Friday, June 29, 2012

Nancy Drew #24 The Clue in the Old Album

In Nancy Drew #24, The Clue in the Old Album, Nancy is asked to find out what happened to a missing doll. Mrs. Struthers recalls that her daughter's last request was for her to find a missing doll and that there was a "clue in the old album."

Nancy learns that Enid Struthers was married to Romano Pepito, a gypsy who apparently abandoned Enid and her daughter, Rose. Rose now lives with her grandmother, Mrs. Struthers. Rose is out of control and needs a father figure.

Mrs. Struthers tells Nancy about a strange quote from the album which sounds ominous.
The source of light will heal all ills, but a curse will follow him who takes it from the gypsies!
This is a very enjoyable mystery. I did have a few moments of confusion due to how both texts presented Enid Struthers' last words. One page gives what "almost her last words were" and another page gives "her last words." Then Nancy refers to the "almost her last words" as "her last words." Ugh. I read through this part more than once in both texts, since it kept confusing me. The "almost last words" had to do with the missing doll and the "last words" had to do with the clue in the old album... I think.

Nancy and George are the two who hear the story about the "almost last words" and "last words," and Mrs. Struthers makes them promise to tell no one. Yet, Bess helps solve the mystery in the rest of the book. Nothing is ever mentioned about getting permission to tell Bess, but I don't know that Bess ever indicates that she knows about Enid's last words. However, Bess had to have been told or else she would have had no idea what was going on. This seems strange.

I am pretty sure that the original text of Old Album is the first appearance of Nancy's Aunt Eloise Drew in the series. It is hard for me to keep track, since I am reading the revised and original texts at the same time. Aunt Eloise has shown up in revised texts of earlier titles, but those revised texts came after this original text.

The revised text, page 144, mentions "the manufacture of television apparatus." "Television apparatus" is a bizarre phrase for nowadays, and I can't help but feel that it is a little strange for 1977. Not surprisingly, those words come from the 1947 text. More is mentioned in the 1947 text on page 180 that was removed from the revised text. Bill mentions in the original text that Thomas Smith is going to be televised and that "unless someone tells him, he won't even know about it. The new equipment we installed is marvelous."

Huh. I guess they had hidden cameras in 1947...

The original text has a subplot in which Nancy buys a boat so that she, Bess, and George can compete in a race. The girls sail the boat home and encounter a storm. Later, Nancy leaves Bess and George after calling home and learning of a crisis at the Struthers home. This then causes Nancy to go after Bess and George later when they fail to return with the boat. The original text concludes with the actual boat race, and I'm sure you can guess whether the girls win, even if you have not read the book.

The entire boat subplot is missing from the revised text, which made it rather easy for the Syndicate to shorten the book from 25 chapters to 20 chapters. Very little text from the main mystery was removed, so the main part of the story is equally good in both texts.

Some minor parts of the boat subplot do remain in the revised text, such as a picnic that Nancy attends with Rose and an incident in which Nancy gets forced off the road near the yacht club.

I equally enjoyed both the original and revised text versions of this story. The boat subplot is an interesting part of the original text, so the original text is a slighter better story.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Books by Oklahoma Authors

During the spring, I bought a book basket that was sold as part of a fundraiser. The theme of the book basket was "Books by Oklahoma Authors." I decided to purchase the books since the basket was just $10.00, knowing that I might find an interesting book to read. I have read three of the books.

Two of the books, Night Fires by George Edward Stanley and Trapped in Death Cave by Bill Wallace, are set in Oklahoma. This is a rare treat to read a children's book that is set in Oklahoma and written by an Oklahoma author. All of my previous experiences with books set in Oklahoma have been bad, because the authors know nothing about the state and mess up details that a little bit of research would fix.

One horrific example is the only Nancy Drew book I would recommend burning, #156 The Mystery in Tornado Alley. That author messed up a town and a city. The book features the city of Medicine Bluff, which has a university, and the nearby small town of Lawton. In real life, the small town is Medicine Park, and the nearby city with a university is Lawton. Unforgivable.

And don't get me started about the unrealistic information about tornadoes, which is why every copy should be burned. Children could read this book and believe that they could be sucked into an EF5 tornado and set down gently on the ground. Why take cover from a tornado after reading that? I'm glad the stupid book is out of print.

