Monday, August 27, 2012

Nancy Drew #27 The Secret of the Wooden Lady

In Nancy Drew #27, The Secret of the Wooden Lady, Nancy and her father travel to Boston to help Captain Easterly discover who the mysterious prowlers are on his ship and what treasure they seek. The night before their departure, a dangerous criminal named Flip Fay breaks into Bess's home and steals some jewelry.

Nancy later deduces that Flip Fay overheard the phone conversation with Bess and decided to travel to Boston. In Boston, Nancy discovers that a man named Red Quint is working with Flip Fay to find something valuable on board the Bonny Scot.

Shortly after Nancy and Mr. Drew arrive in Boston, Mr. Drew learns that he must leave. Bess and George travel to Boston to join Nancy. Soon, Ned Nickerson shows up with friends Burt and Dave. Once again, the core group of six find themselves conveniently together, this time in Boston.

The revision was done quite well, so much so that the revision is just as good as the original text. I was particularly impressed with the removal of an extra scene in which Nancy and her friends retrieve a wooden figurehead from the bay. The revised text reads as follows on p 98.
At five o'clock the girls picked her up and rowed back to the Bonny Scot. After supper they came up on deck and dropped into comfortable chairs.
The captain leaned back and lit his pipe as the girls discussed the missing figurehead. "More than one ship has lost its figurehead, for one reason or another," he said.
The same passage in the original text also begins with "At five o'clock the girls picked her up and rowed back to the Bonny Scot." What follows is a 2 1/2 page passage detailing the story of the girls spotting what is believed to be a drowning man in the water. Nancy and her friends rescue the "man" to discover that he is a figurehead. The figurehead is brought on board, where Captain Easternly confirms that the object is a figurehead. He then makes the remark, "More than one ship has lost its figurehead, for one reason or another."

Both texts read seamlessly during this scene, although the revised text is missing most of the events.

In the original text on page 67, Nancy and all five of her friends crowd into a taxicab.  All six of them?  Since the cab also has a driver, seven people are in the vehicle.  Interesting...

Page 83 in the original text contains this passage.
"A little pleasure boat is a picnic to sail," Burt spoke up, "compared to a craft like this one.  I'll bet, George, you don't even know the names of the masts on the Bonny Scot."

"Yes, I do.  Fore, main, and mizzen.  And besides, you have the foresail, the staysail, the jibs, the skysails, the——"

"Very salty," Dave grinned. "I apologize."
Why is Dave apologizing for what Burt said?  The revised text corrects this mistake and has Burt apologize.

In the original text, page 188, the girls find Red Quint.
The three girls led him to the car, which Nancy had parked in front of the studio. Quint twisted his hands nervously. There was no chance to escape from three girls!
Normally, I would make a comment about how surely a man could escape from three girls. However, this absurdity is most likely intentional humor courtesy of Ms. Margaret Scherf, the ghostwriter for this book. Ms. Scherf's novels are full of humor.

As I already mentioned, I found both texts to be equally good.  The original text can be considered just slightly better, but only because it contains a little more information.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

July 2012 Sales on Bonanza

This is how many books I sold by series in my Jennifer's Series Books booth on Bonanza during the month of July.

Nancy Drew - 52
Trixie Belden - 15
Dana Girls - 9
Hardy Boys - 7
Kay Tracey -3
Nancy Pembroke - 2
Three Investigators - 2
Betty Wales - 1
Beverly Gray - 1
Happy Hollisters -1 
Helen Grant - 1
Judy Bolton - 1
Meadow-Brook Girls - 1
Shirley Flight - 1

This is what sold by dollar amount.

up to $4.99 - 37
$5-$9.99 - 30
$10-$14.99 -14
$15-$19.99 - 3
$20-$24.99 - 2
$25-$29.99 - 4
$30-$34.99 - 4
$49.99 -2
$89.99 - 1

This is how many transactions I had by payment processor.

