Thursday, June 23, 2022

2 Important Updates for Online Sellers

If you sell on an ecommerce site, then you are likely already aware of two important developments, one of which has been in effect since January 1.  The other will go into effect on July 1.  If you sell person-to-person online, you may not be aware of both developments.

If you live in the United States, hopefully you have been reporting your gross annual earnings to the IRS.  If not, then you will be doing so beginning with tax year 2022.  The threshold for sites to automatically report gross earnings to the IRS has been lowered to $600.  This low threshold will capture nearly all online sellers.  It does include earnings on sites like Facebook as well as funds received through PayPal, Venmo, and all other services.  Here is a screen capture of an information page on eBay.  Click on the image in order to see it clearly.

The other development concerns shipping to Germany.  Beginning July 1, sellers will be required to license their packaging.  In order to be compliant, packaging must be recyclable, and sellers will be required to pay an annual fee of 39 Euro.  Sellers who ship to Germany without licensing their packaging could be fined 200,000 Euro.  So, this is important.

I sell infrequently to Germany, and I am not willing to pay an annual fee of 39 Euro for the privilege of shipping no more than one or two packages to Germany per year.  eBay has made it clear that they will disallow sales to Germany for any seller who doesn't comply.  However, I have already blocked sales to Germany so that I don't have to worry about it.

Etsy will likely also block sales to Germany, but they are being more vague about it.  I believe that Etsy will block my sales to Germany on July 1, but I don't want to take the chance.

Sellers must use calculated shipping on Etsy when they wish to block individual countries.  I have reasons for not wishing to use calculated shipping.  Since I'm not willing to change my flat rate shipping, I had to remove worldwide shipping as an option.  I then entered specific international shipping options for Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.  I seldom ship outside of those four countries.

If you live outside of those four countries, I am still willing to ship to you, so long as you don't live in Germany.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Inflation, Low Sales, and Targeted Offers

Yesterday I explained how I have some books set aside that are slated to go into bulk lots.  Today I divided up the Nancy Drew books into possible bulk lots.  It worked out better than it usually does, and I found a place for each book.  This is what I have in mind.

The bulk lots will likely be listed sometime in the next few days.  When I price them, I will add together what the books cost, what postage will be, and what the fees will be.  I will then add a few dollars to the total, and the result is the Buy It Now price.  It is an effective means of getting books to disappear fast.  Buyers love sets of cheap reading copies.  Sometimes my bulk lots go to sellers who need some cheap inventory.  

Sales are horrible right now.  Gas prices and the resulting inflation are the biggest reasons.  Some people in the government want us to think that inflation isn't that bad right now and that the situation is improving.  Inflation is very bad, and the situation is most certainly not improving.

Around 2 years ago when I cautiously ventured forth from my self-imposed lockdown, I started using Walmart Pay on my phone to pay for my purchases at Walmart.  I liked using Walmart Pay because I didn't have to touch the register.  I have continued to use Walmart Pay.  It's easy, and I don't have to mess with paper receipts.  

All of the purchases I have made at Walmart for the past two years are saved in my account with the prices I paid.  I can search my transactions for certain items and see the price increases over the last two years and the especially noticeable price increases of the last six months.  

In the last two years, Purina wet cat food has increased by 25%.  Bottled Pepsi has gone up by 55%.  Bacon is now 75% higher.  Some products are even 100% higher.  Inflation is appallingly high.  It's not getting better.

This is why sales on eBay and Etsy have mostly halted.  The diehards are still buying.  I continue to make purchases.  When I list something special, it sells immediately.  However, the average person has quit making discretionary purchases.  Gasoline and food costs are taking their extra funds.  The current situation is bad.

Sales will remain low regardless of what I do.  It does concern me that my listings will be suppressed on eBay and Etsy due to low sales.  It's important that I sell some books so that I am not penalized in the search results.  

I first looked into making targeted offers on eBay.  I decided to try it out.  eBay allows sellers to select some of the items that are being watched by prospective buyers.  I like that I can choose which ones.  I chose items that have been up for sale longer, and I sent offers to those watchers.

I do not know who is watching my books on eBay.  I just see a list that shows me which items are being watched, and I then can select the items for which I want to send offers.  I made a few sales last night and today as a result of the offers.