You can understand why reading a book set in Oklahoma that is written by an Oklahoma author is a real pleasure for me. I can avoid utter stupidity.

Night Fires is set in Lawton, Oklahoma approximately 100 years ago. A thirteen-year-old white boy, Woodrow Harper, moves to Lawton with his mother. They also visit nearby Medicine Park, which is correctly described as a small town. Thank you! Their home in Lawton is next to the home of Senator Crawford, a white man who befriends Woodrow. Woodrow's father has recently died, and Woodrow sees the Senator as a father figure.

Woodrow learns that the Senator is the Grand Wizard of the Lawton Ku Klux Klan. He is torn between what he has always believed and what the Klan believes. Woodrow is pulled at least partially into the Klan due to his desire to please Senator Crawford. Ultimately, Woodrow makes the right decision, but not without a great price.

I found this book to be very interesting and was drawn in by the powerful message.

Trapped in Death Cave is set in Medicine Park, Oklahoma. Gary's grandfather died in a fishing accident. Gary believes that his grandfather was murdered, because he knew the location of a million dollars that was hidden in a cave.

I found this book slow at the beginning and not very interesting. After several chapters, I became very interested and read the book quickly, wanting to know how the story would play out. The climax of the book is quite terrifying. This book would appeal to any child who enjoys reading about thrilling adventures.

The third book is Stolen by the Sea by Anna Myers. This book tells the story of Maggie McKenna who lived in Galveston, Texas in 1900 at the time of the devastating hurricane that struck the city. The characters in the book are fictitious, but the author incorporated real events into the story. In the author's note at the end of the book, Anna Myers wrote:
Everything that happened during the storm to one of my characters actually hapened to someone who told about his or her experience in that wonderful old book [that was published shortly after the storm and was full of eyewitness accounts of the storm].
Knowing that the events of this story are based on actual events makes the story quite moving.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mystery of the Witches' Bridge

Mystery of the Witches' Bridge by Barbee Oliver Carleton is a Scholastic softcover edition that was reprinted from the original hardcover edition, The Witches' Bridge, published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc. in 1967. The book is 304 pages long.

From the back cover:
‎EVIL haunts the Witches' Bridge. . .the foggy marshes. . .the old Pride house!

Now young Dan Pride has come to live there. Can he escape the terror that hangs over Witches' Bridge?

That night, Dan sees a weird light, flickering out on the marsh.

"D-A-N," the light spells out in code. "DAN PRIDE..."

The book tells the story of thirteen-year-old Dan Pride, who was orphaned three years before the beginning of the story. Dan has come to live at Pride's Point, which is located in the marshes near York. York is somewhere near Boston, Massachusetts, although the exact location is never stated in the book.

The Pride family has been in a feud with the Bishop family for ages. Old Samuel Pride and his wife were accused of witchcraft by the Bishop family. Now, 300 years later, the feud between the Prides and the Bishops continues, and the people of York are terrified of the marsh and look down on the Pride family.

Dan is persecuted by the townspeople. Even worse, Dan's uncle, Julian Pride, acts like he wants nothing to do with Dan. The hired man, Billy Ben Corey, is Dan's only friend until Dan meets two children his own age, twins Pip and Gilly Cole.

But all is not as it seems. Dan discovers that everyone has secrets, that friends might be foes, and that those believed to be foes could become friends.

The backdrop is the spooky marsh, which is full of danger. Above all, Dan wants a home. He hopes to end the feud by discovering what happened to a missing briefcase. However, Dan soon learns that he has a formidable enemy who will stop at nothing to prevent Dan from finding the briefcase.

This is the type of book that I love the best. The protagonist is an ordinary boy who discovers mystery in his own backyard, so to speak. My favorite books have always been this type of story.

If you have read the Trixie Belden books, think of the setting of the first six books, which mostly take place right around Trixie's home. Those books are magical, and Mystery of the Witches' Bridge is just as magical. I do not mean that this book is like the Trixie Belden books; it is different, but I felt the same magic as I read this book that I feel when I revisit any of my favorite books. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. A number of copies are available for purchase online, and I highly recommend that you read it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nancy Drew #23 Mystery of the Tolling Bell

In Nancy Drew #23, The Mystery of the Tolling Bell, Nancy Drew travels to Candleton with Bess and George in order to solve a mystery involving one of Mr. Drew's clients. Fortunately for Nancy, Ned Nickerson just happens to be staying near Candleton "to sell insurance to parents of two college friends." That's very convenient.