PayPal - 22
Amazon - 14
Google -3

My Amazon transactions dropped, and this was likely caused by a problem in which the screen was hanging while the buyer attempted to make payment. The problem appears to have been fixed.

I took a screen capture of my sales sources for the last two months, for the period from June 15 to August 15.  Click on the image to see a larger version.

As always, most of my sales that come from outside Bonanza come through my website and blog.  A large number of the direct visit sales are also from the same sources via my widgets.

I have had a slight upturn in the number of sales that have come through Google's organic search.  These are the search terms used.

bonanza books
nancy drew #26
nancy drew applewood quest for the missing map
trixie belden the sasquatch mystery
bruguera nancy drew
applewood editions 1930s of Nancy Drew
trixie belden the hudson river mystery
jennifer's series books

My Google sales almost always come through Google's organic search rather than from its product search.  I am glad for that, since Google's product search is currently in a period of upheaval.  Google is in the process of changing its product search to a "pay only" model in which merchants must pay for their listings to appear.

Bonanza management has stated that they will be paying for listings to show in the product search and are working on ways for sellers to maintain their exposure in the product search.  It occurs to me that people who list on sites which do pay Google for the exposure might end up with more exposure in the future than what they previously have had in the past, since not all sites will be paying Google.  This could end up working out well.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Enclave is a dystopian young adult novel written by Ann Aguirre and published  in 2011.  Many reviewers compare this book to The Hunger Games.  While all dystopian novels bear some similarity to The Hunger Games, this book is actually more of a composite of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The City of Ember, Divergent, and others.

Deuce is a teenage girl who lives underground in an enclave within a series of tunnels.  The people of the enclave are divided into three groups:  the Breeders, the Builders, and the Hunters.  The Breeders are responsible for making sure that the population survives into the next generation.  The Builders create necessary supplies.  The Hunters leave the enclave to hunt for small animals which roam the tunnels.

Deuce is one of the Hunters, so she must venture into the tunnels in search of food.  The tunnels are inhabited by bloodthirsty zombies, known as Freaks.  As the story opens, Deuce accepts the rules of her society, but soon, she learns that the leaders hide certain facts and that some members of the enclave are rebellious. 

This book has far less fighting than The Forest of Hands and Teeth and the Divergent books.  The fighting is still graphic, but the doses are much smaller.  My main complaint with The Forest of Hands and Teeth and especially the Divergent sequel, Insurgent, is the extreme amount of almost constant fighting to where it seems that nothing happens except fighting.  Enclave has less of that.

The plot flows quite well and takes several unexpected twists, which kept up my interest.

After I finished Enclave, I learned that a short supplemental novel, Endurance, is available as a $0.99 download.  Endurance tells the story of what happened to some of the secondary characters from Enclave.  While Endurance does not tell a complete story, it fills in some information that will be of interest to Enclave readers.  Furthermore, the sequel to Enclave, titled Outpost, is to be released next month.  Some of the events from Endurance could factor into the plot.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a dystopian novel published in 2009.  This futuristic novel opens years after a civil war, known as the Heartland War, was fought over the right for a woman to have an abortion.

Synopsis taken from Amazon's product page:
In America after the Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement: The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called "unwinding." Unwinding ensures that the child's life doesn’t "technically" end by transplanting all the organs in the child's body to various recipients. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound.

With breath-taking suspense, this book follows three teens who all become runaway Unwinds: Connor, a rebel whose parents have ordered his unwinding; Risa, a ward of the state who is to be unwound due to cost-cutting; and Lev, his parents' tenth child whose unwinding has been planned since birth as a religious tithing. As their paths intersect and lives hang in the balance, Shusterman examines serious moral issues in a way that will keep readers turning the pages to see if Connor, Risa, and Lev avoid meeting their untimely ends.
This is the type of novel I don't normally read, since it has an obvious political message which is subject to interpretation.  What I find interesting is how deeply offended some people are at the content.  Actually, I am not surprised that people are offended.  What surprises me is that people on both sides of the issue are absolutely convinced that the author is promoting the other viewpoint.  Some people who are very pro-choice are convinced that the author is biased towards pro-life.  At the same time, an equal number of people who are very pro-life are convinced that the author is biased towards pro-choice.  Both sides feel that the author is biased towards the other side.

