Saturday, January 15, 2022

My Progress on My Set of Hardcover Nancy Drew Files Books

In 2019, I wrote about my decision to begin working on a set of the Nancy Drew Files books in hardcover library editions.  I started working on the set in around 2017.  

Nancy Drew Files Hardcover Library Editions

In that post, I mentioned that I dislike oversized books, so I have avoided the first 10 Nancy Drew Files in hardcover as issued by Grey Castle Press.  I am seeking hardcover library editions, which are approximately the size of the original softcover books.

When I wrote that post in 2019, I had managed to acquire 54 of the books in hardcover.  It was a decent start, but I had quite a ways to go.  I added some books to my set in 2020, but not that many.  In late 2021, I finally had some amazing luck in acquiring many of the hardcover library editions.

I purchased a large bulk lot of hardcover Nancy Drew Files in December.  This next photo shows an example of what the spines looked like when the books arrived.  

The spines had red paint at the top plus two library stickers.  I wanted those stickers off, especially the greenish blue ones.  I removed the library stickers to discover that on many of the books the library had cut a previous library sticker out of the spine, leaving a hole.  While I didn't want the library stickers on the books, I also didn't want holes in the spines.

The obvious solution was to put library stickers back on the books.  I could have purchased any cheap white sticker, but I wanted acid-free stickers so that they wouldn't yellow within a few years.  I also liked the idea of having authentic library stickers on the books.  Therefore, I purchased library stickers from Demco as well as tape that would be the right width to cover the stickers.

The spines look much better with library stickers on them.  I positioned the stickers exactly where the holes were.

I purchased some additional hardcover Nancy Drew Files books in early January.

I now need just 18 Nancy Drew Files in hardcover.

 67.  Nobody's Business
 70.  Cutting Edge
 85.  Sea of Suspicion
 91.  If Looks Could Kill
 92.  My Deadly Valentine
 93.  Hotline to Danger
 98.  Island of Secrets
 99.  The Cheating Heart
101.  The Picture of Guilt
105.  Stolen Affections
109.  Love Notes
115.  Running into Trouble
117.  Skipping a Beat
118.  Betrayed by Love
120.  Dangerous Loves
122.  Strange Memories
123.  Wicked for the Weekend
124.  Crime at the Chat Cafe

I am replacing my softcover books with the hardcover books due to lack of space.  I don't like the Nancy Drew Files books enough to want to keep both formats, so this was an easy decision.

Here is my set, which now consists of mostly hardcover books with 18 softcover books mixed in.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

More Nancy Drew Digest Hardcovers + Digest Values

Even though I now have all of Nancy Drew #57-175 in hardcover library editions, I am still interested in upgrades and variants.  I recently purchased three hardcover books with yellow spines.

I really enjoy the look of the yellow spine digest books and would love to get more of them in hardcover.

The Yellow Spine Nancy Drew Aladdin Books

However, I suspect that I am in the minority among collectors in how I feel about the yellow spine Aladdin books.  When I offer softcover Nancy Drew digest books for sale, the yellow spine books are slower to sell.  They often get passed over multiple times for the equivalent book in the white spine Minstrel edition.  I can understand why, since the Minstrel edition is the original format.  Most collectors want to get the earliest printing possible and prefer the original format.

I remember when the books were first reissued in the yellow spine format during the final couple of years that the books were in print.  Those of us who were avid collectors of the softcover books went around to our local stores trying to get all of the variants.  There are interesting spine misprints, including a funny one where #110 has "BOOK TITLE" printed on the spine instead of the actual title.

I had a blast collecting all of the interesting spine variants for the yellow spine books.  Now 20 years later, I'm not sure that any of the people collecting the digest softcovers are even aware of the variants.  These books seem to be largely ignored.

Remember that you can always click on a picture to see a larger version.

Interest in the softcover digests has increased in recent years.  In very good condition, the books are worth around $10 each.  Some books like #100 and ones with scarce cover art are worth more, while others like all of the yellow spine books are worth less.  

Interest in the hardcover digests has also increased in just the last few years.  There are now several people working on building complete sets of #57-175.  The value of the hardcover digests is on the increase, but it has not gone up that much as of yet.  If additional collectors should decide to work on sets, then that could change.  

