Monday, June 29, 2009

How (not) to Collect Nancy Drew Books

While searching Google in a attempt to figure out something about the placement of a page, I ran across this article:

How to Collect Nancy Drew Books

*Sigh* Based on some of the wording, it sounds like the writer may have read my Nancy Drew guide on eBay and mangled the information. Step 2 in the list states:
Make a list of the titles and copyright years you are looking for. Carry this list with you everywhere. Books published between 1930 and 1959 will have 1930 listed as the copyright date. First editions will also have 25 chapters (books 1-34).
According to this person, all Nancy Drew books printed between 1930 and 1959 have 1930 as the copyright date regardless of which title in the series it is. Um, no.

This is what my Nancy Drew guide states:
The copyright page is the last place to look when you are trying to discover the age of a Nancy Drew book. Grosset and Dunlap very rarely made changes to the copyright page. All copies of The Secret of the Old Clock printed from 1930 through early 1959 have 1930 as the only year listed on the copyright page. From 1959 and on, The Secret of the Old Clock was printed with 1959 as the year on the copyright page.
I believe I am clear that I mean, as an example, that Old Clock has 1930 on the copyright page until 1959. The rest of the books have their corresponding original copyright dates.

I hate reading the statement, "First editions will also have 25 chapters (books 1-34)." For many people, particularly new collectors, "first edition" and "first printing" have the same meaning, the very first printing of a book. These people will think that any Nancy Drew book with 25 chapters is the very first printing. No it isn't!

The writer recommends, "Books with dust jackets are very rare. If you find one, buy it." This statement is too broad. It depends upon the age, the condition, and the price of the book. I hate reading general statements that give poor advice. There is a set of book club edition Nancy Drew books with yellow spine dust jackets for volumes 1, 2, and 3. These books and jackets can sometimes sell for above $10 each, but in general, are close to worthless.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #25

It appears that quite a few people are not informed about what the Applewood editions look like, thinking they are vintage books. Or, it may be that they simply do not read auction descriptions carefully.

NANCY DREW THE CLUE OF THE BROKEN LOCKET, NEW WITH DJ Item #170332476189

This is the seller's picture:


Question #1: Hi - Is this an Applewood reprint of the original? Thanks.

Answer #1: Yes it is....thanks for asking.

Question #2: What do endpapers look like- orange with 4 girls? Are there pictures inside - glossy or plain? What titles are listed on dust jacket flaps? Thanks!!

Answer #2: This book is a Apple reprint of the original.

Question #3: Several questions. Are there any glossy illustrations in the book - if so, frontispiece only or total four (3 internals and frontispiece)? What is the last book listed internally and on the dust jacket? Other series listed on back dust jacket - if so, last title listed? What format/color are the endpapers (orange, blue, nancy magnifying glass etc?) Can't see the spine symbol either. Finally are the interior text pages white, off-white, tanned etc? Sorry for so many questions but it's all very important to a Nancy collector. Thanks.

Answer #3: This book is a Apple reprint of the original. Not a vintage book,thanks for asking.
It is very clear from the picture that this book is an Applewood edition. Notice the gold border along the top and bottom of the front panel. The vintage dust jackets do not have a gold border, only the Applewood editions have it. Look at the spine. I can see the edge of the gold seal on the spine, which is another feature of the Applewood editions. Finally, the seller's title stated "NEW" and the items specifics stated that the condition was "Brand New." Vintage books are not normally described as "brand new" unless the seller is lying.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More on Search Aggravation

This is worth reading:

eBay's New Search Slowing Buyers?

Also read the comments. You may also want to click on the links to the various discussions on eBay's message boards. If you read some of the complaints, eBay is telling people to check their browser settings, clear their cache, etc., which is why I refuse to report my glitches. The people at eBay think that all of the problems on their site are our fault and not theirs.

I am having some of those problems as well. For instance, I have auctions that I know I have clicked on and viewed because I placed the items in my watched items list. Yet the next day when I search, those links no longer show as being already visited. This is yet another example of eBay wasting my time! In some cases I know at a glance that I have already viewed the items, but in other cases, I end up wasting time by clicking the links again.

Read the discussion here. One person was told by eBay that it is not possible to fix the problem. I cannot state what I think without cussing, so I have no comment.

I had a few items for sale the last week. These were the first items I listed after everyone was forced into the new search. I had four items for sale. One item had one watcher, and the rest had none. Two items sold at the opening bids. The items had very few page views. Last year at this time, sales were great. Of course part of it had to do with one buyer who was buying everything, but many other people were also bidding and purchasing. We should still have the other people around, yet eBay is like a ghost town.

