Saturday, November 29, 2008

Buying to Resell on eBay


The above auction was for ten tweed Nancy Drew books that do not have dust jackets. The final bid price was $100, so the winning bidder paid $10 per book. Did you know that the resellers are currently purchasing tweed Nancy Drew books with dust jackets for $10 and less each in order to resell them? Why not buy some of those books? It continues to amaze me how people do not bid on the cheap books and bid really high on books that were recently purchased on eBay.

For instance, the above seller recently bought a lot of eight tweed Nancy Drew books for just $11.61 plus $3.98 postage. She has also bought other lots of tweed books cheaply. Perhaps the bidders will bid those books up to $100 when they come up for sale. It will work out quite nicely for the seller if that happens.

Search the bid history of many of the people who regularly sell Nancy Drew books on eBay, and you will see where they get their inventory. I mention this because I had someone comment to me a few months ago that "so-and-so must be selling her collection because she needs the money." No, that person is selling extras that were purchased on eBay recently and is making a nice profit. That person buys around 100 items per month, every month of the year. The books are resold as soon as they expire from her bidding history. It is a business.

Anybody who consistently has a dozen or more series books up for sale at any given time, 24/7/365, is running a business. They are not selling their collection. If they were, they would run out of books after a while. I do buy to resell but not nearly in the volume that these other people do. Even at that, most of my extras come from upgrades and books that were parts of larger lots.

It is easy to spot when someone is selling their collection versus selling books for profit. When a person sells their collection, many real treasures come up for sale. A series book collection was liquidated on eBay in the past couple of years. I was able to purchase a few of the books—like a 1950 copy of the Nancy Drew book, The Secret at Shadow Ranch, with part of the wrong number 11 visible off to the side of the hole that was punched through the wrong number. Shadow Ranch never comes up for sale with the wrong number present, and one with even part of the wrong number present is quite remarkable. Those are the types of books that surface when a collection is sold. When sellers offer commonplace tweed Nancy Drew books many times over, they are not selling their collections.

I am not criticizing the people who buy series books in volume on eBay and resell them at a profit. There is nothing wrong with it. My point is that most buyers are totally ignoring all of the low-priced listings and are letting a small group of people buy all of them in order to sell them at nice profits. It is astonishing.

This is exactly what was happening with the Applewood edition Nancy Drew books earlier this year. All of the lower-priced ones were sold to the same group of people who then resold those same books at huge profits. For some reason, this trend has reversed with the Applewood editions. It appears that many of the Applewood editions have sold recently at low prices to some of the people who actually need them for their collections.

The people who buy to resell in volume also buy a lot from each other. Books are frequently sold several times over to different resellers, sometimes going up and sometimes going down in price, until someone finally buys the book for their collection. I know this happens because I sold a book to Seller A who sold it to Seller B who sold it to Seller C and then I lost track of it. The book had a certain flaw that made it easy to track. The book's price went up and down during the multiple transactions. I sold the book at a slight loss, while Seller A made a nice profit (mainly by not mentioning that certain flaw—for shame!), and Seller B took a big loss. It is actually quite funny watching some of the same books get passed around on eBay over and over again until they finally find a permanent home.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #18

The Question and Answer section of this auction is a mess.

Nancy Drew The Secret Of Red Gate Farm circa 1931 Item #220309555212

What is offered for sale is an early 1940s Nancy Drew book that has a dust jacket that lists to Missing Map.
Question: What are the DJ lists? Does this have a glossy frontispiece? Are there post script lists, in the back of the book? Thanks

Answer: DJ 1st: The Secret Of The Old Clock, 21st: The Quest Of The Missing Map. Yes. PS Dana Girls Mystery Stories. 1st: By The Light Of The Study Lamp, 10th The Mysterious Fireplace. Thanks for your inquiry, JP

Question: I'm confused by you Q&A. You state that the ND list on the DJ list to #21, which is The secret in the old Attic, not The Quest of the Missing Map,#18. Which is it? The DGirls lists to Mysterious Fireplace is on the DJ, also? Is there a Melody Lane list to Kashmir Shawl on DJ also?

Answer: The Secret Of Red Gate Farm. The ND DJ list: The last listing (#21) is The Quest of the Missing Map.The Mysterious Fireplace is the last listing for D Girls and The Secret of the Kashmir Shawl is the 7th and last listing on the back of the DJ
So the seller stated that the last and 21st title in the list is The Quest of the Missing Map, thus confusing the potential buyer. It didn't matter whether the seller counted correctly; the fact that the seller stated that it listed to Missing Map was enough information. I would not have engaged the seller in further discourse.