I feel that the hardcover digests in very good condition are worth around $10 to $15.  An eBay seller has been trying to sell some of the books for $20 to $30 each for quite some time.  I think at least of one of the books may have sold awhile back, but the remaining books are priced at $20 and have not sold.  They are still priced too high for most people who are building sets, so I believe $15 is about the limit of what people will pay for most of the hardcover books.

The three hardcover yellow spine books featured in this post were part of a bulk lot that was priced higher than I would have liked.  I was uninterested in the rest of the books.  Lots containing library editions typically also include many books that are of very low value, but the sellers don't see it that way.  I decided that if I considered my cost to be $12 each for each of the hardcover yellow spine books, then the lot was worth purchasing and I could break even on the rest of the books.

If you have some interest in either the softcover or hardcover Nancy Drew digest books and have not begun acquiring the books, don't wait much longer.  I believe that within a couple more years that the books will be in much greater demand than they are right now.  The prices will most likely increase.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Nancy Drew Diaries #22 A Capitol Crime

This review is from May 2021, and I forgot to publish it.

In Nancy Drew Diaries #22, A Capitol Crime, Nancy heads to Washington, D.C., to find her father.  He has disappeared from a conference, and Nancy follows clues to trace his whereabouts.

I can't say much about the plot, because there are actually two mysteries.  The original case leads into another case, and I'll leave it at that.

Not only is this mystery not sabotage, it is also of a creative type that makes it refreshing to read.  In fact, it's about what I have come to expect from the Hardy Boys Adventures series. 

I have wondered all along why Nancy Drew has been stuck in Sabotage Land for nearly all titles in the series.  The writer acknowledges this in Chapter 1 with "Usually I help find items that have been stolen or track down saboteurs."  The books that actually point out the sabotage are among the ones that are better.  I knew right off that I was reading a book by one of the very few good authors of the Nancy Drew Diaries series.

The writer has knowledge of Nancy's past history.  The reader is told that Hannah has taken care of Nancy since Nancy's mom died when she was three.  Also, Hannah is away during this story because of her sister's broken leg.  That sounds rather familiar.

Nancy does show moments of weakness, but I'm okay with this when it isn't done in a sloppy fashion like what happened in certain other books I could mention.  The writer's skill makes all the difference.  After Nancy feels faint and is embarrassed, Bess tells her, "Being brave isn't about not being scared.  It's about doing what you need to do even when you are scared."

I always appreciate the use of "telltale" in a Nancy Drew book.

The reader learns that Nancy has helped her father solve "crossword puzzles and sudoku games."  This book gives off a Nancy Drew games vibe.  Sudoku is an important part of the Nancy Drew game, Shadow at the Water's Edge.  Nancy also searches various locations for obscure clues left behind by her father.  She picks them up as she finds them.

From pages 101-102:

After getting out, I took a deep breath and walked toward the guard station.  I've solved a lot of cases, and I know that people break the law for all sorts of reasons.  Most of them are good folks who got themselves in bad situations and made a poor decision.

I appreciate it when writers put statements like the above in books.  Most people are too judgmental of everyone who commits a crime.  They also have an unfortunate habit of blaming the family, like the family had anything to do with it.  The family needs support, not scorn, because their lives have been turned upside-down as a result of a bad decision made by a relative.

We get some commentary about malls failing.

I visualized Carson Drew as Scott Wolf (the actor who plays Carson on the show on The CW).  If you've watched the show, imagine Scott Wolf saying, "Nancy, it's okay.  I'm okay."  Perfect.

Nancy decides to steal files from a police station.  This is also just like the game version Nancy Drew.  It's also like the television show.

That was where I left off when I wrote this review last May.  I did not make note of how much I enjoyed this book, but as I recall, I considered it as very good.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Unreasonable and Combative Collectors

This post is from late 2018.  Quite awhile back, I published the text of this post in a private group on Facebook.  This is a story about a combative collector who was irrationally angry with me.

The situation began with this collector making a post about free electronic books in one of the Facebook groups.  This person believes that Simon and Schuster is greedy, and that the company should offer free electronic copies of all Nancy Drew books that are out of print.  This person believes that there is nothing wrong with offering pirated copies of copyrighted works.

Nobody supported this person's belief, and why would we?  We want Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to remain viable, and free electronic books are not going to help keep the two series in print.  Furthermore, offering free electronic books of works protected by copyright is illegal.  We are not going to support that. 