So which is it?  The author wrote this book in a very clever fashion, and the book could be seen either way.  I have a suspicion, although I do not know for sure.  I am going to stop short of explaining, since no matter what I write, I would open the door to discussion of a very controversial political topic, which is not appropriate for this blog.  Suffice it to say that this book is deeply thought-provoking.  I enjoyed it for the horror and suspense, although I would not put it near the top of my list since for me, reading books is intended as escapism.  One cannot completely escape reality while reading this particular book.  It is unsettling.

The next book, UnWholly, will be released soon.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Series Book Questions from Summer 2012

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

What type of covers should be purchased to protect dust jackets?  Do you recommend the 1.5 mm or the 2 mm?  Is it better to purchase ones with the center-slit backing paper or the ones that can be used for various height books?

This is a question that I am asked on a regular basis.

The 1.5 mm protectors work just fine. I have used the 2 mm, but I find that I prefer the way the 1.5 mm work. It’s hard to explain, but the 2 mm tends to be a little more rigid and not fold as well, which makes the jacket not rest right up against the book. They do provide better protection if a book and jacket are to be used heavily, but for a collection, the 1.5 mm is quite sufficient.

Demco Paperfold Book Jacket Covers

I like the ones from Demco because they are folded at the bottom instead of the center-slit. The ones with the center slit end up being a little bumpy in places, whereas the ones from Demco never do that.

I dislike the protectors offered by Gaylord since they stick to each other on the shelf. If you have several books in Gaylord protectors and try to remove one from the shelf, the rest come with it.

I use the 8-inch Demco covers for the Grosset and Dunlap dust jackets and the 9-inch Demco covers for taller books. The 9-inch covers work well for both sizes of books, since they can be easily adjusted down.

Do you sell copies of dust jackets?  I am not willing to pay high prices to get certain books with original jackets.

This is another question that I get asked fairly often, mainly because I usually have at least one book for sale with a copied dust jacket.  I do not sell copies of dust jackets, even though I sometimes print one for scarce books that would be easier to sell with a printed dust jacket.

Jim Towey has offered copies of dust jackets for years.  Visit his page about recreated dust jackets for more information.

What do you think of the Outdoor Girls series?  Are the books worth reading?  Do the books have four glossy illustrations or just a glossy frontispiece?

The Outdoor Girls series is one of my most favorite series of all of the ones that came before Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. The earlier series from the 1910s and 1920s are much more old fashioned and a bit different from the series that came later, but this one is one of the best.

You can visit Project Gutenberg and sample some of the texts to get a feel for whether you would like the series.

Outdoor Girls Books on Project Gutenberg

The books all have a glossy frontispiece. The books have additional internal illustrations, but all of the internals are on plain paper just like the regular text pages. The series books that began in the 1910s tended to have the additional illustrations on plain paper rather than on glossy paper.

Why are some of your Nancy Drew books described as blue or tweed and others not?  What is the difference?

The books that are called "tweed" have a cover that resembles tweed fabric. They are textured and are similar to cloth, although the covers are not made from cloth. The tweed books were in print from 1952 through 1961.

Nancy Drew books printed before 1952 are generally known as blue books. I have both the blue and the tweed books placed in the same subcategory in my booth.

This formats page should help you understand the different variations and will help you tell how old a book is.

Nancy Drew Formats

Also, you can more specifically tell how old a book is by getting the last title listed inside the book. The last title listed will tell you which year the book was printed.

I am looking for inexpensive reading copies of the original text Nancy Drew books.  What do you have available?  I can tell that the Applewood books have the original text but am not sure about the picture cover books.

The following statements concern Nancy Drew #1-34.