I found a book that has a dust jacket listing to Missing Map, and what the seller did was count every line as a title, so the titles that were printed on two lines were counted as two titles by the seller. The 19 titles appear on 21 lines, so the seller counted 21 titles. I realize that the potential buyer did not ask how many titles were listed, but the seller's incorrect answer is why buyers should never ever ask how many titles are listed and should not be concerned with how many titles the sellers thinks are there. Sellers often count the titles wrong.

The potential buyer knew that Missing Map was not #21 yet stated that it was #18 when it is actually #19. After looking at the two questions and answers, I felt like I was going to get confused!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Whitman Bobbsey Twins Boxed Set

I saw an interesting Bobbsey Twins boxed set on eBay recently. The boxed set was issued by Whitman. The auction was item #290272387506. Here are the seller's pictures:

This boxed set is from the early 1960s. If I collected Bobbsey Twins books, I would have wanted it in my collection. As it is, I wouldn't mind having it, but I don't have enough room for the books that I do have.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another Adventure Girls Boxed Set

I have owned one Saalfield Adventure Girls boxed set for quite a long time, but recently, I purchased a second Saalfield Adventure Girls boxed set. My new boxed set has a different design than the one that I already had.

This is the Adventure Girls boxed set that I already had:

As seen below, the books are not the same height, so the boxed sets are not the same size:

Since the taller Saalfield books are the same height as the Adventure Girls books that were published by the A. L. Burt Company, I assume that the taller Saalfield books are older than the shorter ones. The A. L. Burt Company sold much of its series book inventory to Saalfield in 1938, while its Beverly Gray books were sold to Grosset and Dunlap. Grosset and Dunlap kept its first Beverly Gray books at the same height as the A. L. Burt books, so it is likely that Saalfield did the same with the Adventure Girls books. Probably the taller books are from the late 1930s, and the shorter books are from the 1940s.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Tribute to Collector John Axe

John Axe, a well-known series book and doll collector, passed away this week. Here is a link to an obituary:

Since links often become inactive over time, here is the text of the obituary:
YOUNGSTOWN – After a courageous one year battle with a cancerous glioma brain tumor, John E. Axe, died Monday, Nov. 17, 2008.

John was born in New Wilmington, Pa., the first child of Margaret and Alex Axe. He was raised in western Pennsylvania and lived there until 1970, when he moved to Youngstown.

He holds a degree in Spanish studied from the Universidad of Valladolid in Spain and an AB and MA from Youngstown State University. He also had hours towards a PhD at the University of Akron. He taught Spanish for Penn State University in Sharon, Pa.

John was a professor of history at Youngstown State University for 25 years, and after his retirement from there worked part-time at Pat Catan arts and crafts store in Hermitage, Pa.

He was an award winning artist and the author of more than 30 books and thousands of magazine articles. These books and articles are about the hobbies of collecting dolls, toys, teddy bears and children’s series books. His artwork included designing teddy bears for the Merrythought Doll and Toy Company in England. For six terms, he was the editor of Doll News Magazine. In recent years, he contributed a large number of articles in book collector’s magazines about the hobby of collecting and purchasing books from the early 20th Century. He was, currently, the president of the Friends of the Hubbard Library Association.

He is survived by his sister, Elizabeth Ann; his best friend, Bill; his three dogs, Mildred, Frances and Judy; his cat, Claude; and hundreds of friends worldwide.

He was preceded in death by his beloved sisters, Susan P. Axe and Patricia E. Axe; brothers, Robert Axe and Thomas Axe; and his parents.

Any material contributions should be sent to your local animal shelter in John’s name. In Youngstown, that would be Angels for Animals, Animal Charity and Second Chance Animal Shelter and in Warren the Animal Welfare League.

Friends may call from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Shriver-Allison-Courtley-Weller-King Funeral Home, where a memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday.
In addition to many books about dolls, John Axe wrote two books about collecting series books, All About Collecting Girls' Series books and All About Collecting Boys' Series Books. John Axe's books are lovely and picture the dust jacket art for most of the major series books. Even though I own all of the books, I still like to get out my copy of All About Collecting Girls' Series Books so that I can gaze at the pictures and read John's commentary about the books.