I had to shut down the thread since this person had become highly argumentative, trying to beat everyone down.  That's when he went off on me through private messages about his personal grievance with me.  This collector told me that he was still angry with me for purchasing his books. 

I made the mistake of telling him that he didn't have to sell the books.  He really went off on me then, telling me about medical bills and offering to show me proof.

Um, okay.  What I meant was that I didn't create the situation.  He didn't have to sell those particular books.  I do understand that sometimes a person is forced to sell items to raise money.  If those particular books were so important that he would be angry—one year later—that he sold them, then he should not have sold them.  This is the irrational world within which we live.

And if he is going to be angry, then he should direct his anger at his life situation and not at me.  I didn't create the situation.  When I see books for sale on eBay, silly me, I think that the seller does want to sell the books.

He also informed me that he doesn't have thousands of dollars to spend on books like I do.  I'm sure others have said that about other collectors who have shared expensive purchases.  After all, we are the privileged few who can spend lots of money on all that we desire.  Actually, no.

Most series collectors are not wealthy.  I certainly am not.  Those of us who make expensive purchases are making sacrifices.  Each of us has found a way to acquire certain items.

I sell books to raise extra money.  My sales finance my collection.  I don't go to the movies, eat out, or go on expensive trips, which gives me more money to spend on books.  Other collectors who have no more money than I do have made similar sacrifices.

Most of us focus on one aspect of collecting.  We pay higher prices for some items while not for others.

This person also told me that he paid something like $2,500 for the books that he sold to me for a few hundred dollars.  I am a bit skeptical, but let's say that he did pay that much.  If so, then he, too, has paid thousands of dollars for series books, contradicting his own statement of how he cannot afford that kind of money.  I find that rather amusing.

Also, this person wanted free electronic books to replace the books he sold to me.  Since I didn't agree about the free electronic books, I was evil indeed.  I had purchased his books, and I didn't support his idea about how to get the stories back for free.  That made me a very bad person.

I had to block this person on Facebook, since the messages kept coming with one attack after another.

I won't link to the post about the books I purchased from this person, but you can look in the blog archive at the posts from November 2016 to find a certain bulk purchase.

Finally, consider this.  If this person had just contacted me and told me about his situation in a polite fashion, I would have found a way to help him.  He could have explained about having to sell the books to pay medical bills and then asked me to let him know if I ever ran across any of the books.  Do you know what I would have done?  I would have started looking for inexpensive bulk lots, and I would have helped him get a new set of the books.  He would have gotten his set and not had to paid that much.  Instead, he chose to attack me.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Books Read in 2021 and Why I Didn't Read More

As an afterthought, I realized that I should write up this post summarizing what I read in 2021.  Reading has not been a priority, and I struggled to finish many books that I started.  I also started quite a few books that I could not read.  I didn't care much about writing this post, but I became interested once I got started.

I began the year decently motivated, and then my reading output dropped.  It then dropped more and stopped completely for some time.  Looking over the monthly totals, I understand why it happened.  

January:  15 books

Friday Barnes #3 Big Trouble
Friday Barnes #4 No Rules
Friday Barnes #5 The Plot Thickens
Friday Barnes #6 Danger Ahead
Friday Barnes #7 Bitter Enemies
Friday Barnes #8 Never Fear
Nancy Drew Diaries #21 Danger at the Iron Dragon
Spirit Town by Suzanne Roberts
Bicycles North! by Rita Ritchie
Hardy Boys Casefiles #45 In Self-Defense
Windswept #17 Mirror, Mirror by Virginia Nielsen
Windswept #23 A Date with Danger by Edward Hunsberger
Windswept #27 Mystery Cruise by Carole Standish
Windswept #33 Weekend of Fear by Virginia Nielsen
Lou Dunlop: Private Eye by Glen Ebisch

February:  6 books

Windswept #4 The House of Three Sisters by Virginia Nielsen
Friday Barnes #9 No Escape
Moonstone Mystery Romance #5 Something Out There
Heartbreak Cafe #1 No Experience Required
Heartbreak Cafe #2 The Main Attraction
Heartbreak Cafe #3 At Your Service