What I want to know is whether any of you are having problems with search? Most particularly, if you still sell on eBay, how are you doing since June 10? I want to know whether you have noticed a significant difference in your page views, watchers, and bidders since June 10. If you have had a change since June 10, the culprit is search. I hate the new search, and I almost don't want to say it, but I am beginning to hate eBay. All this time that I have complained, I have been annoyed, frustrated, and disappointed in eBay... but I have not hated the site.

A Mystery Is Solved... or Maybe Not

Most series books have a few typos in them. Since the books were made and sold inexpensively, the books did not have much quality control. Usually the mistakes are not too bothersome. One exception is the glaring error—really, a discontinuity—that occurs in the final two volumes of the Brownie Scouts series.

When I first read the Brownie Scouts series, I was utterly flabbergasted that Veve McGuire's name changed to Vevi McGuire in volumes five and six. If the mistake had been in a few stray places, I would have been forgiving. However, the name is consistently Vevi every single time it is mentioned throughout all of volumes five and six. The name is Veve in all instances from volumes one through four.

It is truly bizarre. In the documents that I purchased, a letter from Cupples and Leon mentions the problem.
We have been proof-reading the Brownie Scout Series for errors in the text which we intend to correct in the next edition. We are distressed to find that in volumes five and six the name of one of the characters had been changed from Veve to Vevi McGuire.

Actually this should be corrected - however, if we tried to do so the last two volumes in the series would need to be reset. This would be a great expense and we wish to avoid doing so if we possibly can. Do you think you could write an explanation - a story about a little girl - perhaps a friend of yours - whose name was Vevi and spelled in this manner - and to please her you had made the change starting in volume five - if so this could be inserted just before page 1, it might serve sufficiently so that we will not need to reset those volumes.
The books were not reset nor was a message about the name inserted into either of the books, at least not in the copies which I own. When I first read this letter, I concluded that the publisher had made the mistake. Even so, I was still puzzled. Exactly how would the name Veve be changed to Vevi in every single instance throughout two books? I know little about the specific details of the publishing process, but I assume that the author's manuscript is used at the beginning of the process. If the name was spelled correctly in the manuscript, how would it accidentally get changed in every occurrence throughout the final published work? The name would get changed if whoever set the type decided to change it, but that would be odd.

Although the name change still bothered me, I did not think much more about it for around a week after reading the letter. When I began looking through my documents again, I happened upon the outline for The Brownie Scouts and Their Tulip Show, which was published as the sixth volume in the series, The Brownie Scouts at Windmill Farm. Prepare yourselves for this . . . it is really shocking . . . the name is Vevi in the outline! Mildred Wirt Benson was the person who inexplicably changed her character's name from Veve to Vevi. It was never the publisher's mistake.

I now know where the mistake was made, but I still do not understand why. Surely Benson had not forgotten how to spell her own character's name? Maybe she decided she liked Vevi better, but for the sake of consistency, one would think she would have left the name alone. Perhaps she was writing so many books at that time that she forgot how she had spelled the name. This is a mystery that will never be completely solved.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Saved Searches Aggravation

I stated in a previous post that I could not edit my saved searches on eBay. I cannot edit them from any browser or through any means. The only way I can change them is to enter all of the parameters from eBay's search page and select the option to save my search. I then have to tell it which search to replace. It is very annoying.

I have no intention of telling eBay about the problem. They would tell me to clear my browser's cache as I must be the only person in the world to have this problem. Even if they were to believe me, it would take them months to fix it, and I would still have to find a workaround to the problem.

I had to revise my Nancy Drew searches. I knew that my search results were returning far more items than what the old search did. (Old search, I miss you so much. :( ) I realized what the problem was when I saw results from a seller that I knew I had blocked earlier this year. Sigh. Apparently we can block only ten sellers. The last part of my list of blocked sellers was stripped from the new search. Is this eBay's way of making certain that we have to see the listings of most of the diamond power sellers?

I had to search this blog to find my list of blocked sellers since eBay had changed it. I then took each seller's name from the list and entered it into the seller search function. A few of the sellers have left eBay, so I removed them from my list. Most of the sellers are still listing items, so I checked to see how many Nancy Drew books they have listed. I ended up with nine sellers left in my list.