Each of my listings that has an original text book has a statement in the item description that the book has the original text. To make it easier, I often give the original copyright date in the title of my listings. If the copyright date is anywhere from 1930 to 1956, the book must have the original 25 chapter text. If you click on a listing, you can verify that the book has the original text by noting a copyright date between 1930 and 1956 and noting my statement that the book has the original text.

To find the books that have the original text, go to the main page of my booth, then click on the Nancy Drew category that appears on the left in the middle of the list of categories. On the resulting page, you will see additional subcategories. You will find many of the original text books that are priced reasonably in the "> Blue Books" and the "> PCs Blue Multi" subcategories.

In the "> Blue Books" category, all books have the original text. In the "> PCs Blue Multi" category, #1, 2, 3, and 4 are the only books that do NOT have the original text.* All other books in that category have the original text.

Most of the Nancy Drew books with dust jackets also have the original text, but those are generally priced a little higher. If you do look at the books with jackets, remember that the books copyrighted from 1930 to 1956 are the ones with the original text and that I have a statement in the item description stating that those books have the original text.

Note: #35 and up only had one text and were never revised, so all of those books have the original text by default, since it is the only version that ever existed.

*In my answer to the prospective buyer, I did not mention that I might sometimes have a few books in the "> Blue Books" category that do not have the original text, such as late tweed copies of #1-4 and #6.  I also did not mention that if I had an example of #6 listed in the "> PCs Blue Multi" category that it would also not have the original text.  I kept my answer limited to the books that were available in those categories on the day I answered the question so as not to further confuse the prospective buyer. 

My wife likes Nancy Drew books, but I know nothing about them.  I think I would like to purchase the 20 chapter picture cover versions of #1-56.  How should I go about doing that?  I also do not understand what is meant by "Jennifer's Series Books."

“Jennifer’s Series Books” is the name that I put on my booth. My name is Jennifer White, and I am the one selling the books that are listed in this booth.

If you decide to buy any books from me, you would first click on "Nancy Drew" which appears along the left side of my booth in the list of categories. On the resulting page, you will see a new list of categories on the left side. The books you mentioned will be found under "> PCs Blue Multi," "> PCs B&W Multi I," and "> PCs B&W Multi II." The category which mentions "Blue Multi" has more of the original text books. The other two categories have the 20 chapter revised text books. The titles of the three categories make reference to the type of endpapers inside each book.

Most Nancy Drew fans do like the original text books, so your wife probably would not mind getting some original text books. The original text books are available for #1-34, and you can also get #1-34 in the revised 20 chapter text versions. #35-56 are only available as 20 chapter texts.

If you do not mind using eBay, there are almost always bulk lots of Nancy Drew books up for sale there.* Sometimes you can find a bulk lot at a great savings per book over buying the books individually.

*I have found, especially in recent months, that many people now refuse to use eBay for any reason.  I finally have realized that instead of assuming that people are willing to use eBay that I should mention that if they do not mind using eBay that eBay is an option.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The First Printing of Nancy Drew Lilac Inn

As readers of this blog know, I once wrote that the first printing book for The Mystery at Lilac Inn ought to be worth more than the first printing book for Old Clock, due to the scarcity.  Of course, my comments have caused sellers to value all early Lilac Inn books at huge prices, even though their books were not the first printing.  This has caused me endless frustration.

Before I continue, I want to make certain that people not familiar with Nancy Drew books understand that for a book to be the first printing of Lilac Inn, it must have certain post-text ads in a certain order.  It is not enough for the outside of the book to look the same as the one pictured in this post; the ads must be identical.  Those ads are "This Isn't All" followed by 9 Hardy Boys titles ending with Great Airport Mystery, 20 Outdoor Girls titles ending with Canoe Trip, and 10 Blythe Girls titles ending with Margy's Mysterious Visitor.  Any other ads or even the same ads in a different order make the book not the first printing.

In late 2011, a first printing Lilac Inn, detailed here, sold for $407.07.  That amount reinforced my belief of the value of this book.  I also recall another example from the last year which was quite trashed.  I'm not sure whether it found a buyer.