March:  6 books

Hardy Boys Adventures #21 Trouble Island
Heartbreak Cafe #4 Catch of the Day
Heartbreak Cafe #5 Love to Go
Heartbreak Cafe #6 Just Desserts
Moonstone Mystery Romance #1 Deadly Design
Moonstone Mystery Romance #2 The Shadowed Path

I did not like the Hardy Boys Adventures book at all.  Since I couldn't be bothered to write a review, I'll say it here.  The ghostwriter tried to telegraph a certain boy's race to the reader by being as vague as possible.  This is what I wrote while I was reading the book:  "I am really annoyed that the son has medium brown skin but I don't know which race.  His hair can be tucked behind his ear.  What am I supposed to visualize?  It's an epic fail when I have no idea.  I decided just to picture a white kid who is really tanned."

I know how bad that sounds, which is why I included it here.  I actually have grown to enjoy diversity in books and media, and I enjoy learning about people who are different from me.  I love the diversity of the Nancy Drew television series on The CW.  I shouldn't have to do mental gymnastics while reading a book to figure out the characteristics of diverse characters.  Attempting to picture the kid as white was what enabled me to cope.  Even so, I was bothered the entire time I was reading, because I knew that he wasn't white.  Also, (SPOILER ALERT) the kid with the medium brown skin is the culprit.  

April:  9 books

Moonstone Mystery Romance #3 Dangerous Beat
Tom Swift Inventors' Academy #6 Augmented Reality
Moonstone Mystery Romance #4 Fatal Secrets
Moonstone Mystery Romance #6 When Darkness Falls
First Love from Silhouette #1 New Boy in Town
Roswell High #1 The Outsider
First Love from Silhouette #2 Girl in the Rough
First Love from Silhouette #3 Please Let Me In
First Love from Silhouette #4 Serenade

Eventually, I will hit "publish" on my Moonstone Mystery Romance reviews.  I am quite confident that "moonstone" is used in the title of the series as a nod to the Nancy Drew series.  I also have at least two First Love from Silhouette reviews written.  I need to publish those at some point.

May:  9 books

Roswell High #2 The Wild One
Roswell High #3 The Seeker
The First 30 Days: A Zombie Apocalypse Novel by Lora Powell
Thunderbolt House by Howard Pease
The Front Page Mystery by Graham Dean
First Love from Silhouette #8 Special Girl
Nancy Drew Diaries #22 A Capitol Crime
Hull-Down for Action by Armstrong Sperry
First Love from Silhouette #135 Bid for Romance

It was in late May that I began to go off-track.  On May 22, two of my teeth began to hurt and continued to hurt through the summer until they were removed on August 3.  The pain was consistently a 7 to 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. 

Also in around late May, I threw myself back into my 30-year-long fandom of the Bee Gees.  This involved listening to all of the albums, watching biographies again, and buying merchandise.  In June, I decided to paint a room, which was a massive amount of work, since I had to move hundreds of books.  While all this was going on, my reading slowed to a crawl.

June: 3 books

You Should Be Dancing: My Life with the Bee Gees by Dennis Bryon
Hardy Boys Adventures #23 Mystery on the Mayhem Express
The Resistance Trilogy #1 Recruitment by K. A. Riley 

I enjoyed the Resistance Trilogy book enough to try the second book.  The second book lost me.

July: 2 books

Sweet Dreams #113 Private Eyes
Sweet Dreams #153 The Perfect Catch

August: 4 books

Tragedy:  The Sad Ballad of the Gibb Brothers by Jeff Apter
Sweet Dreams Special #1 My Secret Love, Janet Quin-Harkin
Tom Swift Inventors' Academy #7 The Blurred Blogger
One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I liked the Tom Swift book for the most part, but I once again could not write a review.  I really enjoyed One of Us Is Lying.  I tried reading the sequel, but I found it boring.

September:  1 book

Fall of Houston #1 No Way Out by T. L. Payne

I thought maybe I could get back into reading by reading dystopian series.  Unfortunately, I found the Fall of Houston books to be not that interesting.  I did not finish the second book.  At this point, I quit reading for nearly two months and didn't even notice that I wasn't reading.  School was going pretty badly during this time, besides all of the pain I was in due to the aftermath of the tooth extraction.