This is my new blocked sellers list:

buy,ggiezgg,keen_northwest,the-video-bin,bacobook,h4book,
powells_bookstore,massbookstore-online,snowlionbooks

It is important that I have copied and pasted this list here in case I have to do this again. I can see my blocked sellers when I place my cursor over the list on the search results pages, but I cannot copy and paste from that page. I cannot access the edit function for my saved searches, so I cannot get to the list that way. I am so glad that I had saved my list to this blog in recent months!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #24

This is another example of a buyer not knowing that certain books must contain the original text.

Lot 7 VINTAGE Nancy Drew books most w/ dust jackets Item #230347387714

Here is the seller's picture:


Question: can you give copyright years and number of chapters of each with additional pics?

Answer: The Bungalow Mystery-c 1930, 25 chapters The Secret at Shadow Ranch- c 1931, 25 chapters The Secret of Red Gate Farm- c1931, 25 chapters The Clue of the Leaning Chimney- c 1949, 25 chapters The Mystery at the Ski Jump- c 1952, 25 chapters The Clue of the Velvet Mask- c 1953, 25 chapters The Haunted Showboat- c1957, 20 chapters
From the picture, I can tell that Bungalow Mystery is a solid blue book, and all solid blue books have the original text. The remaining books are tweed. Shadow Ranch, Leaning Chimney, Ski Jump, and Velvet Mask were never revised in the tweed format. Those books must have the original text. Haunted Showboat has only 20 chapters, but it never had 25 chapters in the first place, so it is the original text.

The only book that the buyer needed to ask about was Red Gate Farm. Most people who have not seen many Nancy Drew books would not be able to tell that it must also have the original text. The reason I know that the book must have the original text is because the revised text tweed books, #1, 2, 3, 4, and 6, tend to be less thick than the earlier tweed books and are not a bright shade of blue like the book pictured in the auction.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Private Offers on eBay

This topic has come up lately in the comments section of this blog. Here is one of our discussions. The way it works is that someone offers a seller a price that is substantially higher than the opening bid but substantially below the true value of the book. If the seller is foolish enough to take what appears to be an excellent offer, the buyer gets the book at a bargain and the seller loses out.

Recently, a seller came to the eBay Booksellers board after receiving an offer for $2,500. The book was at around $700 at that time. Previous to the $2,500 offer, the seller had received a $750 offer. The seller was seriously considering closing the auction early in order to accept the $2,500 private offer.

PLEASE HELP ~~Rare book, offer $2500, what would you do?

The seller was worried that the book might bring only $1,000 instead of $2,500 and was afraid to lose out on the guaranteed $2,500. Several people stated that in cases like this, the books always close at higher prices than the amounts of the early private offers.

RARE signed This Side of Paradise F Scott Fitzgerald NR

The seller wisely refused the offer, and the book closed at $5,355. The $2,500 offer was less than half of what the auction brought.

This tactic has been used with series books, but normally, it is only used for the scarcest ones. I have frequently seen auctions closed for dust-jacketed first printings of the first seven Nancy Drew books. It has sometimes happened with the last titles in certain series, such as Judy Bolton and Vicki Barr.

I do not believe that it happens very often nowadays for last titles in series because the value has mostly collapsed, due to eBay's folly and the economy. I have seen some surprisingly low prices for scarce books in just the last couple of weeks. For those auctions, people were better off placing lowball bids than making private offers.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #23

I have not done one of these posts since December. I have some closed auctions in my watched items list on eBay, and I will cover some of those in the coming days.

These posts are inspired by prospective buyers' questions that I see in various Nancy Drew auctions on eBay. I use the title "Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew," but it is more a lack of buyer research than anything else.

Whenever I decide to collect another series, my first task is to research the series as best I can. I obtain a list of titles, and I research the publisher and the author and try to figure out which formats are available. Since I am now collecting very obscure series such as Grace Harlowe and Marjorie Dean, I am going on very limited information, but I have armed myself with as much information as I can find. Additionally, what I already know about other series applies to the obscure ones, so I have a good idea how to proceed.

What amazes me is how many people decide to collect Nancy Drew books and try to buy on eBay having completed very little research. They clearly have done some research, since they know that they want the original 25 chapter texts. Their questions indicate that while they have some basic information, they have not viewed this series of posts nor have they viewed my formats page nor my page about the original texts. It continues to frustrate me how much time these people waste asking unnecessary questions when the research is so easy. Nancy Drew is not an obscure series like Grace Harlowe or Marjorie Dean. It is very easy to find substantial useful information about collecting Nancy Drew books and how to tell by sight whether a book contains the original text.