Early in the story, Nancy is told that her father is ill at a certain hotel. Before Nancy can leave for the hotel, she receives a warning call not to go to the hotel. Of course, Nancy ignores the second call. The entire hotel scene is odd. The doctor at the hotel acts mysterious for no reason.

I am puzzled about parts of the hotel scene. The doctor says that he had the manager call Nancy to tell her that her father is at the hotel. We learn at the end of the story that the manager is working with the villains. I am more than a little surprised that the manager calls Nancy when he is working with the villains. It doesn't quite add up.

The manager's wife is the person who warns Nancy not to come, and this is supposedly against the villain's plans according to a statement by the manager near the end of the story. Oddly, the villains act like they want Nancy out of the hotel, which seems to go with the wife's wishes. I am confused.

As I read the revised text, I found that I did not care about any of the swindled people. As I read the original text, I decided to skim the text by halfway through the book, and I totally ignored the swindled people.

Both versions have a bizarre scene in which Nancy dreams about elves. This passage from page 148 of the revised text shows how silly the scene sounds.
"I've decided one of those little elves may have been Grumper—the very short man A. H. told me about. A. H. said he thought Grumper was around Candleton."

"And you believe he's the ghost and lives in the cave with a tolling bell and sends up fumes through the rocks!" Bess exclaimed. "Really, Nancy, I think this time you're going pretty far out with your ideas!"
The elf dream sequence is one of the most bizarre scenes from the original 56 Nancy Drew books. The revised text illustration that depicts the scene is the most bizarre illustration of the original 56.

In the original text, page 96, George severely sprains her ankle while at the top of the cliff. At this moment, Bess is at the bottom of the cliff. Bess has not come up, and Nancy and George have not gone down. Nancy decides that she needs to go for help, since George cannot walk. On page 100 of the original text is the following passage.
Telling Bess of the plan, Nancy overruled her offer to go along. "No, you stay with George," she urged.
Yet Bess is at the bottom of the cliff, and the others are at the top! It must have been a little difficult to communicate, especially since earlier in the story, Bess and George shouted at Nancy, who was at the top of the cliff. The girls were at the bottom, and Nancy could not hear them. Strange.

This inconsistency was corrected in the revised text. After Nancy and George discuss how to get help, they climb down to Bess and tell her about George's injury. Nancy leaves, and Bess stays with George. This is better.

On page 104 of the original text, George remarks that her ankle feels better. It seems that her badly sprained ankle is healed within a couple of hours of the injury. At least in the revised text, page 83, "George limped through the shallow water to climb aboard the boat." I am a bit surprised that in both texts, George completes all of her usual activities from this point on with no ankle problems.

In the original text on page 158, a fisherman scoops Nancy into a net while she is swimming in the water. The fisherman almost does not have enough strength to pull Nancy up in the net. This scene just makes me think of the crazy Kay Tracey stories. In the revised text, the fisherman does not use his net but warns Nancy of the high tide. He then suddenly calls out for help after his leg gets stuck. This sequence of events is strange but is much improved over the crazy scene with Nancy in a net in the original text.

The revised text story ends with an odd exchange between Nancy and Ned. Ned wonders when Nancy would ever have enough mysteries. He suddenly comments that "there's one puzzle I wish you would solve for me." After Nancy queries him, Ned replies that "you always change the subject when I try to talk with you about something that isn't a bit mysterious!" The passage is strange because Nancy has done nothing to change the subject. The problem was caused by the removal of much of the passage from the original text.

In the original text, Ned tells Nancy that she "is a little pirate, you know!" He then declares that he knows "some people who would like to carry you off!" Nancy replies, "Why, Ned! If anyone should carry me away, how could I solve more mysteries?" Ned then makes the comment about when Nancy would have enough mysteries. The remaining comments, which are present in both texts, make perfect sense in the original text. In the revised text, the comments are taken out of context.