October:  none

November: 2 books

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

In late November, I made another attempt.  Since I couldn't find any good dystopian books, I tried young adult mystery books.  I found The Inheritance Games and quickly read the two books that have been released so far.  Both books are excellent. 

Since I cannot be bothered to write reviews, I want to comment on a thought I had regarding Jennifer Barnes' treatment of race as compared to the Hardy Boys Adventures book.  On page 14, a character is introduced as a "Black man, forties, with a military bearing, who stood with his back to a wall and maintained a clear line of sight to both exits."  I knew immediately that this man was security and that he was Black.  A bit later, he is introduced as John Oren, and I already knew what I needed to know.  That made me happy.

Close to a month went by, and I tried to read again near the end of December.

December:  3 books

Arc of a Scythe #1 Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Arc of a Scythe #2 Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
The Wasteland Chronicles #1 Apocalypse by Kyle West

I tried reading the third book in Arc of a Scythe, but I didn't find it interesting.  I then got the idea to look for free young adult apocalypse books.  That gave me some different titles.  I found some that sounded promising.  I started to read one of them, but I didn't feel like I was enjoying it enough.  I then tried the first book in the Wasteland Chronicles series.  Oh, this was about my style.  I enjoyed it, so if the plot and writing don't fall apart in the second book, I should be able to read some books in January without difficulty.

I want to read, but most all books are unappealing to me at present.  I find that the only kind of books I currently find remotely appealing are ones about an apocalypse of some kind.  I don't need it to make sense, but I do want it to have occurred in the world we know, involve very little fantasy, and be written in an engaging fashion without a bunch of boring content.  Most of the books I try fail on one or more points.  I abandoned a number of books this year since they didn't end up meeting those conditions.

I mentioned the tooth pain that began in May.  My tooth and gum pain lasted a total of 4 1/2 months.  The pain was intense.  Once the teeth were removed, my gums became very inflamed.  It was an autoimmune reaction exacerbated by the stitches.  In short, I ended up with burning mouth syndrome which lasted for around two months.  I lost weight during that time due to how painful eating was.

I got my dental implants on December 22.  This wasn't anything near as bad as having the teeth removed, but I can tell that the gum inflammation has started up again.  I hope that it doesn't turn into burning mouth syndrome and also that it doesn't last for two months.  

As an additional unneeded problem, I acquired a virus with the dental implants, as best I can guess.  I've been so careful, so I'm pretty sure that was where I got the virus.  I went one year and nine months virus-free.  This one has been quite unpleasant, probably because it had been so long and my immune system hasn't had to fight an actual outside invasion.  

I tested negative for covid, so I'm confident that this was just a cold.  My overactive immune system saw the virus as a dire threat and launched quite an attack against it, causing me to be quite unwell for most of the last week.  My symptoms are lingering but gradually easing.

Reading is not my top interest at this point in time.  I'm much more interested in passive media.  

I purchased all three seasons of the current Nancy Drew television series on Amazon prime video.  I watched all of the old episodes again this fall.  I watched some of them more than once while I was figuring out some plot points.  That was fun.

I watched the three Netflix Fear Street movies back in July.  I recall watching the first movie on the day that I began taking an antibiotic for the infected teeth.  I felt so bad that day.

On Sunday, I watched the movie Don't Look Up on Netflix, and I watched it again a few days later.  The movie is an allegory about climate change, but the story works quite well as an allegory for the pandemic.  I have found the pandemic to be the most fascinating (and stressful) train wreck, so the movie capped it off for me.

I also watched the second season of The Baby-Sitters Club on Netflix months ago.  It's a really cute show, and I especially adore Claudia. 

I watched Only Murders in the Building on Hulu this fall.  The show's plot ties in with the Hardy Boys books, which are prominently featured in several episodes.

I have kept quite busy, so it should be understandable why I didn't read as many books.  For a time, I thought that I wouldn't even make it past 50 books, so I'm pleased that I ended up reading 60 books altogether.  One study found that Americans read an average of 12 books per year with the median American reading just 4 books per year.  Reading 60 books is just fine.  

In closing, I want to express that I do not need any advice.  While most books do not interest me right now, I read as fast and with as much interest as ever when I come across a book that does interest me.  I haven't changed, but I have other concerns and interests right now. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Bad Packers Don't Care + Recently Damaged Comic Books

The first part of this post was written in March 2019 and was not published until now.  I also have added a story about a recent package that I mailed that resulted in damaged contents.