Here is a good example:

Nice Lot (5) Vintage Blue Cover Nancy Drew Books -Keene Item #160340606402

This is the seller's picture:


It contains all of the information we need to know in order to tell whether the books contain the original text.
Question: can you show more pics re: all books and how many chapters do each have? are the listed copyright dates the original for these listed books?

Answer: Thanks for your interest. The listed copyright dates are the only dates listed in the books and judging from the years I would say they were the originals. Chapters and total pages are: Missing Map, 25 Chapters-213 Pgs; Velvet Mask, 25 Chapters and 211 pgs; Tolling Bell, 25 Chapters and 213 pgs; Wooden Lady, 213 pgs; Old Album, 25 Chapters, 218 pgs. Please send me your e-mail address and I can send more pictures. Good Luck & Happy Bidding!!
First, the books from this auction are all either blue or tweed books. All blue books contain the original 25 chapter texts—no exceptions. For the tweed books, the only books that were ever revised were #1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. The auction did not contain any of those titles. Therefore, I know from the above photo that all five books must contain the original 25 chapter text. It is not necessary to ask. I have this information on the page about the original texts which I mention further up in this post.

The buyer asked the seller whether the copyright dates were the original ones, and the seller did not know. Please refer to this page to see a list of the original copyright dates. For the 34 titles listed in the first section of that page, if the books have those copyright dates, they must contain the original 25 chapter text. The seller did list the copyright dates in the description, so even without the photo, there was no doubt that the books contain the original text.

I now fully understand why the Applewood editions have become so valuable. It is not so much that the books are nice but that uninformed buyers know that the Applewood books contain the original text. People who have done no research can be certain that they are buying books with the original text when they buy the Applewood editions. That is the reason.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Brownie Scouts in the Circus Part 3

The outline for The Brownie Scouts in the Circus is titled The Brownies and the Golden Chariot. The characters are described as follows:
Connie Williams, "Master Mind" Jane Tuttle, Veve McGuire, Rosemary Fritche, etc., members of the Brownie troop.

Miss Gordon, leader of the troop.

Jim Cardale, animal trainer

Eve Leitsall, girl bareback circus rider.
In the book, Eve becomes Eva and Mr. Cardale becomes Mr. Carsdale. The description of Jane Tuttle as "Master Mind" intrigues me. This is never mentioned in the books, and Jane Tuttle is not a very important character. It could be that Wirt meant Connie Williams, but Connie is never described as a "Master Mind," either. It is interesting that Veve's name is mentioned third, since Veve is the star of the Brownie Scouts series.

Another difference between the book and the outline is that in the outline, Connie drops her hat during the circus performance, and she and Veve go to retrieve it. In the book, Veve is the one who drops her hat and is scolded for being careless. Veve and Connie go to retrieve the hat. There are a few other minor differences between the book and the outline, but for the most part, the book follows the outline rather closely.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Brownie Scouts in the Circus Part 2

The second Patsy and Pudge outline is very similar to the first outline, but it has been fleshed out a bit more. What makes the second outline special is that upside down on the back of one of the pages is a very rough draft of a letter Wirt was composing. The letter has some typos. I have decided to correct the typos for clarity of reading and have noted where I made corrections.
Dear Sirs:

I am enclosing a plot for a proposed tiny-tot book to be called "Patsy and Pudge at the Circus," which follows the general formula of the well known Bobbsey Twins [typo corrected] for this type of story and which I believe would go well either in the twenty-five [typo corrected] cent market or the fifty cent field.

For my past work included from ninety to a hundred published works. I write the Nancy Drew stories, the Kay Tracey, the Dana Girls, Penny Parker and have a long list of individual mystery stories under my own name and pen. I've also done considerable work for Goldsmith Pub Co in the twenty-five cent field. In the tiny-tot line, my work includes Honey Bunch (Grosset and Dunlap) and Dot and Dash (Cupples).

If you are interested in the type of story I offer, I can assure you of a well written, entertaining book suited to which I can offer either on a royalty basis or a flat price.
This letter helps date the Patsy and Pudge outline. The Dot and Dash series was published from 1938 to 1940, and the Brownie Scouts series was published beginning in 1949. This places the Patsy and Pudge outline somewhere between 1940 and 1949.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Latest Package

I received this package on Saturday:


I had already opened the box when I took the above picture.

It is fine for sellers to reuse boxes, but sellers should turn the boxes inside out whenever a large number of markings are present on a box. I turned boxes inside out for years until I finally decided that the old boxes took up too much space, and it was too time-consuming to reverse the boxes and make them sturdy enough to ship.

