Thursday, July 29, 2010

Listings That Make You Go "Hmm."

Sometimes I read an eBay listing, and I have to shake my head in wonder. Here are some examples.

1931 1st Red Covers LINDA CARLTON'S ISLAND ADVENTURE DJ

This auction is for a Saalfield edition of Linda Carlton's Island Adventure which has a dust jacket. The seller wants $49.00 for the book. The listing states:
Very hard to find First Edition hardcover with dust jacket and protective transparent sleeve. A true 1931 first edition with red covers. Third in a series.

Primary indications of a first edition:

* last book title printed on jacket's back panel is "Island Adventure"
* Book is bound in red cloth, typical of a first edition from 1931.
* Copyright date printed in Roman numeral is 1931.
Saalfield was a reprint house, and as far as I know, none of the books were first printings. That in itself is all that we need to know. Island Adventure is the last title listed because Saalfield only reprinted the first three books. All Saalfield Linda Carlton books list to Island Adventure.

The part about the red cloth is just plain bizarre. Does the seller think that all red cloth books from 1931 must be first printings? I have to wonder if the seller is aware of the early Hardy Boys books in the red cloth binding and has the Linda Carlton books confused with the Hardy Boys books.

What does the copyright date of 1931 in Roman numerals have to do with anything?

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Lot 3 CAROLYN KEENE NANCY DREW 1930 Facsimile HC Books

This lot is supposedly for three Applewood Nancy Drew facsimile editions. My problem is the photo.


These look like old Grosset and Dunlap books to me. Perhaps the color is way off on the seller's photo, and they are really Applewood editions. Most Applewood editions have been kept in nice shape, and these look like old books with some wear and tear. I also see a few stains.

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Beverly Gray Treasure Hunt, Clair Blank DUST JACKET 1ST

A reader of this blog brought this one to my attention. First off, the seller plagiarized a large portion of my Beverly Gray page. I never understand why sellers do this. Do they not realize that anyone who actually cares about buying a Beverly Gray book is already aware of this information?

The "Hmm" part is this portion of the listing, which is one of the few parts that I did not write. The seller stated, "I believe this may be a First Edition because this title is the last title listed on the Copyright Page which is usually good evidence. However, the dust jacket list extends to 'Beverly Gray's Mystery' so I am not sure."

The copyright page is never accurate. Aside from that, if the jacket lists to Beverly Gray's Mystery, isn't that a good sign that the book was probably not printed until around the time that Beverly Gray's Mystery was first published? This book is not anywhere near a first printing.

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The Clue in the Diary by Carolyn Keene (1932, HC)

This one is funny. Here is a screen cap of the title and subtitle.


I have to buy thirty books to get free shipping! Isn't that a bit extreme? My first thought is that this is a typo, but the seller has dozens of listings with the same subtitle.

Friday, July 23, 2010

eBay Is in Trouble

Nothing could be more clear to me. EBay is in trouble, and they know it. If you have seven minutes to spare, then watch John Lawson of ColderICE.com explain eBay's earnings report.



The upshot of it is that eBay reported a 2% growth year-over-year during the 2nd quarter, thus making it sound like eBay is doing okay. The trouble is that eBay was at a 6% growth year-over-year at the end of the 1st quarter, meaning that eBay has experienced a 4% net decrease during the 2nd quarter. EBay's revenue declined despite higher fees and fewer power seller discounts. Oh, dear.

During eBay's earnings report, eBay CEO John Donahoe concentrated on how well PayPal is doing and mentioned the marketplace eBay.com very little. The only reason that the overall corporation is doing fine is because of PayPal's revenue. If eBay did not own PayPal, it would be in a tailspin. Actually, the eBay marketplace is in a tailspin.