Periodically, collectors post photos of bad packaging online.  Sometimes, the books arrive fine without damage.  This usually results in at least one person making a comment like, "What's the problem?  The books arrived fine."

That kind of response is curious.  I have seen it rather often on message boards frequented primarily by sellers.  I have also seen it quoted as a response given by a seller when a buyer has contacted the seller to complain about bad packaging.  The seller further annoys the buyer by making that kind of response.

When someone makes this kind of reply in a message thread, I assume that they are a seller who packs badly.  They take the view that as long as the books arrive okay most of the time, then there is not a problem.  This is why contacting these sellers to complain about the packaging is not going to help. They won't change, because they don't care.

I also think it's a bit rude for a seller who doesn't care to butt into a message thread about badly packaged books and make a statement in disagreement.  A few months back [back from March 2019], it happened in a thread in one of the Facebook groups.  This one person seemed to want to dispute whether the package really arrived damaged or whether it had been opened for inspection, possibly by customs.  Sigh.

The package was a media mail package, which is used by United States sellers to send to United States buyers.  It didn't go through customs.  The package also wasn't opened for inspection since the postage service always stamps those packages with a message stating that the package was opened.

It's just really strange how some people don't want to believe that packages ever arrive damaged.  


December 22, 2021:  A buyer contacted me last week about some comic books he purchased from me.  They arrived damaged with the lower corner of the comics bent.  It was significant, and this kind of damage completely devalues the comics.    

The package was international and went to the United Kingdom.  The comics were bagged and boarded.  I wrapped the stack of 12 comics in plastic and mailed them inside of a 12" x 9" x 3" sturdy Uline box with padding.  I was perplexed when the buyer contacted me, so I asked for additional information.

The box was not damaged.  The buyer said that it looked like one side of the box might have been very slightly dented inwards but that the box didn't look damaged.  The box had not been opened by customs, and the comics were still wrapped in the stretch wrap.

I was having trouble wrapping my mind around how the comics were damaged while the outer box was fine.  I really pondered this.  Finally, I realized that the comics did not have enough support with the backing boards.  The stack of comics was heavy enough that it was likely to shift inside the package while the package got thrown around.  The stack must have shifted up against the side of the box.  The box was probably thrown hard where a flat edge hit a surface straight on so as not to be dented inwards.  The corner of the stack of comics probably hit against that side of the box, and the corners were damaged.

I can see where I went wrong.  The comics probably would have been okay if mailed to a United States address via priority mail.  I did not pack well enough for international, and I did not even necessarily pack well enough for domestic.

I should have placed heavy cardboard (perhaps even a double layer) on the bottom of the stack to support the comics.  I also should have placed heavy cardboard on the top of the stack as well.  Furthermore, I should have made certain that the stack of comics could move not at all within the box.  I think that I didn't use enough paper to pad the stack of comics.  This was definitely my fault.  

Yes, the international postal system was rough with the package, but better packing could have prevented the damage.  Therefore, I fully refunded the buyer's purchase.  I apologized and remarked that while I was refunding the purchase that I could not truly make it right.  The comics were to be a Christmas present, and there was no time left for the buyer to purchase a replacement that would arrive on time.

Some of you might think I was scammed, since the outer box was not damaged.  No, I can read people pretty well.  I know when someone is pulling something and when they are telling the truth.  I was provided pictures of the comics, and they were definitely damaged.  This person was genuinely regretful and disappointed about the damage since it was to be a present.  When they first contacted me, they said that the comics should have been secured better inside the box and that they would not have purchased the comics if they had known how they would be packed.  The buyer made no demands in that initial message or at any point.  I asked for more information, and then I refunded the purchase with my apologies.  I remain quite chagrined about it.  

Another lot of comics sold a few days later to somebody else, this time in Texas.  These comics didn't have the backing boards, and I didn't have any on hand.  I was very paranoid when packing them and spent a lot of time on that package.  I had double cardboard on the bottom and cardboard on the top.  I also cut the cardboard large enough to be able to fold it down over the sides.  I did everything I could to make the comics immobile inside the cardboard.  I used lots of packing paper to get the enclosed stack of comics to where it was quite unlikely to move around.

