Friday, June 19, 2009

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #23

I have not done one of these posts since December. I have some closed auctions in my watched items list on eBay, and I will cover some of those in the coming days.

These posts are inspired by prospective buyers' questions that I see in various Nancy Drew auctions on eBay. I use the title "Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew," but it is more a lack of buyer research than anything else.

Whenever I decide to collect another series, my first task is to research the series as best I can. I obtain a list of titles, and I research the publisher and the author and try to figure out which formats are available. Since I am now collecting very obscure series such as Grace Harlowe and Marjorie Dean, I am going on very limited information, but I have armed myself with as much information as I can find. Additionally, what I already know about other series applies to the obscure ones, so I have a good idea how to proceed.

What amazes me is how many people decide to collect Nancy Drew books and try to buy on eBay having completed very little research. They clearly have done some research, since they know that they want the original 25 chapter texts. Their questions indicate that while they have some basic information, they have not viewed this series of posts nor have they viewed my formats page nor my page about the original texts. It continues to frustrate me how much time these people waste asking unnecessary questions when the research is so easy. Nancy Drew is not an obscure series like Grace Harlowe or Marjorie Dean. It is very easy to find substantial useful information about collecting Nancy Drew books and how to tell by sight whether a book contains the original text.

Here is a good example:

Nice Lot (5) Vintage Blue Cover Nancy Drew Books -Keene Item #160340606402

This is the seller's picture:

It contains all of the information we need to know in order to tell whether the books contain the original text.
Question: can you show more pics re: all books and how many chapters do each have? are the listed copyright dates the original for these listed books?

Answer: Thanks for your interest. The listed copyright dates are the only dates listed in the books and judging from the years I would say they were the originals. Chapters and total pages are: Missing Map, 25 Chapters-213 Pgs; Velvet Mask, 25 Chapters and 211 pgs; Tolling Bell, 25 Chapters and 213 pgs; Wooden Lady, 213 pgs; Old Album, 25 Chapters, 218 pgs. Please send me your e-mail address and I can send more pictures. Good Luck & Happy Bidding!!
First, the books from this auction are all either blue or tweed books. All blue books contain the original 25 chapter texts—no exceptions. For the tweed books, the only books that were ever revised were #1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. The auction did not contain any of those titles. Therefore, I know from the above photo that all five books must contain the original 25 chapter text. It is not necessary to ask. I have this information on the page about the original texts which I mention further up in this post.

The buyer asked the seller whether the copyright dates were the original ones, and the seller did not know. Please refer to this page to see a list of the original copyright dates. For the 34 titles listed in the first section of that page, if the books have those copyright dates, they must contain the original 25 chapter text. The seller did list the copyright dates in the description, so even without the photo, there was no doubt that the books contain the original text.

I now fully understand why the Applewood editions have become so valuable. It is not so much that the books are nice but that uninformed buyers know that the Applewood books contain the original text. People who have done no research can be certain that they are buying books with the original text when they buy the Applewood editions. That is the reason.


Kathleen said...

I believe that Applewoods sell because they are so pretty.

To get an original book with a nice dj with the glossies and everything would cost a fortune.

I think maybe I have two (LOL) and I have been collecting for 7 years semi-seriously.

The Applewoods are cheap by comparison (except during that crazy time last summer) although even when the prices hit a low, they recovered. I also expect them to continue to be popular.

And, of course, they have the original text along with the glossies.

Personally, I am crazy about the artwork. I love Tandy.

I like the authentic books too but I cannot afford the white spines NSS so I have a lot of mid-range ones like the wraparounds.

I do not think the Judy Bolton Applewoods are going to do as well as they are softcover but I have yet to see a softcover one so I cannot say for sure.

Jennifer White said...

The reason why I say that people want the Applewood editions because they know the books have the original text is because of
this comment on an old post.