The Mystery of the Tolling Bell is one of two Nancy Drew books that were never purchased for me as a child. Unlike The Secret in the Old Attic, I did read The Mystery of the Tolling Bell one time when I checked it out from the library. The only reason I know that I read it is because I remember making a shoebox book report for the book. Since I did not own the book, I only read it one time. The books I owned were read multiple times. I have pointed to the fact that I did not read Old Attic and Tolling Bell multiple times as the reason as to why I have never liked them.

I decided that I like Old Attic after all when I read and reviewed it recently. Unfortunately, I continue to have a strong disliking for Tolling Bell even after this reading. In fact, this reading strengthened my dislike for Tolling Bell. The original text lacks logic in several places. The revised text improves the logic in some places but lacks logic in others. The revised text is choppy, but the original text is not very good. Therefore, I dislike both texts equally.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Reviews of May's New Releases

In May, I had three books to read which were either a continuation of or the conclusion to series that I have been reading.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

This book is the second book in the Divergent trilogy. Divergent was stunning; this book less so. I enjoyed Insurgent a great deal but not nearly as much as Divergent. Divergent is full of discovery as Tris explores her new faction and develops relationships with the other initiates. During Insurgent, Tris is catapulted from one faction to another, which makes the book seem disjointed.

The book is full of fighting. The ending disappointed me because it is too eerily similar to another series. I won't state which series since that mention would be a major spoiler, but seeing the similarity makes me less interested in reading the final book. I feel like I have been there before. Despite that disappointment, I will be reading the third book in the trilogy and expect to enjoy it.

The Enchantress by Michael Scott

This was the sixth and final book in The Secrets of Nicholas Flamel series. The Nicholas Flamel series consists of six books that take place over approximately two weeks. These books are incredibly detailed and have a ton of information about every mythical creature from every ancient religion. The books are vastly informative about those myths.

By either the second or third book in the series, the reader realizes that the conclusion to the series is going to involve time travel. The time travel happens as expected, but I was left with lingering feelings of one character's path not making sense. I can't really explain this without getting into spoilers. I look forward to reading discussions about this in the Flamel website forums.

I felt that the conclusion of this book could have had more explanation. The bulk of the book involved fighting, and those scenes could have been significantly shortened.

Despite my problem with the time travel aspect and the unnecessary fighting in this book, I greatly enjoyed the entire Nicholas Flamel series and highly recommend it.

The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan

The Serpent's Shadow
is the third and final book in the Kane Chronicles series. Before beginning this book, I opted not to refresh my memory by reading parts of the second book. I did not enjoy the second book as much as I did the first book, and I had no desire to revisit the second book. This did cause me to have no idea who some of the characters in the third book are, and quite frankly, I did not care.

During the entire first half of this book, I felt like I had already read the same story twice in the first two books of the Kane Chronicles series. I found it a bit boring. At slightly more than halfway into the book, I began to enjoy the story a lot more. I then became more bored again towards the end since the final battle seemed to be a retread of previous final battles.

The Kane Chronicles series is not nearly as good as the Percy Jackson series, although I did enjoy it to some degree.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nancy Drew #22 The Clue in the Crumbling Wall

In Nancy Drew #22, The Clue in the Crumbling Wall, Nancy is asked to find Florianna Johnson (Juliana Johnson in the revised text) before she loses her inheritance. Ten years previous to the story, Florianna was engaged to Walter Heath. She disappeared mysteriously, and Walter Heath died five years later.

Florianna must claim her inheritance by the fifth anniversary of Heath's death, which is in just a few weeks. Florianna's sister is an invalid, and her niece, Joan, is a problem child. Both Mrs. Fenimore and her daughter would greatly benefit if Florianna were found and could claim her inheritance.

The original text opens with Nancy's discovery of the theft of her four new rose bushes. Nancy reports the theft, and Lieutenant Masters tells Nancy about a young girl named Joan Fenimore, who likely stole the bushes. Masters also tells Nancy about Joan's aunt, Florianna, hoping to pique Nancy's interest. After Masters tells Nancy about Florianna, she and Nancy drive to Joan's home, where Nancy is given more information.