That package was delivered two days ago.  I haven't heard from the buyer, so the comics are probably fine.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Facebook Group Behavior

This post was written in 2017 and 2018 and has remained unpublished until now.  My comments are a bit blunt.


Last year I wrote about my loss of enthusiasm for Facebook.  My enthusiasm has waxed and waned since that time.  Right now [in March 2018], my main thought is that I greatly miss the wonderful discussions we used to have in the Yahoo! Groups.  I spent several hours recently running searches in one of the Yahoo! Groups to read comments about Kay Tracey.  We had such great discussions in those groups, and members actually paid attention to what other members wrote.  On Facebook, members skim or don't read at all, then in response they make inane comments with little substance.

The comments in this blog tend to be much better, so I feel that a higher percentage of this blog's readers are actually paying attention to what they read.  Facebook is such a mess.

On Facebook, members make openly critical comments directed towards others. This comes in several forms.  Sometimes a member will make a strong statement about how they do not understand why others collect certain books.  These statements come across as rude and demeaning.  I wonder if the members who make them have any idea how they sound.

Members will also make strong statements about how awful a certain series is.  It's not a problem to dislike a series, but these statements are worded in such a fashion that they are guaranteed to upset fans of that series.

I mentioned in my previous post [apparently this post] how members expect low prices for series books since just about the only prices mentioned in the groups are the cheap prices.  I didn't mention why the rest of us don't mention the prices.  Some of the members who expect low prices would make insulting comments directed at us.  It has happened to many of us.  We admit to someone what we paid for something, and their response is that we paid too much.

Over the years, I have seen collectors who expect low prices also sneer at others because they feel that books are being kept away from them by the ones who pay higher prices.  Just read some quotes from issues of a old series book publication.  I mentioned in that post that some of the letter writers are well-known collectors.  Some of those people are now in the current Facebook groups and also read this blog.  Therefore, it is understandable why many of us reveal very little information about what we pay for our books.

Members keep correcting each other if they don't use the proper term.  I have seen that several times recently, and it annoys me.  Let's talk about my online sales listings.  I purposely do not use the proper terms in some of my listings because the average person looking for the Nancy Drew book they read as a child does not know the proper bibliographic terms.  Why create confusion when my buyers are not advanced bibliophiles?

Yet I know some of you read my listings and silently criticize me.  Take for instance when a pastedown is flawed.  I state that the pastedown endpaper is flawed. Oh, I can imagine the smirks, but I want my buyers to know what I mean. Other times, I dispense with the proper term completely and just refer to damage on the inside front or back cover.  Using ordinary language is better when dealing with average people who just want to enjoy a piece of their childhood.  Quit being snobs.

I also should know better than to try to be humorous.  I let my guard down last summer [summer of 2017], and made what I thought were humorous comments on several posts.  I could tell that in every case at least one person misunderstood, thinking I was dead serious.  The lesson learned is that I must quit trying to be funny at all.  People just can't understand humor online.

Speaking of which, this also reminds me that many of you take my reviews way too literally.  When I make humorous (what I think are humorous) remarks in some reviews about how a book tortured me, some of you start comforting me about my absolutely awful experience.  Hey, I don't read books to be tortured.  If I had been truly tortured, I would not have read the book.  Try not to take everything so literally, or you'll discourage me from being even slightly funny.  You've already made me pull back a lot.

On the other hand, when I write about what I intend to do, read, or quit reading, then you should take those statements literally.  I am not exaggerating or trying to be humorous, so you should not read meaning into the statements that is not there.  When I state that I have quit reading something, I get asked for clarification.  If I have quit reading something, then I have quit.  I probably will never ever in a million years get back to it.  I quit reading Grace Harlowe in 2011.  I still haven't gotten back to those books.  I'm not sure if I ever will.  [I never have and never will.  I sold all of my Grace Harlowe books.]

Back to the groups, people keep taking them off topic.  I'm not just referring to the groups I manage, and I am getting tired of it.  Facebook has groups for any type of book you can imagine.  Whatever it is, there is a place for it.   You don't need to take one group off topic to discuss something else.  It is a constant struggle everyday to keep a group on topic.  Some people don't like me anymore because they don't like me telling them that certain topics are not appropriate.