John Donahoe admitted that Best Match is not working well. Big surprise. Remember that eBay first gave fixed-price listings preferential treatment over auctions, which was part of the process that ultimately caused me to leave eBay for Bonanzle. Beginning sometime in the last year, eBay changed Best Match to make auctions more visible than fixed-price items. Donahoe just announced that... prepare yourselves... Best Match will be tweaked again to give fixed-price items better visibility. Plan A did not work, so eBay went to Plan B. Plan B did not work, so eBay is going back to Plan A. How do you spell stupid?

I have no respect for eBay's executives. They fail to understand their marketplace. We need items sorted by "ending soonest." Could we please change back to that default?

Remember that eBay began making all these changes in order to compete with Amazon. It should be noted that Amazon's 2nd quarter sales increased by a whopping 41%. How's that working out for you, eBay?

If you are a seller who is disenchanted with eBay, please join me on Bonanzle. The fees are much lower, and Bonanzle is steadily gaining ground. It is still a very new site, and our main problem is that a large number of buyers mindlessly search eBay with no understanding of the huge e-commerce world outside eBay. This is great for the people who keep selling on eBay, but somehow I don't think most of those sellers are doing so well on eBay anymore.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

eBay Selling Rants!

My rants are complaints about using eBay!
  1. I don't like having to send shipping notices. I send them right after I have generated a PayPal label, and I know that PayPal just sent a shipping notice. As a buyer, I delete all shipping notices whether sent by the seller or by PayPal. So as a seller, I dislike having to send them, since I know some buyers (**me**) absolutely hate the unnecessary messages. I have to send the messages in order to avoid low DSRs from the buyers who happen to like receiving all of the extra messages.

  2. When I click to send a shipping message to a buyer, the title of the message is so darned long! Example: "the.bgs has sent a question about item #260633628516, that ended on Jul-15-10 21:55:14 PDT - Nancy Drew #20 Clue in Jewel Box Applewood Original DJ." What?! Why does the title contain every piece of data imaginable about the item? Sometimes I delete everything up to the beginning of the item number and then take out everything between the comma and the hyphen. More recently, I have deleted everything and simply retitled my message "Shipping Notice."

  3. I prefer to send my shipping notices after I have generated the shipping label. Unless I stay on the same screen in My eBay, the item has been removed from the list of items needing to be shipped and placed in with the rest. I nearly sent a shipping notice to someone who had not paid! Therefore, I am trying to remember to send the shipping notices before I generate the labels.

  4. I cannot display accurate shipping information for both domestic and international transactions. EBay does not allow for me to charge a handling fee for domestic transactions when I elect to ship internationally. The only way for calculated shipping to be correct for domestic (media mail) is to raise the weight of the package to around four to five pounds above the actual weight, which makes the calculated shipping for international to be way above the correct amount. The only way shipping can be correct for both is for flat rate shipping, but I cannot use that option when I need to charge above $4.00 for domestic.

  5. I easily end up with mistakes on eBay's unwieldy Sell Your Item form. I'll spare you the details on why I end up with errors, but it is very annoying. I have to revise the listings when errors occur, and then I risk having the items removed from search, not to be indexed until hours later.

  6. EBay has no place to print a simple packing slip or invoice from within My eBay. Users must go to PayPal for a simple packing slip. The "order details" page could be used, but that page has extra stuff on it, such as an ad at the top of the page. Does eBay need money so badly that ads are necessary on the majority of pages?

  7. When a buyer asks a question after a listing has closed, eBay removes all identifying information about the listing from the message. The message's title is the short and unhelpful "--- has sent a message." This is the extreme opposite of the messages with the long titles.

