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.

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