The reason why boxes with markings should be reversed is that the extra markings can cause a delay in delivery, especially when bar codes are present. Notice that a bar code is present on the above box. The mail is routed using bar codes, so unrelated bar codes can cause the mail to be routed wrong, even when the bar code is from FedEx or UPS. Just think of what happens when an extra bar code is a recent USPS bar code. The package could get sent back to the seller or to wherever the previous destination of the box was.

I had a package from last year take around four to five weeks to get to me. When I finally received it, I discovered that an old USPS bar code was present on the back of the package. Most likely the package went back and forth a few times before finally arriving. I had been in communication with the seller, so I let the seller know that the old bar code probably caused the delay. Some people have posted evidence online of delivery confirmation numbers showing the back and forth trips of packages. It does happen.

This is what I saw after I opened the top of the box:


The books seem okay, but I have no way of knowing how many corners were bent during shipping. Some of the books are a bit worn, which of course was not mentioned in the description. Actually, there was no description, aside from a picture and a short statement of how many books were in the lot.

I am not dissatisfied with the transaction; it was exactly what I was expecting. I bought the lot because of one book, and I will use the rest of the books to help sell other extras that I have. The purchase was Buy It Now, and this is yet another example of how bulk lot Buy It Now transactions usually turn out. The recent package that I mentioned here in which one book was missing was another bulk lot Buy It Now. The sellers are all like-minded, and the results are very similar.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Brownie Scouts in the Circus Part 1

As reported in previous posts, I purchased some of Mildred Wirt Benson's documents, including several outlines. Among these documents are two drafts of the outline for Patsy and Pudge at the Circus and an outline for The Brownies and the Golden Chariot. All three of these outlines are early versions of what later became the second volume in the Brownie Scouts series, The Brownie Scouts in the Circus.

One of the Patsy and Pudge outlines has some scribbled notes in pencil which are very hard to read. Patsy and Pudge's names are marked out and the scribbled notes mention "Brownies" and "Veve." For those who have not read the Brownie Scouts series, the primary characters are Veve McGuire, Connie Williams, their troop leader, Miss Gordon, and the other girls in the troop.

In the Patsy and Pudge story, Patsy Gordon lives next door to Pudge Willmore. An animal trainer, Jim Cardale, and a boy bareback rider, Elwin Leitsall, are two secondary characters who appear in the story.

Patsy and Pudge dig dandelions in the Gordons' front yard to make money for the children to buy kites. While flying their kites, the children spot a sign advertising a circus. The children plan a circus of their own. Pudge tries walking across a clothesline stretched across a pond and falls into the water. All of these events occur in the Brownie Scouts book, except that Veve is the one who falls in the pond.

The Patsy and Pudge story has an event that does not occur in the Brownie Scouts book. Pudge has to watch the baby, but he wants to leave. He tacks the baby's dress to the floor so he and Patsy can go ask a boy if they might borrow his clown suit.

Other events are also very similar to the events of the Brownie Scouts book. The children have their circus. Neighborhood boys cause a disturbance and leave when a policeman arrives at the circus. The children go to watch the circus as it unloads at the train station. A lion escapes, and the trainer Jim Cardale gets the lion back in its cage.

The children go to the circus with Mr. Gordon. While at the circus, Mr. Gordon's wallet is stolen. The circus detective thinks that the thief is likely "Pickpocket Joe." The children meet the circus rider, Elwin, who acts like living with the circus is the greatest. The next day, Patsy and Pudge get into an open box car and are accidentally carried away when the circus leaves on the train. The children are discovered later, and a telegram is sent to their parents.

The children become better acquainted with Elwin and realize that his life is very hard. Patsy and Pudge know that they are fortunate not to be part of the circus. Mr. Gordon sends a telegram stating that he will arrive later that evening to pick up the children.

Patsy and Pudge learn that Elwin has to perform a new trick that night, and he is afraid. In the margin is the note "a Brownie is not afraid," which is a quote that appears in the Brownie Scouts book.

During that night's show, the children spot the pickpocket, and the man is captured. Mr. Gordon arrives, and the children leave with him.

The Patsy and Pudge outline follows the overall same plot as The Brownie Scouts in the Circus. In the Brownie Scouts book, Mr. Gordon becomes the troop leader, Miss Gordon. Veve is something of a composite of Patsy and Pudge, and Connie takes up part of the role of Patsy. Elwin becomes a girl bareback rider, Eva, in the book.

—to be continued

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Search Update

My feeling right now is that I cannot stand the new search to the point that I want to avoid doing searches. If I do that, then I will not be buying on eBay. I guess I have to suck it up and search away.