All About Collecting Girls' Series Books inspired me to create my series book website. I wanted to create something similar to John's book but on the world wide web. I wanted to have nice cover art galleries and information about the series in hopes of inspiring more people to collect the books I love.

Judy Bolton was John Axe's favorite series, and he wrote a letter to Margaret Sutton when he was a boy. Margaret wrote a letter in return. Her letter meant the world to him. Earlier this year, Margaret Sutton's daughter, Lindsay Stroh, posted a message from John's sister to the Judy Bolton group. In part the message stated, "My brother has, all of his life, treasured the letter your mother sent to him, and he believes that she was a great influence in his life, as she was the first person who encouraged him, and she also encouraged him to be a writer. He still has her original letter."

Margaret Sutton's letter was reprinted in John Axe's book. A tribute to John Axe is not complete without this letter that meant so much to him.In the Foreward to All About Collecting Girls' Series Books, John Axe writes, "People who do not do so wonder why we who collect books do. I am always amazed when somebody comes into my house, sees all the books and (always) asks, "Have you read all those books?" . . . After all this time, I still re-read my series books over and over. When I read them and when I look at the pictures on those dust jackets I am young again, my little sister is still alive, and I cannot wait for Christmas because I may get some more books on my "Wish List."

I always get a lump in my throat when I read the last part of that passage, especially now knowing that John is gone. That is exactly why we read series books. We remember the good times when all was right in the world. I will confess that I have begun to cry as I finish typing this message. John Axe will be missed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #17

A recent auction for The Mystery of the Fire Dragon is worthy of mention for more than one reason.

Nancy Drew #38 The Mystery Of the Fire Dragon w/ DJ 1st Item #250321847008

First, the seller copied and pasted information directly from my website and inserted in the listing. This is plagiarism and not cool. Second, the seller also used two of my photos and displayed them by linking to my website, thus using my data transfer, also known as bandwidth. This is even more not cool. Fortunately, I am nowhere near my limit in data transfer, so a little bandwidth theft is not going to cause me extra fees. However, if I were someone with a free site, I would have very little data transfer included in my plan, so a seller linking to photos on my site could cause problems, such as shutting down my site.

Linking to another person's photos is also very foolish. I saw this listing before it closed, and I could have changed those photos to something else in order to mess up the auction. I have better things to do than mess with auctions, but I have seen multiple cases in which website owners have changed photos to insulting messages such as "This seller is a scammer!" when sellers have directly linked to their photo files.

Now to the real reason for mentioning this auction. The seller states, "Meets all of Farah's first issue points for both the book & the dust jacket. First printing 1961. Refer to the photo (#4)." I am a little skeptical of whether this seller has a Farah's Guide and whether this seller really knows what the first printing points are. The seller does not state why the book is the first printing, which is a big red flag. Buyers should be wary of any listing that states a book is the first printing without giving a specific reason why. Even if the listing states why, buyers should be aware that the seller might still be wrong.

I am not certain which photo is the fourth photo, since I do not know whether the seller counted the photos going horizontally or vertically. Regardless, the way to tell whether Fire Dragon is the first printing is by the interior list of titles, which is not pictured. This is why I feel that the seller really did not know. The seller did picture the copyright page which means nothing. The seller's "photo (#4)" might be the photo in which the date 4/29/61 appears, indicating that this book is from 1961. The problem is that there were three 1961 printings, each with the identical dust jacket.

This seller also received a question from a potential buyer:
Question: What is the last Nancy Drew book title on the list inside the front of the book? thank you.

Answer: The Mystery Of the Fire Dragon. I can post a photo of this tomorrow.
This is an unclear question. If the potential buyer meant the front flap of the dust jacket, then the question was unnecessary. The Mystery of the Fire Dragon was the last Nancy Drew book printed in dust jacket. Since there were no more titles printed in dust jacket after Fire Dragon and since all Nancy Drew books switched to picture cover at the exact same time, Fire Dragon cannot list to the next title on the dust jacket. All three dust jackets are identical and list to Fire Dragon on the front flap.

If the potential buyer meant the interior list of titles, asking for the last title listed was not enough information in order to determine whether the book is the first printing. Both the first and the third printing books list to Fire Dragon in the interior list.