    I received a question from a buyer after one of my listings had closed, and the buyer asked whether I would relist the book. I had no idea which book the buyer meant since eBay stripped all identifying information from the message. I had to ask the buyer to clarify. Does eBay want to make communication hard for buyers and sellers? It sure seems so.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Seller Dashboard(s)

I decided that it would be a good time to annoy myself. I have become so detached to eBay that I had not viewed my seller dashboard in a long time. I actually have two of them now, so I can have double the annoyance! Well, actually, one of them looks great. My low feedback ID has a very nice looking seller dashboard:

My ratings are high and look good, although they will soon go down since I've been left some lower ratings. Now for my high feedback ID:

Ouch. I knew that I had two one-star DSRs that had been left for me in the past year, but seeing confirmation in red is never pleasing. Buyers are told by eBay that the DSRs are anonymous, but I sure hope none of you actually believe that bit of propaganda. I know exactly who left me those low DSRs. How do I know? Why, because my DSRs on my feedback page dropped immediately after I was left the low DSRs. While the seller dashboard does not update regularly, the feedback page updates immediately. Any seller who is not a power seller knows exactly which buyers leave the low ratings.

The one-star shipping DSR was left earlier this year. I received that DSR because I did not offer media mail on a transaction since I did not feel that the content qualified for media mail. The one-star communication DSR was left back in the fall sometime. That one was unquestionably not deserved since I did remember to send a message to that buyer stating that the books had been shipped. I can understand a buyer not leaving a high rating for the times that I have forgotten to send a special message stating that the item has shipped, even though I know that the buyer received a shipping notice from eBay and/or PayPal. Perhaps that buyer wanted me to send two or three messages like some sellers do.

I began selling on Bonanzle for two reasons. First, eBay had demoralized me through its use of the DSRs and the seller dashboard. EBay has backed off from the hard line approach of late 2008, but that came too late for me. Second and caused by the first, I had a very low sell-through rate due to my demotion in search, and I could not justify continuing on eBay.

I was right to go to Bonanzle, because eBay has made further destructive changes such as adding store items to the core search. In my recent eBay selling experience, a majority of my items did not sell. Fortunately, I did not pay listing fees on those items. As usual, my DSRs have been volatile, since while most buyers have left high ratings, a few have left low ratings.

When a buyer leaves a four or a five, the averages tend to stay the same. When a buyer leaves a one, two, or three, the average goes down noticeably for people like me who have very few DSRs. While it takes many high values to raise an average, one low value immediately lowers it.

Depending upon what happens with the rest of the feedback I will soon receive, there is a very real chance that I may not be able to participate in eBay's next promotion. All that I need is probably one person to leave me low values, and my averages will be destroyed. If that happens, I will go to a third ID for any future selling.

When I first started selling on Bonanzle, a buyer criticized Bonanzle because she felt it was too easy to create an ID without verification of identity. That buyer was not aware that eBay also requires no verification of identity. All that is needed is an email address. For free email addresses such as Yahoo!, the user also needs a credit card. It is very easy to create as many IDs as one wants or needs, so it is futile for eBay to punish sellers the way it does. By creating a new ID, a seller can dump the old DSRs and begin anew.

I should also mention that I feel like my low feedback ID had slightly better exposure during my latest round of selling, so eBay rewards new IDs. Consider that a seller's old ID can get bad DSRs and be punished by eBay, but then that seller can create a new ID with no DSRs and be rewarded by eBay with better exposure. Does this make sense?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Trixie Belden #15 Original Artwork

The artwork for the deluxe edition of Trixie Belden and the Mystery on the Mississippi sold for $1,402.78.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Nancy Drew Values Part 2 - Picture Covers

While the values of the dust-jacketed edition Nancy Drew books seem to have gone down, the values of most picture cover edition Nancy Drew books have increased dramatically. Many of the picture cover edition Nancy Drew books now sell for much higher prices than the values in Farah's Guide.

The first printing picture cover editions, which list to Fire Dragon on the back cover and to Dancing Puppet on the inside when an interior list is present, seem to be the exception. I do not find that these books necessarily sell for the values quoted in Farah's Guide, which range from around $15 to around $25. Sometimes the books do sell for the quoted values, but I have often seen them sell for less.

The average picture cover book from the 1960s that is not a first printing picture cover is valued at around $6 in Farah's Guide. I find that people will eagerly pay between $6 and $10 for these books. Many of the current collectors are more concerned with getting original text books from the 1960s rather than with getting the very first picture cover printing.