On Etsy, I cannot pick and choose which items.  I have to run a campaign where offers are sent to all prospective buyers who fave an item.  The campaign would have to run indefinitely.  No, I want a one-time offer.  Also, on Etsy, I have to pay $0.10 for each targeted offer that is sent.  That would add up quickly.  So, no deal.

eBay is better for targeted offers, since I can choose and do not have to pay an additional fee.

I decided that I wanted to do something on Etsy.  My sales on Etsy have slipped so that they are worse than my eBay sales.  Both sites are bad, but Etsy is far worse.  I need some sales so that Etsy doesn't bury me in the search results.

I am now running a two-day sale on Etsy for 197 of my listings.  The sale is for 10% off.  I included all books in some of my categories, while in other categories I selected some of them.  

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

If you see this post after the Etsy sale concludes on Thursday, then the sale is over and will not be honored.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Building Bulk Lots of Books

Purchasing bulk lots of books is a great way to acquire extras and to find interesting variants.  I have acquired most of the library editions in my collection through bulk lot purchases.  The problem with purchasing bulk lots is that I end up with many bad condition books and with uneven quantities of extra books.  

I listed three bulk lots of Nancy Drew books on eBay a few days ago.  Most of the books were acquired through purchases that I made in order to acquire some hardcover Nancy Drew Files.  You will have to click or tap on photos in order see them in higher resolution.

I try to find bulk lots of bare tweed Nancy Drew books whenever I can.  These books are in high demand.  I have written about them in the past.  Buyers pay $10 or more each for bare tweed books, even when the books have some wear.  Whenever I acquire bulk lots of bare tweed Nancy Drew books, a few of them will be in bad shape.

I try to place books in bad condition near each other on a shelf as I acquire them.  In the last few days, I began organizing those books and getting them completely segregated from other books.  These photos show books that have condition problems that I have flagged as books that I intend to place in bulk lots.  

It should be obvious why many of the books are slated for bulk lots, since they have some obvious wear and tear.  Some of the blue Nancy Drew books have pulp paper, and I always place those books in bulk lots.  Some of the Nancy Drew books that look fine on the outside have significant interior condition problems, such as excessive stains, crayon, marker, or torn pages.  Other Nancy Drew books that look fine don't have significant problems, but I feel that they won't have a good chance of selling individually due to how they present.

Some books are just not worth selling individually, even though nothing is wrong with them.  The Bobbsey Twins book is an example.  There just isn't enough interest in the Bobbsey Twins series for me to sell random extras individually.  Once I have acquired some books that will fit in well with the Bobbsey Twins book, they will go in a bulk lot.  In fact, I have a copy of Black Beauty currently for sale, and I doubt that it will ever sell.  It would work as part of a bulk lot of books that would also include the Bobbsey Twins book.

After I organized the books seen in the above photos, I organized my extra bare tweed and blue Nancy Drew books which will be sold individually.

I always find it interesting to see how many extra copies I have of some titles, while I have no extras of others.  What I will do is assess the books that are slated for the bulk lots.  I will begin dividing them up into lots in such a way that will enable me to list as many of them as possible.  I have multiple copies of some bad condition books, so they cannot all go in the same bulk lot. 

Once I have begun to build the bulk lots, I will then look at my other extras.  I will focus on titles where I have more extra copies.  Hidden Staircase, Red Gate Farm, and Old Stagecoach are obvious examples where I have too many extras.  I will likely remove at least one of each, picking the worse condition copy, and will place them in with the books destined for the bulk lots.

Sometimes I will sacrifice some of my extras just to make the bulk lots more enticing.  I must make the value proposition good enough for each bulk lot so that it has a decent chance of selling.  

I will probably begin building the bulk lots tomorrow.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Hulu's Hardy Boys and CW's Tom Swift Series

Opinions are mixed on CW's Nancy Drew series that has been in production since 2019.  I like the show, even though it is very different from the books.  Other fans dislike it because of how different it is.

When the Nancy Drew series premiered, fans became quite upset since Nancy had sex in the opening scene.  It didn't help that the show pivoted hard to supernatural almost immediately.  Many fans were quite unhappy.

The new Tom Swift series will premiere on The CW on Tuesday, May 31, at 9/8c.  Like CW's Nancy Drew, CW's Tom Swift will be extremely different from the books.

The summary of the first episode is as follows.