The true first printing of Fire Dragon lists Nancy Drew to Fire Dragon and Dana Girls to Bamboo Bird in the interior list of titles. The second printing of Fire Dragon lists Nancy Drew to Fire Dragon followed by Lilac Inn and lists Dana Girls to Bamboo Bird in the interior list of titles. The third printing of Fire Dragon lists Nancy Drew to Fire Dragon and Dana Girls to Sierra Gold in the interior list of titles. All three dust jackets are completely identical, so there is never any need to ask about the dust jacket lists for Fire Dragon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Downturn in Online Bookselling

Several online booksellers are dumping their series books on eBay in larger book lots and for low prices. I have now counted three booksellers who are doing this. One seller states that he is downsizing his inventory.

SUNNY BOY Carolyn Wells DOROTHY WHITEHILL 6 in DJ Item #120330979156

The above bookseller, robt_williams, is someone with whom I have had transactions going back to 1997 on both eBay and the Advanced Book Exchange.

Here is another:

Lot of 8 ROVER BOYS by Arthur M. Winfield in DJ Item #290274436857

The above seller, bookstalker2, is Dave Edwards of the Book Safari, He does list a bunch of his books in lots on eBay somewhat frequently. It appears, though, that he is listing more books now than usual. Also, I notice that, as of this writing, his website was last updated with new inventory on October 19, nearly one month ago. This is not normal for him.

Here is the third:

Nine Nancy Drew Books by Carolyn Keene in Dust Jackets Item #330284726989

Frogtown lists a lot of books on eBay, but I do not normally see him offering multiple book lots of Nancy Drew books in dust jackets.

All three booksellers are people who sell on other venues in addition to eBay. I have a feeling that sales have been so poor lately that it has been necessary for them to list larger lots of series books at low prices in order to improve their cash flow.

I have saved want lists on the Advanced Book Exchange, and I have noticed that far fewer books have been listed in the last few months than previously. Not only are people not buying, they are also not selling. I am buying very little because I cannot find much worth buying. For the most part, I am not selling because I do not feel that it is worth it at the moment.

I just received a 10% off coupon for the Advanced Book Exchange in my email. I don't think I'm going to be able to use it. I was not able to use my eBay 10% off coupon a few weeks ago. What good are coupons when I can't find items to purchase during the valid dates?

Even more annoying, eBay has now given me a 10% off coupon that is good in only the electronics category. I am going to be purchasing some electronics in the coming weeks, but I only purchase electronics from retailers such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Amazon. EBay is too risky for electronics, so my coupon is no good.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The eSnipe 2008 Stimulus Package

ESnipe is a service which allows bidders to hold their bids until the last ten seconds of an auction. When a buyer creates an account with eSnipe, their eBay user ID and password are saved in the account. ESnipe has a handy tool called SnipeIt! which can be placed in the internet browser's toolbar. When an auction of interest is spotted, the buyer can use SnipeIt! to place a bid that eSnipe will execute on the buyer's behalf during the final ten seconds of the auction.

ESnipe usually offers a slight discount on its fees during the holiday season, but this year's discount is far better than usual. ESnipe is calling this year's special the "eSnipe 2008 Stimulus Package." ESnipe customers purchase BidPoints from eSnipe in order to pay for the service. Without getting into a detailed explanation of how it works, customers pay eSnipe 1% of the winning bid for each successfully won auction. If a customer uses eSnipe to win an auction at $100, then eSnipe charges $1.00. There is no charge when an auction is not won.

ESnipe's current BidPoints sale allows for customers to purchase $100 worth of BidPoints for just $78.00. This is a nice savings for people who use eSnipe a lot. $100 worth of BidPoints typically lasts me for nearly one year. This sale is good through December 1.

Since all user IDs are now hidden in auctions, it is not wise for buyers to bid early and risk having the seller bid against them. Waiting until the end of the auction eliminates the possibility of the seller using another ID to artificially raise the bidder's price. Additionally, waiting until the end of the auction to bid tends to keep the final price down, leaving the buyer more money to spend on other purchases.

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Transaction Frustration

I find all too often that sellers make certain situations very difficult for buyers. A seller recently mailed the wrong item to me. She realized her mistake and emailed me to refuse the package. I bought the item on my secondary account and did not check my messages until after I received the package. Even if I had checked my messages before I opened the package, I would not have wanted to write "refused" on the package and hope that it would somehow make it back to the seller.