The person stated, "After spending a year on EBay buying a set of 34 N Drew, non-revised, books for my sister - I believe I understand why some people are attracted to the Applewoods (like me). It's confusing & extremely time consuming to sort through all the listings (many by novice book sellers who know nothing about N Drew), and to learn the Drew book printings in order to complete a decent set for oneself, or as a gift. A serious collector is going to want the OLD N Drew - the newish collector who doesn't want to invest a huge amount of time may be happy with the 21 Applewood printings."

That is why I believe a large factor in the allure of the Applewood editions is the guarantee that they have the original text, not just how pretty they are.

To get an original book with a nice dj with the glossies and everything would cost a fortune.

That is what many people think, but it is not true. It did ten years ago on eBay; it no longer does. I recently bought a 1937 printing of a Nancy Drew book with a dust jacket and internals for around $30.00 in the past month on eBay. The vintage editions are not as expensive as people think they are. The Applewoods are inexplicably more expensive in many cases than the vintage books.

Jennie said...

Hi Jennifer,
First time posting here so I hope I'm putting my question in the right place :) I've been reading your Series webpage for months it seems, it is HUGE help for understanding the ND and DG series, how they were published, formats, etc. -- thanks so much!!

I was working on my ND collection, then got "distracted" by the other series I love... I joined the Dana Girls Yahoo group awhile back. But I have a question now that I haven't been able to find an answer for by looking through your webpages, your blog or the Yahoo group.

Because of a surgery recovery (needed lots of easy reading to fill lots of extra time!), I started to re-read titles in both series... and when I began going thru some of the Danas, I discovered that unlike with ND (for which I enjoy BOTH the early 25-chapter versions & the later 20-chapters, both are fun for diff. reasons) with the Dana stories, I'm finding I really don't enjoy the later 20-chapter stories very much. But I adore those older Dana books... there's just something about the earlier style and the types of stories... (perhaps I just prefer M.Wirt Benson's style.)

Anyway, what I'm trying to figure out is if any of the #1-13 (or 1-24) DGs were revised from 25 chapters down to the shorter 20 chapters, like NDs were. Sure, like you said in this blog posting, it's easy to understand which NDs are 20-chapter versions (I grasped this fully by reading your webpages and also, the NDsleuth pages). But I'm not seeing the same info about DGs; so it's making me wonder if perhaps they never did "revise and shorten" the DGs? Did those early stories stay the same throughout the first two printing runs?

I think the reason I'm confused is this: my copy of Winking Ruby has only 20 chapters, but it's #19, written in 1957. My copy of #17 Ghost in Gallery has 25 chapters, but it lists to Bamboo Bird. Do you know when they started revising and shortening the DGs? Did they just start doing that with one of the titles (like, with Winking Ruby?), and then NOT go back and revise the earlier #'s? If this is the case, I just won't bother filling-in my collection with anything past #19.

Thanks again so much, your series book knowledge is amazing and so helpful! :D :D

Jennifer White said...

Dana Girls #1-16 were never revised down from 25 chapters, so each book only has the original text in all printings. These sixteen books all still had the original text in the beige spine picture cover format, and all of them went out of print and never made it to the white spine format, which is where some revisions occurred.

#18 and up only had 20 chapters in the first place, so those titles were not revised, except a couple of titles that made it to the white spine picture cover version had very slight revisions like just a sentence or paragraph in the beginning of the book. The order of the titles changed in the white spine format, and this caused them to have to correct minor inconsistencies like when the Danas returned from various travels.

#17 is the only volume that was revised down from 25 chapters to 20 chapters. The revised version appears in the white spine format.

You don't have to worry about making sure you have the original text for #1-16 in the original set, since all of those books have the original text. The higher-numbered titles with the 20 chapters are generally not as good as the lower-numbered titles, just like in the Nancy Drew series. Lettie Briggs and Ina Mason disappeared from the Dana Girls series in the later books. Not only that, the Danas travel all the time and hardly ever attend school in those books. The series is quite different in the later titles.