As an exceptionally brilliant inventor with unlimited resources and unimaginable wealth, the devilishly charming TOM SWIFT is a man who many men would kill to be, or be with—a man with the world in the palm of his hand.  But that world gets shaken to its core after the shocking disappearance of his father, thrusting Tom into a breathtaking adventure full of mysterious conspiracies and unexplained phenomena.  On his whirlwind quest to unravel the truth, Tom finds himself fighting to stay one step ahead of an Illuminati-scale cabal hellbent on stopping him.

A number of Tom Swift fans have already indicated their disapproval.  I am not a Tom Swift fan, so I don't have an opinion and don't care one way or the other.  I'm just along for the ride and want to see what happens.  I will be watching the show to see what it is like.  I do expect that Tom Swift will result in very strong reactions similar to what happened when Nancy Drew premiered.  

Reviews of Hulu's Hardy Boys series by fans have been pretty good.  Of the three series, it is the one that is closest to the books.  The main complaint that some fans have is the age difference between Frank and Joe.  That the main complaint is the age difference means that the Hardy Boys show does not upset fans like the Nancy Drew show does.  If the Nancy Drew and Tom Swift series are not to your liking, please give the Hardy Boys series a chance.  I would love to see it come back for a third season.  If you have never subscribed to Hulu, you can get a free trial.

If you do get Hulu, also consider watching Only Murders in the Building.  The series stars Selena Gomez, Martin Short, and Steve Martin.  Actual Hardy Boys books feature prominently in the early episodes of the first season.  The show is worth checking out.

Only Murders in the Building
 will be back for a second season in late June.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Books Listed on eBay and Etsy

I have listed quite a few books in the last couple of weeks on both eBay and Etsy.  

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

As always, I have different books listed on each site.  I never duplicate listings across multiple sites. 

On Etsy, I have listed Nancy Drew in multiple formats including bare tweed, tweed in dust jacket, original text picture covers, and revised text picture covers.  I also have listed Trixie Belden, Three Investigators, Rick Brant, Vicki Barr, and Connie Blair books.  The Three Investigators books listed on Etsy are not musty.

The musty Three Investigators books are on eBay, and I have lowered the prices.  I am hoping that someone who doesn't mind a musty odor as much as I do will end up purchasing the books.  If not, then the books will eventually go to a bulk lot.  

On eBay, I have listed Nancy Drew Files, Nancy Drew library editions, and Hardy Boys Wanderer softcover books.

In the coming days, I will list additional books.

Orders of $35 or more shipping to United States addresses will receive free shipping.  Add the books to your shopping cart and then complete checkout in order for the shipping discount to apply.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Just 12 More Hardcover Nancy Drew Files Needed

These are my previous posts on this topic.

Nancy Drew Files Hardcover Library Editions
My Progress on My Set of Nancy Drew Files Hardcover Library Editions

I decided around five years ago to build a set of the Nancy Drew Files in hardcover library bindings.  I have made amazing progress.  In my last update, I reported that I was down to needing just 18 titles.

In March, I found a copy of #93 Hotline to Danger.

This month, I spotted a bulk lot of Nancy Drew books that contained high-numbered hardcover Nancy Drew Files, some of which I needed. 

I acquired these books.

 99.  The Cheating Heart
101.  The Picture of Guilt
105.  Stolen Affections
Love Notes
117.  Skipping a Beat

These purchases bring me down to needing just 12 titles in hardcover.

 67.  Nobody's Business
 70.  Cutting Edge
 85.  Sea of Suspicion
 91.  If Looks Could Kill
 92.  My Deadly Valentine
 98.  Island of Secrets
115.  Running into Trouble
118.  Betrayed by Love
120.  Dangerous Loves
122.  Strange Memories
123.  Wicked for the Weekend
124.  Crime at the Chat Cafe

I have been working on the hardcover Nancy Drew Files set for only around five years.  That I am down to needing just 12 books in hardcover astonishes me.  I haven't been trying hard to find them.  I keep my eyes open and check any listings that I spot to see if I need any.  I have not been running searches for individual titles or doing anything special at all.  This set is proving to be much easier to build than my set of hardcover Nancy Drew Digest books.

I had been searching for the Nancy Drew Digest books in hardcover for 16 years before I came down to needing only around a dozen titles.  It took me a full 20 years to finish the set.  It should be noted that I worked very hard on that set, particularly for the last five years that I searched.