The first printing picture cover of #7, which is the only 1932 text printing in picture cover, is valued at $50. I suspect that the actual value for one in nice shape is quite a bit higher. Most copies of this book that surface are in rough shape. I have seen several of them sell at around $50 that are in rough shape, so one in nice shape should sell for $75 or more. The second printing picture cover of #7, which is the first printing of the 1962 text, is valued at $25. $25 is significantly higher than what the second printing picture cover book normally brings.

The first printing of #41 with the tri-fold ad is valued at $100. I have seen it sell for $25 up to around $130, or possibly a little higher. It is hard to nail down an exact value for this volume, so $100 is a good estimate.

The second printing of #41, which is just like the first printing except that it is missing the tri-fold ad, is valued at $25. I find that the second printing usually sells for no more than around $10. People want the tri-fold.

The "man with pipe" cover art of Broken Locket went through three printings. The first two printings have the 1934 text while the third printing has the 1965 text. Farah assigns the first and third printings a value of $50, and the second printing a value of $20. I find the "man with pipe" artwork to be no longer that difficult to find, and it seldom sells for anywhere near $50.

The third printing of the "man with pipe" cover art that has the 1965 text is much more difficult to find than the other two printings. For that reason, if the first printing picture cover is actually worth the quoted $50, then the third printing should be worth much more. However, most people do not seem to be that interested in the 1965 text version except for advanced collectors, so perhaps the values of the first and third printings are about the same, and not anywhere near $50.

The first printing of #44 Crossword Cipher lists to Pine Hill and is valued at $30 in Farah's Guide. One recently sold for $104.72, and it is extremely hard to find, so I am confident that it is worth much more than $30. On a side note, I have a Crossword Cipher that lists to Pine Hill but has an interior list not mentioned in Farah's Guide. I'm not sure what I have, and others need to be careful about copies listing to Pine Hill until more is known.

The picture cover books from the 1970s are valued at $5 in Farah's Guide. Many sellers price these books below the current value when Farah's Guide is cited. I have sold many of these books for around $6 to $9. These books are now in demand due to the age of the current collectors.

The 1975 final cover art for #34 is somewhat scarce. The first printing of this art is valued at $9 in Farah's Guide. I sold one recently for $19.99, and it did not take long to sell.

The first printing of the 1976 cover art for #17 is valued at $15, and it seems to be a bit more scarce than the 1975 cover art to #34. For that reason, this book is probably worth more than $20. It comes up for sale quite infrequently.

The subsequent printings of the 1976 cover art to #17 and the 1975 cover art to #34 are valued at just $5 in Farah's Guide. I have sold copies of these printings of these two books for $6 to $10 each.

The first printing of #55 is valued at $25, and this is fairly accurate, although it sometimes sells for both higher and lower prices. The second printing of #55 is valued at $5, and it usually sells for $10 and up.

The first printing of #56, which lists Triple Hoax in plain text, is valued at $25. I have seen it sell for $35 to $55 numerous times. The second printing of #56, which lists Triple Hoax in italics, is valued at $12. It frequently sells for $25 to $35. The third printing of #56, which lists Old Clock as the next book, is valued at $5. It sells for $15 to $25, and occasionally higher. The printings of #56 with double oval endpapers are valued at $3, and I have seen them sell for $15 to $25.

All of the double oval endpapers picture covers from the early 1980s are valued at $3.00 each. I recently sold a lot of 40 picture covers with double oval endpapers for $250, which was the result of a bidding war. This averaged out to $6.25 per book, plus postage. While this was a high price, it does indicate that the books with double oval endpapers are likely now worth more than $3.00 each.

While the tweed books with dust jackets seem to have fallen in value, the picture cover editions have risen. The current buyers of Nancy Drew books apparently are more interested in buying the picture cover editions. While the printings with the original text from the 1960s are still more desirable, the printings from the 1970s with the revised text are now more in demand than they were a few years ago.