My primary complaint is that I do not like the spacing between the items in the results. They seem too far apart. I know the spacing is of minor importance, but it is annoying to me. This is the same problem that eBay created when it overhauled the message boards and everything else in recent months.

I found a link to customize the view. I found that I could make the gallery images smaller. I don't know if reducing the size is truly a good idea, but I did it and the items are now closer together in the list. It is harder to see the items in the pictures, which is why I'm not sure that reducing the size of the images is altogether a good idea. However, the small pictures make the results look more like they did on the old search, and that is all I want. Small pictures it is. In case anyone else dislikes the spacing, reducing the image size does help.

I also just figured out that I have been defaulted back to Best Match again. Make sure when you do your searches that they are sorted the way you want. In "customize view" on the first page of your search results, select "advanced options" and make your default "ending soonest" or whatever you prefer. Uggh! I have to run my search again. I did not want Best Match.

New Item Pages, New Search

I have complaints, and the purpose of this post is to complain about them. All of the eBay cheerleaders just need to deal with it. The reason I say this is that often when I complain about eBay, a cheerleader shows up and berates me for it. I have a right to complain about eBay, since I still use it.

I was opted into the new item pages yesterday. Well, the new item pages are not that bad, but I preferred the old ones. I think the tabs are really stupid. I looked at a closed auction that I was watching, and I could not believe how many ads were at the top of the page. They took up the whole screen, and I had to scroll down to see the closed auction. Do I really need that many sample items that I might be interested in? They are useless to me since I never click on them. I am perfectly capable of browsing all of the Nancy Drew books by searching for Nancy Drew and sorting by "ending soonest." I will see any books of interest to me.

I still have to access my saved searches page from Google Chrome, which by the way, I am getting better at using. Google Chrome is an awesome browser. The problem is that eBay's new item pages are rendered oddly in Google Chrome. Take this one, for instance:

Lot of Vintage Books - Collectible - 11 Books

It looks fine in Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer, but in Google Chrome, the listing has a vertical scroll bar that is really obnoxious. This is what I mean:

I have to use the extra vertical scroll bar that is within the listing in order to view the last part of the seller's description. How idiotic is that? The first rule of web design is to make certain that websites are rendered correctly in all browsers. What is wrong with the fools who are working for eBay? What is wrong with eBay?

I looked at my own descriptions for my current and recent auctions, and they have the delightful vertical scroll bar. #%&@*!!! All descriptions that are longer than the height of the browser window will have vertical scroll bars in Google Chrome. So I use Google Chrome to avoid the problems that I have with Firefox and Internet Explorer on eBay, so eBay cooks up a problem that is unique to Google Chrome. I can't win!

It was my auction for some Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys Super Mysteries that I checked to see if it had a vertical scroll bar, so eBay's home page shows me this:

I am selling the Super Mysteries, eBay; I do not want to buy them. I know I looked at a listing for the Super Mysteries, but I was the seller. Don't you get it?

And if that is not enough....

We have all been opted into the "new and improved" search today. All of my visited links are gone, since the new search is a different URL from the old search. I will be clicking on lots of items again this week since I will not know whether I have clicked on them.

I also do not like the layout of the new search any better than I like the layout of the "new and improved" message boards or the "new and improved" My eBay. I will get used to it, but I expect it to take a week or so. I have not seen any really funky results yet, but I find the new search pages harder to read than the old search pages.

Worst of all, the new search is also messed up in Google Chrome. When I click on an item and view it, I then hit the back button and should have the page stay where I was when I clicked on the link. But no! The page remains at the top so I have to scroll down. Double #%&@*!!!

This has been a recurring problem for the new search since October 2008. It has happened at times in all browsers but not for all users. When the problem first surfaced, eBay told users that it was their fault. Too many people have had this problem for too many months for it just to be the fault of the users. Please.

Someone defended eBay on the search message board (which will be my favorite place today since I love reading all of the fallout) by saying that eBay is a large company and it is hard to fix problems. Huh? Have the programmers look at the code! I understand that the problem might be hard to fix, but it has been eight months! That is plenty of time! As the Bonanzle site is getting built, there are problems that arise, but Bill, who is the programmer of the site, gets those problems fixed within one week! EBay surely has more than one programmer, so they should be able to fix their problems in fewer than eight months!

Remember that "misery loves company," so if any of you are having problems, I would love to read about them. And if you are happy about the changes, I am sincerely happy for you. Fortunately some people like the changes. I just happen not to be one of them.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Transaction Stuff

I had a question about my first printing of Nancy Drew #1 on Bonanzle. I was asked, "Are there any other titles of Nancy Drew books listed on the copyright page above the copyright date?" This kind of question really frustrates me.