Recently, another first printing of Nancy Drew #4, The Mystery at Lilac Inn, came up for sale on eBay.  The book appeared to be quite worn or possibly trashed, depending upon one's perspective.

1930 First Edtion/First Printing~Nancy Drew #4 The Mystery At Lilac Inn/Blankeps

The seller has now deleted the other photos that displayed while the auction was live.  They showed that the book is a library discard and not in the best of shape.  I was not too enthused when I spotted this auction, since I needed a nicer book for my first printing dust jacket.  As the auction progressed, I continued to think about it, still indecisive as to whether I should mess with trying to win the auction.  Finally, I realized that I needed only one first printing book of Nancy Drew #1-56.  If I were to purchase this book, then I would be able to say that I have every single first printing book, even if my first printing dust jacket remains stuck with a later printing book.  Hence, I decided to bid.

I won the auction at $96.55.  While I did not regret buying the book, I had this feeling that I overpaid.  The book looked really bad in the auction photos.  I now have the book in my possession, and it looks better than it did in the auction.  Sometimes photos make flaws stand out much more than they do in person.  This is especially true for the front cover, as seen above.  All of those flaws are present, but they are not as noticeable in person.

The book does have a bit of wear, and the binding is weak.  However, I feel that the book is overall a decent copy.  Now that I have the book, I am seriously considering placing my first printing dust jacket on it.  I also feel that I got a bargain.  Compare this book to the one that sold for $407.07 (follow the link near the beginning of this post).  That book also looks a bit rough, even though I can't tell exactly how it compares to this book.  Even if that book is in better condition, my book at $96.55 is not bad.

Does this end my search for the first printing of Lilac Inn?  I wish I could say that it did, but I will continue my search.  Not only would I like a better condition book, but I also need another book to go with my second printing dust jacket.  Both the first and second printing dust jackets need the first printing book in order to be a perfect match.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Nancy Drew Moss-Covered Mansion Anomaly

I bought this very interesting book recently on eBay.

What makes the book unusual is that the cover and spine have the title as The Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion.  The title of the book is actually The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion.  The inside of the book is normal with the title as The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion. What is especially baffling is that all other copies of this book that I have ever seen printed from 1941 through the last 1971 original text printing have "at" instead of "of."   When the book was revised in 1971, the title was changed to Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion.  Even that title does not match this book exactly, since "The" was removed from the title in 1971.

Aside from the problem with the title, the book and jacket meet the points for the 1947B-17 printing according to Farah's 12th edition.  Farah has noted with this printing that "some copies have Endpapers #2."  Those endpapers are the orange silhouette endpapers, which this book does have.

When I first saw this book on eBay, I knew that I wanted to buy it, but I had to wait a week for the auction to end.  In the meantime, I tried to reason out how this book exists.  I thought about international editions, but no, "Grosset and Dunlap" appears on the spine.  I wondered whether this could be some kind of trick just like I did when I found this book.  The seller had such good pictures that I thought that the book must be as it appeared.  I finally came up with an explanation after either two or three days, which is what I still believe now that I have the book and have thought more about it.

The 1947B-17 Farah's Guide printing is the second printing of the solid blue book, which is the binding style of this book.  The solid blue binding is the binding seen in the 1947-1951 section of my Nancy Drew Formats page.  Even though a book might be designated as the second printing of a certain format in Farah's Guide, sometimes bindings, endpapers, and other aspects of the book might match a printing right before or after that Farah's Guide printing.

My supposition is that the binding, or rather, cover stock, of this book was one of the first ones printed for The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion in the solid blue format.  Further, a mistake was made and the first ones printed had the title wrong on the cover and spine of the book.  If I am right, then this book is not the only example that exists.  I doubt that only one book has the misprinted title.  Surely other books were printed with the same mistake.

If so, then someone should be able to confirm that other examples exist.  If you own a solid blue binding of The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion, check to see whether the title is correct on the book.  I am confident that there is no reason to check any books other than the ones that have the same binding style as this book.  Does anybody have one with the wrong title?