The groupies are annoying.  These are people who have decided that a certain member is just perfect and can do no wrong.  Some people who seem to be groupies are actually just people trying to manipulate a certain person by pretending to be a groupie.  All group administrators, moderators, website owners, blog writers, and online sellers have groupies, both real and fake.  I have had a few groupies of the fake kind who worked hard to ingratiate themselves by gushing compliments or granting me favors that I did not want or care to reciprocate.  Needless to say, those fake groupies are now former fake groupies since I did not respond in the way they wanted.

Other people are real groupies and genuinely love the person they gush over.  Most of the time, this isn't bad, and everyone likes to be appreciated.  However, the behavior can be excessively annoying when they gush too much.  I recall one exchange on Facebook.  I'm not going to give details, since both people might be reading this, but if I did, you'd understand how truly ridiculous and nauseating the compliment was.  The compliment rang false and was completely not based on reality.  I couldn't believe it when I read it, and I wanted to slap some sense into the person who made the fake compliment.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Revered Series and Trying Out a New Series

This post contains the content from two old draft posts that were never finished.  The content is presented as originally written with some current thoughts included.

Draft title:  Revered Series (July 3, 2016)

Some series are revered in such a way that collectors who don't like those series feel like they have to hide that fact.  The series that come to mind are Ken Holt, Judy Bolton, and Trixie Belden.  I've known for a long time that Ken Holt and Trixie Belden are revered, but I recently realized that the same is true for Judy Bolton.

Someone on Facebook made the statement that Judy Bolton is treated like the Rosetta Stone.  I hadn't thought about it, but I recall hearing about an intense rivalry between Judy Bolton and Nancy Drew fans that occurred during the 1980s.  I didn't witness that, but Judy Bolton fans have a strong opinion about their favorite series.

December 2021 comment:  Ken Holt is a series where I do not feel like I can give a true opinion.  I have reviewed the books in this blog, but I probably wasn't entirely honest in some places.  I don't feel that I can be, since Ken Holt is treated as another Rosetta Stone series.  My introductory post gives more information about how I feel about Ken Holt. 

The "group think" where it seems that everyone loves a certain book or series or that everyone hates a certain book or series keeps the rest of us from speaking up.  Many people on Facebook think that everyone hates Nancy Drew #58 The Flying Saucer Mystery.  No, quite a few of us do like it.  We keep quiet as those who dislike the book expound on their views.  We aren't always comfortable interjecting our opinions into those discussions.

Draft Title:  Trying Out a New Series (August 14, 2016)

Readers of series books are always looking for new series to try.  We all have different tastes, so what appeals to one reader might not appeal to another.  We do know that if we can find a series that is similar to a favorite that we will probably end up liking it a lot.

Once we find a series that might be to our liking, we have to decide which title to try.  Sometimes this doesn't matter.  Other times, if the wrong title is selected, the reader might be turned off by a series that would otherwise be appealing.  I want to give some suggestions on series that are similar and which titles to try—or which titles to avoid.

The Nancy Drew series is a favorite of many series enthusiasts.  It makes no difference which book is selected, since the series does not progress.  The Mary Lou books are very similar to the early original text Nancy Drew books.

Other series that are considered similar to Nancy Drew are Penny Parker and to a lesser degree the Dana Girls and Kay Tracey.

If you like the Dana Girls, you will most likely enjoy Kay Tracey.

I also think collectors lose sight of the fact that recommending their favorite books in a series as the ones that a new collector should try first is often not the best approach.

December 2021 comment:  Judy Bolton is a series where fans often recommend the wrong books.  I've seen The Rainbow Riddle suggested as a book to try, since it is a favorite book of many fans.  The problem is that The Rainbow Riddle is a sentimental book that will only appeal to fans who have read the previous 16 books.  It doesn't work as the first book read.

Instead, fans should suggest Judy Bolton books that read well as stand-alone books and that were written in a fashion more similar to other series books.  The goal is to acquire new fans, so books that would appeal most to a new fan are the ones that should be suggested.  

I concluded my summary post about the Judy Bolton series with this statement.

For readers wishing to try out the series, no single book will be representative of all of the books due to the variance in premise and style.  My suggestions for the very best titles to try are #18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 36, and 38.  These titles are the ones that would most easily be enjoyed by people who have never read a Judy Bolton book before and have no knowledge of the series.