The copyright page has no significance whatsoever in the determination of the first printing status for 55 of the 56 original Nancy Drew books. The only exception is the first printing of Larkspur Lane which has a really bizarre copyright page which is undoubtedly a mistake. The first printing of Larkspur Lane has this on the copyright page:


COPYRIGHT, 1932, 1933, BY
GROSSET AND DUNLAP, INC.
First Printing, August, 1932
Second Printing, September, 1932
Revised and Enlarged Edition
First Printing, September, 1933
All Rights Reserved


The copyright page of the first printing of Larkspur Lane makes it sound like a later printing. In this case, the novice collector would draw the wrong conclusion, and it is the only volume for which the copyright page actually means something.

I sent this rather detailed response to the prospective buyer of Old Clock:
The copyright page lists Old Clock, Hidden Staircase, and Bungalow Mystery. The first three Nancy Drew books were issued simultaneously in the spring of 1930, so all three titles appear on the first printing of Old Clock. The next eight printings also have the first three titles listed on the copyright page because the copyright pages were updated only occasionally. This means that the copyright page should never be used to determine first printing status for Nancy Drew books.

For Old Clock, the point that makes this the first printing is that the first post-text ad lists only eight Hardy Boys titles. The second printing lists nine Hardy Boys titles. I photographed the Hardy Boys post-text ad as proof that this is the first printing. That is the point that clinches it.
I know that my response was read, since Bonanzle marks sent messages as read, but I never received a response, and the book was not purchased. I hope I answered the prospective buyer's question.

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On the subject of buyer questions, I had a lot of 16 Dana Girls books with 2 Nancy Drew books for sale on eBay. A prospective buyer asked, "What are the 2 Judy Bolton books?" I am mystified that a buyer thought that the lot contained Judy Bolton books when I never mentioned Judy Bolton books. It is as though the buyer read "Nancy Drew" as "Judy Bolton." I even read through my description to make certain that I did not mention Judy Bolton accidentally.

What I wonder is whether eBay, in its relentless idiocy, is now showing loosely related items in its new search. Could Dana Girls and Nancy Drew books be showing in a Judy Bolton search? I am talking about listings that do not have Judy Bolton mentioned at all. I'm still on the old search, and I am not about to switch to new search early in order to test it out. The fateful day for the end of old search is June 10, by the way...

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So, I bought some books. A day after payment, I received this message:
Do you want to insure your package for another $2.75? I am not responsible if the post office loses it.
I was offended. Why is it always my fault when something goes wrong? When I am the seller, it is my fault, and when I am the buyer, it is also my fault. For those of you who do not avidly read the message boards, insurance is for the protection of the seller, not the buyer. The buyer already effectively has insurance by paying through PayPal. This is why eBay went to payment through PayPal only. All that a buyer has to do is file a claim through PayPal stating that the package was not received. Unless the seller can prove receipt with a delivery confirmation number that shows that the package was delivered, then the buyer gets a refund.

The above is what I wanted to tell the seller, but instead I tactfully stated that as long as the books are packed in a sturdy box and the address label affixed properly, then we should have no problems. The only purchases for which I have problems are the ones in which the seller uses slipshod packaging.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Book Press Trial #2

I placed some books in my book press a week ago. The books had a lot of spine slant, and I hope to sell them at some point in the near future. I think I will do better with these particular books if they have less spine slant.

I checked on the books today. They definitely have less spine slant than they did a week ago. I placed the books back in the press, and I plan to leave them in there at least a few more days and possibly a week or more.

The first time I tried the press, I only kept the books in for a few days. It is no surprise that the results are better when the books are left in the press for a longer period of time. However, the age of the books may be the more important factor. These books are not old books, unlike the books I used the first time I tried out the book press. These books have bindings that are still supple, so they are responding well to the straightening.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Incorrectly Numbered Nancy Drew Dust Jackets

In 1950, Grosset and Dunlap revised the dust jackets for ten Nancy Drew titles, #1 through #9 and #11, changing from the white spine dust jackets to the wraparound dust jackets. The first wraparound dust jackets for all ten volumes list to Wooden Lady on the front flap. A mistake was made with the first printings of the revised dust jackets for #2, 5, 8, and 11. These four jackets each ended up with the wrong number on the spine. Hidden Staircase had #8 on the spine; Shadow Ranch had #11 on the spine; Mysterious Letter had #2 on the spine; and Broken Locket had #5 on the spine.