It doesn't look like I will need 20 years to build the Nancy Drew Files set in hardcover, since I am already down to needing just 12 titles.  Timing has a lot to do with it.  I think if I would have started looking for the Nancy Drew Files in hardcover some 20 years ago that it would have taken me 20 years to build the set.  The reason is because far more of the books have been discarded by libraries now than had been discarded 20 years ago.  The books are now somewhat easier to find.

I decided soon after I started on the Nancy Drew Files set in hardcover that I was not going to keep my softcover set.  I just don't have room, and the Nancy Drew Files series is not important enough to my collection for me to want to have two sets of the books.

These pictures show my set of Nancy Drew Files books.  Most of the books are now hardcover with 12 books in softcover mixed in.  Click on each image in order to see it clearly.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Growing Pains of a Facebook Group

The biggest problem with Facebook groups is that the wrong people join them.  Any group with a name featuring a genre (teen books, series books) is a difficult group to manage due to members' loose interpretation of the group's name.

Groups that have specific names (Stephen King, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, etc.) do not have as much of a problem with maintaining their focus.  All members understand the focus, so off-topic posts are kept to a minimum.

In my post from March 8, I explained what I had done to make the focus of the Collecting Vintage Children's Series Books and Vintage Teen Books groups more clear.  My efforts appeared to be working, since membership requests had fallen dramatically.  Now some 2 1/2 months later, I can report that the changes I made continue to greatly suppress the membership requests.  In the Collecting group, membership requests are down by 73.1%.  In the Vintage Teen Books group, membership requests are down by 77.42%. 

While series books and/or vintage teen books are important to the people in our collecting community, they are of little concern to the general public.  It never made sense for 50 to 100 (or more) people to join each group per week.  At least that part of the problem has been solved.  

The Collecting group has been a big problem for years, but it has calmed down and is not as much of a problem as it once was.  We firmly control what we allow to be posted to the group, and we are no longer being harassed by certain manipulative people. 

I wrote in early March that I didn't want the Vintage Teen Books group to follow the same path as the Collecting group.  Sadly, that is exactly what has happened.  The Vintage Teen Books group is now the bigger problem.  The Vintage Teen Books group is now where the Collecting group was around five to six years ago.

The Vintage Teen Books group is at the stage where members criticize the moderator (me) and nitpick everything that the moderator says or does.  Oh, such fun.  This takes a lot out of a person.

I rejected a post in the Vintage Teen Books group, received a rude response, and then posted about it, thinking that I could use the situation as a teaching moment.  That was a big mistake.  Here is the text of my post.

A post featuring books written by Cynthia Voigt and Ellen Conford was submitted to the group yesterday. I was unfamiliar with the books and felt that the covers of some of them were ambiguous as to the age of the characters.

I took the time to look up the books by title and author and found summaries. I do not reject posts without being absolutely certain that some books don't fit. I found that a number of the books did not feature characters in their late teens.

I rejected the post with this reason: "Several of these books do not feature high school or college age teens. For that reason, we must decline the post. Resubmit with only books featuring older teens, and we can approve the post. Thanks!"

Today that person sent this response: "Posts are being declined because they’re not high school age. Ellen concord and Cynthia voigt are ALL high school. This page blows. Peace."

That person has left the group, which is a shame since they were mistaken.

These are the books that caused the post to be rejected. After the title, I have stated the age or grade of the main characters.

Ellen Conford:  Dreams of Victory (6th grade), Anything for a Friend (age 11); Hail, Hail Camp Timberwood (age 13), And This Is Laura (age 12)

Cynthia Voigt:  Bad Girls (5th grade), Bad Girls in Love (8th grade)

The other books in the post were fine and would have been great for the group.

We cannot approve posts that contain any books with characters who are 13 or younger. If we let the middle-grade books begin to sneak back in, they will take over the group. Thank you for your understanding.

After reading my post, a few people gave their opinion on the rules.  One person wrote that they posted about some of Voigt's middle-grade books in a teen group and that the post was well-received because of how they explained the differences between the teen and middle-grade books.

I replied to the comment as follows.  "When all members understand the group's focus, then this approach works just fine and is certainly what I wish we could do here.  I estimate that this group has between 500 and 1,000 members who don't understand the intent of this group."

Another person told me that some book groups allow off-topic posts that are tied to the main topic and that this works just fine.  This person suggested that we should focus on enjoying the posts and that we shouldn't focus on rules.  They said that focusing on rules takes away the fun, and people get along better when they don't have to worry about rules.

I'd certainly enjoy driving better if I didn't have to stop at any traffic lights.