The revised text takes the same sequence of events and makes it more complicated. Lieutenant Masters asks Nancy to find Juliana, since Joan and her mother need help. After the officer leaves the Drew home, Nancy discovers the missing bushes. Later, Nancy tells Masters about the stolen rose bushes while at the police station and is then told that Joan probably stole them. Nancy and Lieutenant Masters next drive to Joan's home to learn more about Juliana. The events do not flow as well as in the original text.

In both texts, a man is caught eavesdropping outside the door in a hotel as Mr. Drew and Nancy discuss the case. On page 98 of the revised text and page 122 of the original text, Mr. Drew gives Nancy a signal to step out of the room. Nancy is puzzled and then concludes that Mr. Drew wants Nancy to have the man followed.

This bothers me, because I don't understand how Nancy knows for certain what Mr. Drew expects. Even though he had told the man that he was not calling the police, I would have assumed, as Nancy, that Mr. Drew did wish for the police to be called. Nancy is an amazing mind-reader.

The girls look for the entrance to the cloister to the estate in both texts. In the revised text, the girls find the entrance very quickly and easily. In the original text, the girls have trouble finding the opening and become a little discouraged, which increases the reader's suspense.

Both versions tell exactly the same story, and both texts are quite enjoyable. The original text is the superior version, since parts of the plot are weaker in the revised text.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Post Visibility on Facebook

Ever since Facebook's IPO, post visibility for all users has decreased. This affects all Facebook users, whether you know it or not. Facebook has decided that we should pay to increase our visibility. Even if we do pay, we will not be visible to everyone.

I have noticed that in the last two weeks, far fewer of my followers on Facebook notice my posts. This is my Jennifer's Series Books Facebook page. I do get some interaction so long as I post a photo or a link. When I ask a question, I usually receive no response. It's like no one knows I've asked a question. I realize that most people do not respond to questions, but it is odd to get not even one response.

Facebook has this feature called EdgeRank which determines who sees what. EdgeRank is all about forcing people to follow a link. EdgeRank likes posts that make people go somewhere to read something. If the page owner writes great content and does not provide a link, EdgeRank does not like that and is more likely to hide the content.

I have been enlightened about this by reading the following blog posts.

FB fans aren't seeing your posts (and how to fix it)

For FB page admins: How to reclaim part of your missing audience

The second post gives links to two ways to solve this problem.

If you have liked various pages, then you want to follow the steps to How to Avoid Missing Facebook Posts. This involves setting up an "interests" box and including links to all of the pages you have liked. Doing that apparently places all of your liked pages back in your feed.

Another solution would be simply to visit the pages you have liked on a regular basis. Even that method will not work completely. Facebook now randomly hides posts while you are viewing pages. You have to click on a grayed out box that says "highlights" and then select "posts by page" in order to see everything. You have to do that every single time you visit the page.

If you have a fan page, then you can set up a feed that will post from your blog to your Facebook page. The idea is to create a link that people have to follow, which then gets people involved again on the page. I tried it earlier using my other blog, and I don't like the result. I will experiment some more, but for me, the better solution might be just to make certain that everything I post on Facebook has links in it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Series Book Questions from Spring 2012

These are questions that were asked in recent months. I have rewritten the questions in order to avoid using any direct quotes from private messages.

How scarce and desirable are the Wanderer books #59 Old Lace, #74 Mysterious Image, and #76 Eskimo's Secret in hardcover with dust jacket?

The Wanderer books with dust jackets are very desirable, even if they are library discards. The lower-numbered titles such as #59-60 are desirable but not extremely difficult to find. The final Wanderer hardcover books are much more scarce. #76 Eskimo's Secret with dust jacket is quite scarce.

How scarce are certain Penny Parker books, such as Whispering Walls, as compared to other books in the series?

The final Penny Parker books, Whispering Walls, Swamp Island, and Cry at Midnight, are the hardest ones to find. Swamp Island and Cry at Midnight are the most scarce. The books are even more scarce if the original dust jackets are present.

Were any of the Dana Girls books ever published with 25 chapters and then later with 20 chapter revised texts? For instance, #19 Winking Ruby from 1957 has 20 chapters. Was there ever a 25 chapter version?

#1-18 in the original run are the only books that ever had 25 chapters. #17 was revised down to 20 chapters for the white spine picture cover edition, so #17 is the only book that exists with a 20 chapter text and a 25 chapter text. #1-16 and #18 went out of print at the time of the white spine version, so those books were never revised. #19 and up only have the 20 chapter text in all printings and never had 25 chapter texts.