Since I did open the package, I had to package it again in order to prepare it for mailing. The seller's actions (or lack of) made my next step much more difficult. First of all, the seller sent me a PayPal payment rather than simply refunding part of what I paid her. Since it was sent as a payment, I had to pay $0.47 in fees, so what I received was less than what I needed for the postage. Aside from that, the seller did not click on the selection to include her address when she sent the payment, so that I did not have her address as part of the payment file. This was what caused me to go to more trouble than necessary. If the seller had included her address in the payment, I would have had a handy link in which I could have very quickly created a shipping label without having to type all of the information in myself. Sigh . . .

I then went to my original payment to the seller. I have discovered that if a seller accepts returns, then there is a handy link in the original payment file so that a buyer can easily create a shipping label. Needless to say, this seller had that feature blocked. I had no choice but to get the outer wrapping from the seller's package and manually type her address into the PayPal Ship Now page:

I am giving the link here because this is a little-known piece of information. If I did not know about PayPal Ship Now from reading eBay's message boards, I would have had no way of generating a shipping label for my return transaction. I cannot even find a link to PayPal Ship Now on the PayPal site, and I have tried more than once. This link is good for whenever a package has to be sent to someone, and there is not an associated PayPal transaction.

In the past, I have had multiple sellers send me refunds by sending me a payment instead of using the refund link. One time, I told a seller ahead of time that all transactions have a refund link near the bottom of the page and to use it instead of sending a payment. That seller said she couldn't find it and sent me a payment. Here is a screen capture of the lower part of the screen for a PayPal payment that I received recently with all personal information removed:

I highlighted the refund part in yellow so that it would stand out. It is not that hard to find. It may be that some people are afraid to use it, thinking that they might accidentally refund all of the payment. When "Issue Refund" is selected, the next page has the seller enter the amount, and then a second page asks for the seller to confirm the amount. As long as the seller confirms the amount, there is no way that a seller can accidentally refund all of the payment.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

An Interesting Adventure Girls Book

Around a year ago, I bought an A. L. Burt edition of one of the Adventure Girls books to upgrade one in my collection. Nearly all of the Adventure Girls books that come up for sale are the Saalfield reprints, so it is rather difficult to get the A. L. Burt books with intact dust jackets.

The book is The Adventure Girls in the Air, and I was quite surprised by something I noticed inside the book in the lower right corner of the front free endpaper.

"AUTHOR'S COPY" is ink-stamped on the front free endpaper. The only explanation that I can think of is that this book was one of the books that A. L. Burt sent to Clair Blank when the Adventure Girls series was first published. If so, this book is not only a true first printing, but more importantly, it was once the personal property of Clair Blank. How neat is that?

Monday, November 10, 2008

More on eBay's Search Problems

I am frustrated with eBay's search. The results are still inconsistent, and items are still missing from search. I just reloaded the search multiple times with the results changing between 2868, 2869, 2871, 2873, 2870, 2867, 2872, and 2867. These results are very close, so it shouldn't be a big deal, right? But what if that one item that I would want to buy is one of the six items that is not showing in all of the results pages?

Last night I did a search for Nancy Drew under title and description. Near the bottom of the third page was a Connie Blair book. After I clicked on the link to the next page, I saw the same Connie Blair book listed several down from the top on the fourth page. This annoys me. No doubt several dropped items were missing on my previous pages and were added back into my results when I went to the next page, thus shifting the Connie Blair book from the third to the fourth page. The problem is that I was already to the fourth page, so I missed those dropped items. I went back to the first page and reloaded, but I had trouble getting consistent results with the slightly higher number of items. I don't have the patience to reload each page five to ten times to try to see all of the items.

I am still using eBay's old search, because I refuse to use eBay's new search until they force me to use it. Sometime recently, they did opt me into the new search, but I opted out. I'm not going there. I just read on eBay's message boards that some people who are using new search are unable to see any of the results pages except for the very first one. This is not good. New buyers will automatically be opted into the new search and won't realize that they can opt out. As a result, new buyers will never see all of the results.

PayPal also has a nasty glitch. Many payments that are sent by eCheck are showing up as unclaimed in the seller's account, even after the eCheck has cleared. The sellers are only able to get their money after calling PayPal customer service and having someone manually release the payment. EBay has not mentioned this glitch on their announcements, which is most curious.

I may not sell anything until the end of the year because of all of these problems. As it is, I typically do not sell during December because I do not wish to deal with buyers who buy books around December 15, pay for media mail, and wait a week to tell me that they really, really, need the book for Christmas and where is it/what if it doesn't arrive on time? I avoid that by not selling.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Linda Carlton Boxed Set

I recently purchased a boxed set of the first three Linda Carlton books by Edith Lavell.