I replied, "This approach is what I would prefer and wish that we could do here.  Earlier on, I let people post about other books.  The group quickly veered off towards favoring the other books.  We have between 500 and 1,000 members in this group who don't understand this group's focus.  Unfortunately, I have no choice but to enforce the focus, or we will lose the group's focus."

Someone else made this lovely comment:  "Sounds like you have a stick up your ass.  Try to relax and breath.  Life shouldn't be so serious all the time.  These rules are retarded."

Yet another member has had a problem with my use of "vintage" ever since she joined the group, and her complaint came up again via this discussion.  She says that books 20 to 40 years old are not vintage and that the books we discuss in the group are not old enough.  I have explained to her before that vintage means "dating from the past" (Merriam-Webster).  I finally got through to her this time, and she left the group.

And another member really took me to task, relentlessly so.  This person said that the focus of the group is wrong.  (Consider that the focus of any group is what the creator of the group says that it is.  How can it be wrong?)  This person told me that children often read books featuring characters who are older than them.  A child of 10 might read Sweet Valley High.  Therefore, all books that a 10 year old might read should be within the group's focus, according to this person.

I was informed that my definition of high school is wrong.  In some countries, high school starts at an earlier age than what it does in the United States.  Furthermore, my use of high school is apparently confusing since "junior high school" has "high school" as part of the name.

The books we discuss were published in the United States for people who live in the United States.  My definition of high school matches what is in the books featured in the group.  My definition isn't wrong.  However, I now know never to mention high school again.  I must focus on the age of the characters.

I was also told by this person that they would have been hurt and confused by the post rejection, since my response was "nitpicky, impersonal, and unwelcoming."  (It should be noted that the person who is accusing me of being "nitpicky" is doing exactly that to me in this and subsequent comments mentioned below.)

I replied as follows. 

"Much thought goes into everything I do and say.  No matter how I phrase the post rejection, it is simply that: a rejection.  It's going to sting no matter what.  I can't avoid that.

The focus of this group is not based on the age at which the books were read.  That varies from person to person, and it is true that most people read books featuring older characters.

The focus of this group is on books that feature older teenagers, ages 15 to 19."

This person then told me that the post rejection wouldn't sting if my wording were improved.  I was told that my response (see immediately above) ignored most of what they wrote.  Also, I was bragging, making a "false assertion about other people's feelings," and denying "any responsibility for being nicer."

Okay then.  I guess I got told.  

Why would someone think it worthwhile to try to make a moderator change how they phrase a post rejection?  The advice was not helpful in the slightest.  I have no idea how I can make sure that a post rejection doesn't offend the recipient.  

I can tell you what I do know.  As moderators continue to have members that break rules, question the rules, send insults, and nitpick, they become increasingly impersonal and unwelcoming.  They care less and less what members think and sometimes end up hating their own groups. 

I do still care, but I don't care as much as I once did.  I don't hate my groups, but I sometimes don't like them.

I cannot worry about how every single person will feel in every single situation.  I cannot carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. 

Yet some people expect me to do exactly that.

My least favorite activity as group moderator is having to reject posts that are off-topic or break group rules.  How dare someone try to put a guilt trip on me for how I rejected a post when I already find post rejection to be very unpleasant.  So now I find post rejection even more unpleasant than I did a few weeks ago.  How dare they do that to me.

I decided to end the discussion in the Vintage Teen Books group since it was going in a bad direction.  I removed the comments that I felt were attempting to undermine me and then closed commenting on the post.  I felt vaguely uneasy afterwards and remain a bit so.  That's the best I can do at describing it.  

I feel uneasy because most people in groups lurk and do not comment.  Since a number of people came forth on this post to criticize my actions in some fashion, I feel like many other people must feel the same way.  I feel like many members must think something is wrong with me.

I understand that the real problem is that these people think that children's, middle-grade, and teen books are all the same.  This was caused by a reference book and a prominent Facebook group lumping them together as if one genre. 

A 10-year-old girl who is beginning to like boys is not at all the same as a sixteen-year-old girl in a relationship.  I am not interested in the trials and tribulations of a 10-year-old girl.  I only wish to see the books featuring older teens.  

There is nothing wrong with that.  Hundreds of people joined the group thinking that all children's books are teen books.  I can't do anything about that, but I will not approve posts outside of what I envisioned for the group.  I hope in time that more of the people who don't like the focus will leave the group, even if they fling insults at me while leaving.  The group will be better once fewer people in the group are mistaken about the focus.