As soon as the incorrect numbers were noticed, the numbers were hole-punched from the spines of the dust jackets. The mistake was caught so quickly that very few of the the dust jackets with the incorrect numbers made it into circulation. I estimate that around 90% to 99% of the surviving dust jackets for the first wraparound printings of these four volumes are hole-punched. It is rare to find one that is not hole-punched and that actually has the wrong number on it.

Farah's Guide assigns the hole-punched jackets for these four volumes a value of $120.00 each. He assigns the incorrectly numbered jackets a value of $300.00 each. Keep in mind that the Farah's Guide value is for dust jackets that have minimal wear and chipping. Even so, I disagree with Farah's assessment of the values of these dust jackets. He assigns all four volumes the same value; yet, the four jackets do not show up with the same frequency. Since scarcity factors into the value of a book, the four jackets should have different values since they are unequally scarce.

I have had all four hole-punched jackets for years. It was easiest to acquire the hole-punched Mysterious Letter. In fact, I have had a number of extras pass through my hands. I feel like the hole-punched Mysterious Letter is only worth around $50.00 or so, not the $120.00 quoted in Farah's Guide. The hole-punched Hidden Staircase is a little harder to find, but it is somewhat common as well. Shadow Ranch and Broken Locket are the two hardest to find hole-punched jackets, so these two are the ones that are worth the most.

There is also an interesting anomaly in which many mid-1950s tweed copies of #8 with hole-punched jackets have shown up over the years. I have had several of these in my possession at one time or another. A bunch of the hole-punched dust jackets for Mysterious Letter were probably laying around someplace and were placed on a bunch of tweed books in the mid-1950s. It was hard for me to get a #8 hole-punched jacket that was actually matched up with the correct blue silhouette endpapers book.

The incorrectly numbered dust jackets are much harder to find than the hole-punched ones. Hidden Staircase with the #8 on the spine is unquestionably the easiest one of the four to find. Make no mistake that it is very scarce, but I have one in my collection and have had two others pass through my hands. I would not quite call it rare. In my opinion, the incorrectly numbered Hidden Staircase is probably worth around $150.00, not the $300.00 quoted in Farah's Guide.

The remaining three incorrectly numbered dust jackets are extremely elusive and brutally hard to find. I cannot state which of the remaining three is the hardest to find, although I have my suspicions based on which ones I own. The incorrectly numbered jackets for #5, 8, and 11 just about never come up for sale, so when one does, it must be grabbed regardless of condition. The incorrectly numbered dust jackets for #5, 8, and 11 are easily worth more than the $300.00 quoted in Farah's Guide, provided that they are in excellent condition, due to their extreme scarcity.

I mentioned this auction win of mine in a comment a few days back:

1932 Nancy Drew Nancy's Mysterious Letter HBDJ ERROR? Item #330331955788

The auction was for Nancy's Mysterious Letter with #2 on the dust jacket and closed at $153.51.


While the dust jacket is a bit tattered, I had to have it since I had no idea when I would ever have another chance to get an incorrectly numbered Mysterious Letter dust jacket. I have been looking for these dust jackets for 12 years.

While I have all four hole-punched dust jackets, I only have the incorrectly numbered dust jackets for Hidden Staircase and Mysterious Letter. I almost have an incorrectly numbered dust jacket for Shadow Ranch. Check it out:



The hole missed the first digit of the 11, so this is why I kind of have an incorrectly numbered dust jacket of Shadow Ranch. While the jacket is just the hole-punched version, it is like a deluxe hole-punched version. It will have to do until I someday find an intact 11. Did you know that every single time I get a hole-punched jacket that I check the reverse side immediately just in case the punched-out part is clinging somehow to the jacket? I've never had any luck, but I am ever hopeful.

Closed Polls - eBay and Sleuth Friends

Two polls recently closed:


In this first poll, I asked whether people prefer sleuths who sleuth alone or with friends. 10% prefer sleuths who sleuth alone; 70% prefer sleuths who sleuth with friends; and 20% have no preference.


In the second poll, I asked how happy buyers and sellers are with eBay. The seller response was not surprising. Of the 44 people who responded to that part of the poll, 11% are happy, and 89% are unhappy.

The buyer part of the poll surprised me a bit. I have been an unhappy buyer for several years, but I thought that I was in the minority. While I am in the minority since more buyers are happy than unhappy, far more buyers are unhappy than I realized. I now know that I am not alone in how I feel. 61 people answered the buyer part of the poll. 59% are happy, and 41% are unhappy.