Did any of the 1934 Dana Girls dust jackets ever come with the ads on the reverse side of the jackets?

I own Lone Tree Cottage with a dust jacket that has the reverse ads. I do not have the other two. Since all three books were published simultaneously, all three should have the reverse ads on the very first printing. The reverse ad printings are extremely hard to find.


A flashlight edition Nancy Drew book was found that has sharp squared edges on the spine instead of slightly rounded edges. Does this have any significance?

It probably has to do with which year it was printed. You will find variances in the books as they go through different print runs.

Something else to watch for with the flashlight editions is for the books that have a textured cover instead of the very smooth cover. The ones with a textured cover look nicer than the usual flashlight books, but very few of the books have the textured cover. It was probably only one print run from around five or six years ago, so just a small number of books are like that.

How are the later Nancy Drew books different from the original ones? Did Nancy Drew become more modern? If someone were compiling a list of books to collect, where would the list end?

The Nancy Drew books were revised beginning in 1959 primarily for two reasons: to renew the copyrights and to reduce costs. The popular reason always given by the copyright owners was that the books were revised to remove the racial stereotyping, but this is not the real reason. Some books were not revised and kept the stereotypes (#35 is an example). By reducing the length of the texts, costs were reduced. By rewriting the texts, the copyrights were renewed, thus keeping the books out of the public domain.

Some books in #1-34 were completely rewritten from start to finish, and the stories are not at all the same. The titles that were completely rewritten are #5, 11, 12, 14, 17, and 18. The remaining titles were condensed down from 25 chapters to 20 chapters. For those titles, the original text books are generally better. The revised text versions tend to be a bit choppy.

People who read Nancy Drew books prior to around 1960 generally only collect #1-34 in the original text. People like me who read Nancy Drew during the 1970s or later collect all of #1-56 and both versions of #1-34. I also collect all of the softcover titles from #57-174 as well as the Nancy Drew Files series.

My suggestion is to try a sample book from the original text stories along with a revised text version plus one from around #40-50 to see what you think. If you decide to begin building a set, you will know how far to take it.


What does "PC" mean in the title of your listing?

"PC" stands for picture cover. This refers to series books that have the picture printed directly on the front cover rather than on a dust jacket.

The book seen on the left is an example of a picture cover.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

May 2012 Sales on Bonanza

By series, this is how many books I sold in May in my Jennifer's Series Books booth on Bonanza.

Nancy Drew - 50
Dana Girls - 15
Trixie Belden - 12
Judy Bolton - 7
Hardy Boys - 6
Happy Hollisters - 2
Marjorie Series - 2
Beverly Gray - 1
Connie Blair - 1
Girl Scout Handbook - 1
Ken Holt - 1
Vicki Barr - 1

Here is what sold by price.

up to $4.99 - 27
$5-$9.99 - 43
$10-$14.99 - 8
$15-$19.99 - 6
$20-$24.99 - 7
$25-$29.99 - 2
$34.99 - 1
$39.99 - 1
$49.99 - 3
$59.99 - 1

This is the distribution by payment processor.

PayPal - 19
Checkout by Amazon - 10
Google Checkout - 0

As always, most of my sales are attributed to people following links from pages on my website, including the widgets.

I also had sales attributed to the following search terms used in search engines.

bonanaza books
how girls can help their country handbook for girl scouts
jennifer's series books
trixie belden black jacket mystery deluxe
bonanaza books .com

This is my booth traffic over the last 3 1/2 years.


The name change from Bonanzle to Bonanza had a significant effect on my traffic. The traffic rebounded but has been much more unstable since that time.

Earlier this year, Google drastically changed its algorithm, and that has also affected traffic. However, when I view my Google traffic over the last three years, the algorithm change seems to have had no impact on me in either direction.


The Google traffic was impacted heavily for the first eight months after the name change from Bonanzle to Bonanza. After that point, the traffic stabilized for the most part. Most people rely on Google for traffic to their Bonanza booths, but the key to my success has been my website, series-books.com.