I wanted to prevent the Vintage Teen Books group from taking the same trajectory as the Collecting Vintage Children's Books group.  The Collecting group was fine at first, then more people joined.  In time, people began taking the group off-topic.  I redirected them, and people voiced their disapproval.  

That's where we are right now in the Vintage Teen Books group.  It has taken the same path as the Collecting group, with increasing problems.  However, the Vintage Teen Books group should stabilize faster than the Collecting group did, since I will stand firm in my vision for the group and will not allow myself to be manipulated like I was in the Collecting group.  

In the Collecting group, we have had lingering problems due to manipulation by a few members.  We have moved past that, for the most part.  The Collecting group is doing overall okay, even though we continue to have to decline quite a few posts and will always have a few people being difficult.

The Vintage Teen Books group will eventually reach a point where it also will be overall okay, but the process will likely take another year or so.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Latest Tom Swift and My Ongoing Problem with Books

I am requiring myself to write a review of every book that I read.  This is the only reason why I wrote this post.  In the end, it turned out okay.

Tom and his friends are excited to be spending their spring break out at Lake Carlopa, where they’ll be camping and testing inventions to clean up the shores as part of a service project sponsored by Swift Enterprises.  Rock star of the engineering world Jonathan J. Jefferson is even set to make an appearance as part of the event.  Tom’s also really looking forward to using the trip as an opportunity to test out his most ambitious creation yet—a two-man submarine!  Lake Carlopa is a haven for scuba divers because of its clear waters, and it will be the perfect place for the sub’s maiden voyage.

But when a scuba diving team shows up at the campsite and seems to be there for more than just pleasure diving, Tom and his friends wonder what they’re really up to.  Are the divers using the exhibition as cover for something more sinister?

This book does not have a next title listed.  The most recent Nancy Drew Diaries and Hardy Boys Adventures books do list the next title.  It sounds like the Tom Swift series might have ended with this title.  Speculation abounds that Simon and Schuster could be planning a relaunch to tie in with the new Tom Swift television series.  Or it could be that sales of the Tom Swift Inventors' Academy books just have been that bad.

These books are now way too science-heavy for my enjoyment.  I do realize that's the point, but that doesn't change how I feel.  I found the book to be mostly uninteresting until I reached around halfway through the book.  From that point on, I found the book to be enjoyable.

Not enough people in the collecting community are reading and saying anything about these books for me to know how much of my reaction is just me.  I assume that I am the problem.  I know that at least one other person continues to enjoy the Tom Swift books.  For a time, I thought that the Tom Swift books were the strongest of the remaining Stratemeyer series currently in print.

I don't know what people think of the Hardy Boys Adventures books at this point.  They now bore me, and I can no longer stand the first-person narrative.  I did at one time think that the Hardy Boys Adventures books were the best.

I currently like the Nancy Drew Diaries books the best, when I did think that they were the worst.  The writing of the Nancy Drew Diaries books has changed for the better.  Since my natural inclination is to like Nancy Drew the best, it is logical that I am now responding to them the best. 

That may be what changed.  Nancy Drew improved, so I no longer like the others.  However, I do feel that the Hardy Boys Adventures books have become more boring.  I do think there is a difference.  It may not be much, but I think it's there.  

I no longer find the Tom Swift books to be fun.  Is it me, or are the books less fun?  I'm not sure.

I did so enjoy the Drina books, which I finished reading right before reading this Tom Swift book.  I find that when I finish something really good that I struggle with what I read next.  These modern books fall flat compared to them, so that may be my main problem.  Regardless, I continue to struggle with reading most books.  

Each time the Nancy Drew Diaries, Hardy Boys Adventures, and Tom Swift Inventors' Academy books are mentioned on Facebook, someone asks about them.  

Are the books good?

Are the books worth reading?

I can't answer those questions for you.  I can say what I think, but what I think does not apply to you.

You must decide for yourself whether you might enjoy the books.

My opinion of the Stratemeyer triumvirate has shifted from what it once was, and I do feel that most of it is me.  Other people aren't struggling with the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift books like I am.  My opinion is no more valid than that of anyone else.  

The best way to know if you would like a book is to start reading it.  Sites like Amazon typically have a free sample of the beginning of books.  If the book is in a library, then check it out so that you can try it.  I can't tell you if you would like the book.