The boxed set was put out by Saalfield. I have had a similar boxed set of the Adventure Girls series for quite a long time. Notice that the spines of the books in this set match the design of the boxed set. Since the Saalfield boxed sets contain only three volumes, this must be the reason why volumes four and five from the Linda Carlton series were never reprinted, thus making them nearly impossible to find.

Below is a scan of the back panel of one of the Linda Carlton dust jackets.

Notice that each series listed on the back panel has three titles. Since I also have an Adventure Girls boxed set, I strongly suspect that each of these series was released by Saalfiend in a boxed set. It is quite unusual to have a boxed set survive 60 to 70 years, so they do not come up for sale very often.

I recently saw another Saalfield boxed set on eBay in which three unrelated titles were packaged together. Here is the seller's picture:

The three books are Bobs - A Girl Detective, The Valdmere Mystery, and The Sandalwood Boxes.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Girl Scouts Series #11 and #12

The Girl Scouts series by Edith Lavell consists of ten volumes. The A. L. Burt Company also published two additional Girl Scouts books that were written by Harriet Pyne Grove and added to the end of the Lavell series. Since the tenth title of the Lavell books ends with Marjorie thinking of her future and appearing to live happily ever after, the end of the story of Marjorie Wilkinson definitely ends with volume 10.

I have always thought that the two books by Harriet Pyne Grove are unrelated to the Lavell books. I now have a copy of volume 12, The Girl Scout's Problem Solved. I have not read it but have flipped through it. I recognize none of the names of the different characters, so I am confident that the story is unrelated to the Lavell books. I do not have a copy of volume 11, The Girl Scouts of the Cardinal Patrol, so it is possible that some link could be made in that volume, but at this point in time, I feel that it is highly unlikely.

It is not unheard of for publishers to link books together in a series when in fact the books are unrelated to each other. The Moving Picture Girls series by Gertrude W. Morrison consists of seven titles. When the series was reprinted by World Syndicate and Goldsmith, a title named The Moving Picture Girls' Holidays was added to the set and even has the author stated as Laura Lee Hope on the dust jacket, yet that title has no relation to the other seven books. The Moving Picture Girls' Holidays is a book from the Ethel Morton series by Mable S. C. Smith.

Seen below is the copyright page of The Girl Scout's Problem Solved in which the two books by Harriet Pyne Grove are listed as part of the series by Edith Lavell.

The Girl Scouts of the Cardinal Patrol and The Girl Scout's Problem Solved are only listed on the books and jackets of those two titles. The ten books by Edith Lavell have no mention of volumes 11 and 12 on any of the books or jackets. The Lavell series is just the ten volumes, and the books by Harriet Pyne Grove are a short two-volume series that are packaged as part of the Lavell series.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Some eBay Observations Part II

A little over a week ago, I made some observations about my experiences of the previous week on eBay. During that week, I had far more buyer questions than usual. Prospective buyers wanted me to break up sets and sell them just one or two books cheaply, and a buyer told me that I should reconsider my price for the complete set of Nancy Drew books because it was overpriced.

Another buyer asked me whether I would be willing to sell the complete set of Nancy Drew books privately, so I asked her for clarification. She never responded. I was looking at closed listings this weekend and noticed that she had won an auction for a complete set of Nancy Drew books for around $100 several days after she contacted me. I think I can conclude that she was wanting me to sell my complete set to her for far less than $295, which would not have been in my best interest. I never can understand why people think that I would cancel a listing before it ends in order to sell it for below the opening bid. I always let auctions run to completion before I even think about lowering the price. Anybody could be waiting until the last few seconds to place a bid.

I relisted some of the lots that did not sell, and those lots have now closed. The ones that I relisted were the ones for which I had many questions during the previous week. This time I had no questions about my listings. Nobody wanted me to break up the lots, and nobody wanted me to sell the books at a lower price. This time all of my lots sold.

The supposedly overpriced complete set of Nancy Drew books sold, as I knew it would eventually. I only had to relist it once! The books are worth at least $5 each rather than the $1-2 each suggested by that one person.

