback comments would have been lukewarm at best. When I look at my recent feedback, my buyers seem rather happy. Here are all of my feedbacks as a seller from the last month, and it is these feedbacks that caused my substandard DSRs:
Nice Book! Packed and shipped well! Thanks!

Just as described! Thank you!

Great Seller! All arrived in great shape! Thanks so much!!

Better than described Well packed Honest Fast Jen is a kind lovable GENIUS w/ ND

well handled transaction, professional in all contacts

A happy transaction - the book is lovely

good stuff

very nice books-Thank you

Auction ended 8/15 received the books 8/18...excellent service!

GREAT book! SMOOTH transaction! FAST delivery! SUPER seller indeed!!!
Not all of these buyers left the DSR ratings and a few of them may have left fives. For my ratings to be what they are, most of the ones who left the ratings must have left fours. The most lukewarm comment is the one that states "good stuff," yet that buyer contacted me after leaving feedback and stated that he left fives. The lower ratings must be from some of the others. I know that most of them did not leave the ratings, and this is really where the problem is. Many people do not leave the ratings, so I have received just a few ratings in the last month. Of the ones who left the ratings, they were pleased with the transaction, yet decided to leave fours. Buyers do not understand that eBay has stacked the deck against sellers and expects satisfied buyers to leave fives.

I found a blog which was posted by someone who visited eBay's headquarters and spoke at length to employees about the changes:

http://blog.skipmcgrath.com/public/item/211588

Assuming that this person's information is correct, some of what I read has not been mentioned elsewhere to my knowledge:
When you first look at the announcement, you may think that if you fall below 4.3 on one of your DSR scores that you will be kicked off of eBay. This is not the case. Sellers with less than 10 DSRs in the past 30 days will be evaluated on their performance over the past 12 months. If you fall below the magic 4.3 the following things will happen:

Sellers not meeting the standards will not be allowed to list new items, but will not be suspended. Sellers will not be able to list new items as long as their DSRs are below 4.3. Blocked sellers may list items again once their DSRs meet or exceed the threshold.
The part that is new to me is the part about when a seller has fewer than 10 DSRs in the past 30 days. This is my situation right now which has resulted in my low ratings. If the information is true, eBay would judge me on the last year instead. In this case, I would be okay and would not be likely to be blocked from selling. My one-year DSRs are 4.86, 4.81, 4.81, and 4.78, much better than my 30-day DSRs.

This is all assuming that a seller's 30-day DSRs can still be based on as few as three ratings. I notice that my seller dashboard states that it takes ten, but I am certain that I do not have ten ratings from the last month. I have only ten seller feedbacks from the last month and the buyers did not all leave the ratings. It must still be three. So long as it is still three ratings to display the 30-day ratings in seller dashboard, then I am okay in a case like this. If I had as many as ten ratings, my ratings would probably average out to a higher amount.

Each time I think I'm okay, I read something else that makes me worry. The problem is that eBay has contradictory information in different places and will not come out and state exactly what the deal is. I am now reading reports of sellers losing their selling privileges for unknown reasons. I do believe that eBay is already rolling out the changes even though they are not supposed to take effect yet. Everyone needs to be very careful.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #12

Oftentimes, sellers state that a book is the first printing/first edition according to Farah's Guide, but they do not give the points that make the book the first printing/first edition. Buyers should always be cautious when a seller states that a book is the first, even by Farah's Guide, but gives no additional information. It is also very important that sellers state which edition of Farah's Guide is referenced in a listing. Farah states in each edition of his guide that sellers should mention which edition of Farah's Guide is used to describe a book that is for sale.

This brings me to this listing:

NANCY DREW # 56 Thirteenth Pearl FIRST EDITION Item #350090402841

The only information given by the seller is, "This is a First Edition according to Farah's Guide." Aside from the fact that "first edition" does not mean "first printing," more information is needed. Which edition of Farah's Guide did the seller use? In older editions of Farah's Guide, the first printing of Thirteenth Pearl is said to be a book with the next book notice of The Triple Hoax. Farah's 12th edition states that the first printing has the next book notice of The Triple Hoax in plain text while the second printing has the next book notice in italics.

Which is it in this case? The seller might be selling the true first printing according to Farah's 12th edition. On the other hand, the seller might have the second printing up for sale but used an older guide which labeled the second printing as the first printing. The seller is not necessarily misleading buyers, but the end result is the possibility that the buyer could end up purchasing a second printing book with the mistaken belief that it is the first printing book. I have no idea in this case whether the seller sold the first or second printing. It is up to the prospective buyer to make certain before bidding.

I have noticed several instances recently of sellers who cite Farah's Guide and state that their listings of Thirteenth Pearl are the first printing but give no additional information. I have to wonder whether some of these people might be purposely misleading buyers. I cannot understand why some sellers state that a book is a first by Farah's Guide but do not back up the claim with the hard evidence.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #11

This lot has the second printing of Tolling Bell in dust jacket:

Nancy Drew Mystery of the Tolling Bell 1ST EDITION w DJ Item #220268182975

When the seller states that the book and jacket are the "1ST EDITION," many buyers are going to assume that the seller means that the book and jacket are the first printing. "First edition" and "first printing" are not the same, although many people think the words have the same meaning. This is why I exclusively use "first printing" so that no one can confuse what I mean.