I noticed the surge in traffic attributed to my website near the end of 2010. I cannot remember what I did, but I checked old blog posts. I found this one in which I mentioned my first-ever coupon discount. It had to have been around that time that I added the direct link to my Bonanza booth to the top of the main page of my website. I also know that at some point in time that I added other links elsewhere. Clearly, those links have helped my booth traffic.

Since my Bonanza success has much to do with my website and blogs, I decided to see what my traffic has been to each of those. This is the traffic to series-books.com from all sources, going back to 2008.


The traffic is slowly increasing.

Here is the traffic to this blog, going back to 2008.


This also looks good, although the recent Google algorithm change might have negatively impacted traffic to this blog. More importantly, my blog posts have been quite sporadic during recent months. I have probably lost some readers due to the irregular spacing of my posts. My teaching assignment this past year took a heavy toll on me, and I was too exhausted mentally to write more often. Fortunately, the effect on the traffic to this blog was not too great.

I also have a Jennifer's Series Books blog which was created two years ago in order to drive traffic to my booth. If you follow the link, you will notice that I abandoned that blog once the school year began.


Shockingly, the traffic did not take a hit in spite of my total inattention to that blog. The recent Google algorithm change may have helped that blog out, and that blog is full of links to my Bonanza booth.

In conclusion, I can now count on at least 20 transactions per month on Bonanza, often between 30 and 40. I consistently sell at least 100 books per month. I no longer have to constantly think up ways to promote my booth. The framework is in place, and I now have to maintain it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

This Weekend's Book Finds

Each weekend I visit estate sales. I do not visit all of the sales and tend to try to go to ones that are clustered together. Often, there are more estate sales than I can feasibly attend without getting exhausted.

I normally do not see series books, although I am always hopeful. Typically, I purchase various items that can be used around the house.

At one estate sale near where I live, I found some Scholastic and similar books. The books felt grubby and were not in very good shape, but they were extremely cheap. I decided to purchase them.


After attending this and one other nearby sale, I next had to decide if I felt like driving 15 miles to go to a group of sales. I decided to go. Due to missing an exit on the interstate, I ended up more than two miles to the north of where I wished to be and was a bit annoyed about that. Saturday seemed to be a day of wrong turns and wasted time.

It just so happened that I ended up driving by a sale that was in a strip mall, which I had decided not to attend. Since I inadvertently found myself driving by it, I decided that I should check it out, even though I hate estate sales that have been moved to strip malls. I find sales in the actual houses to be much more interesting, and I seem to have more luck in finding items at those.

You probably already have guessed where this is going. I entered the store and discovered a large quantity of Hardy Boys and other miscellaneous children's books. Apparently, I will have to make certain I force myself to attend these sales in strip malls from now on just in case.

The price per book was a bit too high for most of the Hardy Boys books. I determined that no first printing picture covers or $1 box books were present. I noticed some Three Investigators books and one Judy Bolton book and grabbed those. I then had to consider whether I wished to purchase any of the Hardy Boys books. I decided to purchase some high-numbered books that were likely to be first printings. I did not know for sure on any of them and almost considered putting all of them back.

I knew that on Sunday that all items at the sale would be at half price. I was pretty confident that few of the Hardy Boys books would sell at the original price. The trouble was whether anyone else was interested at half price. I had no guarantee that I would be able to purchase any books that were left behind. For that reason, I did purchase the Hardy Boys books that I had selected.

I purchased these books at the original price on Saturday.




The Three Investigators hardcover books seem to be mostly unaffected by the downturn in series book prices. Anytime I can find Three Investigators books, I am thrilled. The Judy Bolton book was also a good find and is probably the third printing.

I checked the Hardy Boys books in Carpentieri's guide and discovered that #46 and #48 are second printings and that the rest are first printings. At least I was correct about most of them.

My main thought was that I had to try to get the rest of the books at half price. I planned to arrive at the sale on Sunday at around 20 minutes before it opened. This is exactly what I did. I nervously waited, wondering if any of the other people were there for the Hardy Boys books. I knew that as soon as the door opened that we would all quickly go and grab whatever we wanted.

I was in luck, since it appeared that all of the Hardy Boys books were still there. After I had stacked all of them on the floor, I quickly glanced around the store. I saw one man balancing a stack of dishes in his right arm as he selected more of them. Everyone was grabbing whatever they wanted fast!

I took the books to the sold table, where a ticket was written up. I then walked around, not expecting to purchase anything else. I saw some Scholastic soft cover books and selected some. Why not, at half price? I paid for my books and left.

This is what I brought home.








I spent quite awhile going through all of the Hardy Boys books to see if any of them are the first printing of the revised text. Many of the books are the second or third printing of the revised text. The only books that are the first printing of the revised text are Twisted Claw, Phantom Freighter, and Wildcat Swamp.

If you are familiar with any of the Scholastic books, let me know whether any are particularly good stories. I already know that some of them are not of interest to me, but others might be.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #40

I spotted a few listings which had interesting buyer questions.

LOT of 48 Vintage Nancy Drew Books Carolyn Keene


The seller first received these questions and answered them.
Question: Hello. What is the last title listed on the back cover of The Hidden Staircase? And what is the last Nancy Drew title listed on the interior book list near the front of the book? Also, does The Secret of Red Gate Farm have a $1 box printed on the front cover in the upper right corner? How many pages are in your copy of The Clue in the Diary? And what is the last title listed on the back cover of The Clue in the Crossword Cipher? Thank you.

Answer: What is the last title listed on the back cover of The Hidden Staircase? The phantom of Pine Hill And what is the last Nancy Drew title listed on the interior book list near the front of the book? The Mystery of 99 steps Also, does The Secret of Red Gate Farm have a $1 box printed on the front cover in the upper right corner? No but it has a $1.25 sticker on front How many pages are in your copy of The Clue in the Diary? 174 And what is the last title listed on the back cover of The Clue in the Crossword Cipher? The Clue in the Crossword Cipher (This book has some writing on back cover that checks off the books read)

Question: Can you tell me the title of thevlast nancy Drew book listed on the back cover of Clue in the Crossword Cipher?? Thanks

Answer: It is The Clue in the Crossword Cipher. This book has some writing on back cover-check marks stating what books had been read in the series.
I am glad that the seller took the time to answer every question correctly. So often, when sellers are asked multiple questions, they ignore most of them.

The next day, the seller received a question about the previous questions.
Question: Hello, why do you think the people are asking about what is the last title in a list? Do you think it is to see if it was the last one written? Most interested in this answer. Why was the person asking how many pages in the Diary book? Has that book been added to in the story? Thank you

Answer: I think it must be something to do with the Age of the book. Probably depending on the answer it may be a first Run Edition that would be worth more. Just my guess......
The seller had a pretty good idea why the questions were being asked. More specifically, both potential buyers were asking about Crossword Cipher in order to determine whether the book offered in the lot was the first printing. The first printing lists to Phantom of Pine Hill on the back cover.

Regarding Clue in the Diary, the buyer was trying to determine whether the book was the scarce first picture cover printing with the original text. With just 174 pages, the book offered in this lot was the common revised text picture cover.

Splendid copy of Nancy Drew 1932/33 1st printing Password Larkspur Lane Keene



Question: What is distinctive about this copy that helps you to know it is a first printing? Thank you.

Answer: Greetigs, It states it in the bok on the title page. I will be posting a few more pics.
This question and answer is very interesting. The copyright page is the reason that the book is considered the first printing, but not because the copyright page states that the book is the first printing. Confusing, yes?

Grosset and Dunlap never identified Nancy Drew books as first printings on the copyright page. This particular printing had what was probably intended to be the copyright page for some other Grosset and Dunlap book placed in it by mistake. I believe that David Farah identified this printing as the first by going under the assumption that a mistake would have been made with the very first printing and corrected for the second printing.

Now this is where I am going to go into some speculation of my own. How do we really know which came first? The first and second printings of Larkspur Lane, as identified by David Farah, are identical in every single way except for the copyright page. The first and second printing dust jackets are identical and are the only jackets for Larkspur Lane which have the ads on the reverse side of the jacket.

I believe that both printings are the same printing, as in the very first printing. It's just that some scattered copies of the first printing happen to have the wrong copyright page. Remember that the price guides are based on speculation, just like what I am doing, and we don't really know for sure what happened nearly 80 years ago.

Note: This is a reminder to those of you who are way too sensitive that these comments are in no way intended to criticize David Farah or his guide. Do not read anything into this post that is not here.