It may just be coincidence that all of my listings sold this week. Some weeks are better than others, and it all depends upon who is looking. Rather than lowering any of my prices, I relisted the lots at the same prices but with free shipping. Free shipping gives listings a rather large boost in eBay's Best Match search. What I need to do is list a bunch of Nancy Drew books with dust jackets and list some with free shipping and others without free shipping. That is the only way I'll know for certain whether there is a correlation between free shipping and the sell-through rate.

Of the four items I sold this week, two of them had multiple bids. For those two lots, the final price was slightly above what the total cost would have been for those lots during the previous week with the shipping factored in. The first lot was originally priced at $34.99 plus $7.78 shipping for a total of $42.77. The relisted lot closed at $48.77 with free shipping. The second lot was originally priced at $34.99 plus $8.48 shipping for a total of $43.47. The relisted lot closed at $50.99 with free shipping.

Even though I had to pay eBay fees on the shipping amount since it was figured into the item price, I still did better with both lots than I would have during the previous week if they had sold at the opening bids.

Monday, November 3, 2008

EBay Search is Broken—Again

I was searching a seller's completed auctions for the second time tonight, and I noticed that an item was missing that I had seen earlier. I hit refresh several times, and the items that were displayed changed each time.

I then did a Nancy Drew search from within the books category. I kept refreshing, and each time I saw a different number of results. All from within around minute's time, the search returned 2922, 2930, 2909, 2902, 2914, 2915, 2905, 2907, 2892, 2920, 2912, 2923, 2903, 2918, and 2911 listings. I got tired of doing it, so I quit, but it is apparent that the old problem of dropped items has returned again.

Items do drop out of search as they end, and at the same time, new items are also being listed, so there is always some slight variance. This would normally account for the results which were similar, such as 2911 and 2912. The results should never vary by more than just a couple of items. Something is wrong. This is an old problem that goes back several years, and it returns at least a couple of times each year.

When a search is done, the results are returned by one of eBay's servers. All of the servers are supposed to contain the same data, but sometimes they get out of sync and return different results. When they get out of sync, items are dropped from the results, depending upon which server produces the results.

It is a bad problem because when a seller's item is one of the dropped items, the seller may receive fewer bids. On the other hand, buyers can get good deals when they are interested in an item that is dropped from most of the search results, so fewer people see it. This happened to me several years ago when I won an auction for the first printing of Nancy's Mysterious Letter in dust jacket for only $150.00. It closed at a time when the search results were particularly bad, but I happened to be lucky enough to spot that auction. It seems like I did not see that auction until close to the end because it had been missing during other searches.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kit Hunter #4 Bush Adventure

I am reading the fourth Kit Hunter book, Kit Hunter, Show Jumper, in Bush Adventure. During a certain scene, I suddenly realized that the cover art shows Kit on a horse trying to escape from a fire in the Australian bush country. I had not made the connection that all of the pretty yellow, orange, and red colors depict a fire. I believe the problem is that Kit looks a bit too happy in the cover art. She is smiling like she is out for a fun gallop on her horse. If the picture had shown her looking like she is worried, I might have realized that she is surrounded by fire. This is a perfect example of someone looking at something yet not really looking at it.

This book has a very good mystery and is quite exciting. Colonel Hamden, Kit, and Mary have gone to Australia with John Parker, a very wealthy rancher who just purchased some horses. The plan is for Colonel Hamden and the others to oversee the horses during the first few months they are in Australia and to make certain that the horses make a good impression, thus improving their business.

During the journey to Australia, a storm strikes the ship, and Kit worries about the safety of the horses down in the hold. When Kit checks on the horses, several of them have escaped from their stalls, and a crewman is found seriously injured. Kit learns from the crewman that he accepted money in return for making something bad happen to the horses. Kit wonders whether someone has a grudge against John Parker.

Upon her arrival in Australia, Kit overhears a suspicious conversation, giving her further reason to believe someone is out to get John Parker. At the ranch, Kit learns that Mr. Parker had fired a previous tutor for his two young children because the man had begun to meddle in his affairs. Mr. Parker has hired a new tutor, and Kit soon becomes suspicious of him.

Kit decides to withhold her suspicions of the new tutor since she is not certain of anything. Too late, Kit realizes that she should have said something, because Kit is blamed for something that the tutor did. Kit finds herself in a very difficult position and must solve the mystery in order to exonerate herself.

So far, I have liked the fourth Kit Hunter book, Bush Adventure, the best. It has so many of the traditional elements of mystery and suspense that are found in series books.