It is apparent that the listing did confuse some buyers, since someone asks the seller whether there are any interior lists of titles and whether the list ends with this title. The seller states, "There are no interior lists of Nancy Drew titles in the book. Per my Farah's Guide (10th edition) - the book is a 1st printing/2nd printing (both are shown as being the same). Hope this helps :)"

I am not sure if it did help. I am left with the impression that this is a first printing, and I know that it is not. Of course, the seller stated that the book is the 1st/2nd printing, which is correct, but the jacket is definitely the second printing. What I do not understand is why the seller did not just come out and state that the book and jacket are the 1946B-2 printing according to Farah's Guide. Perhaps the seller wanted buyers to see "first edition" and think that the book and jacket are the first printing. The intent is questionable at best, and I have noticed that this seller uses the same terminology on other listings. Whenever I quote Farah's Guide in a listing, I give the actual printing number in the listing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Recent Crazy eBay Prices and Some Others

I found a few noteworthy auctions after a stretch of uninteresting auction results.

First of all, a seller tried twice to sell a complete set of the Applewood edition Nancy Drew books for above $1,000.00. Not surprisingly, no one bought the books when they were priced at over $1,000.00. In a post this summer to the Nancy Drew Sleuths group, I suggested that a complete set of Applewood editions would be worth around $500.00. For the previously mentioned listing, the seller finally managed to get $600.00 for the books:

COMPLETE APPLEWOOD SET HB/DJ NANCY DREW SERIES Keene Item #180281571478

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Lot of 13 Vintage Nancy Drew Books by Carolyn Keene Item #170254389953

This one reminds me of the insanity from earlier this summer. The winning bidder paid $365.00 for 13 tweed Nancy Drew books. Why on earth would someone be willing to pay approximately $28.00 each for 13 ordinary tweed Nancy Drew books that do not have dust jackets? Actually, two people were willing to pay that much since the second highest bidder helped bid up the auction.

I have noticed that people will sometimes pay outrageous prices for older blue and tweed Nancy Drew books that are missing the jackets. I think that many people find the books to be more appealing and to look more like antique books when the books do not have dust jackets. The dust jackets make the books look more modern. The people who feel this way bid much higher on the bare books than they do on the ones with jackets. They should just buy books with jackets for lower prices and then sell the jackets to other collectors. They would save a lot of money!

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RARE JUDY BOLTON CHEAPEST SHIPPING $3.99 L@@K L@@K L@@K Item #200246460292

Really, this one is just silly. Not only is the book described as RARE, but the seller places "L@@K L@@K L@@K" in the title. It was hardly necessary. The green spine picture cover editions of the Judy Bolton books are quite scarce, and just stating what the book is should sell it. The book sold for $27.00.

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Lot of Dana Girls mysteries - vintage w/dust jacket Item #160274102763

This one closed at $50.00, which is quite excessive. Offered were two tweed Dana Girls books with dust jackets. The books are #3 and #5, which are not hard to find. I usually have to give these titles away.

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#22 Nancy Drew Climbing In The Crumbling Wall - Minty! Item #150286977817

No doubt the bidders recognized this book and jacket as being the true first printing from 1945. It closed at $738.88. This is quite extreme even for this hard to find first printing and for the excellent condition of the dust jacket. Normally it does not sell for anywhere near this level. I consider it to be worth around $200.00 to $300.00 and perhaps worth $400.00 for such a nice dust jacket. Even so, one can find this first printing for $20.00 to $150.00 by careful searching. I know because I have bought a couple at low prices. Many of these are offered for sale, like this one, and are not described as first printings. It was fortunate that the seller photographed all of the jacket so that buyers could see that the back panel listed Judy Bolton books instead of Beverly Gray books.

Also, the title given by the seller, "Climbing in the Crumbling Wall" sounds rather intriguing.

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JUDY BOLTON MYSTERY-THE RAINBOW RIDDLE-M. SUTTON! Item #230282762269

The same couple of people are still forcing each other to pay huge prices for certain Judy Bolton books. This one, which is nowhere near a first printing, sold for $130.29. It is just an ordinary tweed Judy Bolton book that should have sold for around $10.00 to $30.00.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #10

I have stated how buyers can look at the spines of the Nancy Drew picture cover books to get an idea of whether the books have the original text. The picture covers with the original text tend to have the titles in mixed-case letters while the later books have the titles in all capital letters.

Here is another listing in which the buyer asked for more information about the books:

LOT OF 25 NANCY DREW MATTE PICTURE COVERS Item #110280366806

The buyer asked for a range of copyright dates in order to determine whether the books have the original or revised text. This is a good question; however, I wish to point out how a seller's pictures can reveal the answer without the buyer having to ask. The seller answered that the books were published from 1959 to 1971 and that all of them have 20 chapters, except for #24 from 1947. This seller's pictures are blurry, so it is very hard to discern what the titles on the spines look like; otherwise, we could tell for certain from just the spines whether the books are the revised text books. When the spines do not reveal the answer, the front cover illustrations will.

Refer to my Nancy Drew Picture Cover Gallery to view the cover art for the picture cover books.

With just a few exceptions, all of the Nancy Drew picture cover books that have the very last cover art, the art that is still in print to this day, have the revised 20 chapter text.


By knowing this piece of information, you can look at these blurry pictures from the above listing, see that all of them except for #24 have the final cover art, and tell that the books have the revised text: