Sunday, June 21, 2009

Private Offers on eBay

This topic has come up lately in the comments section of this blog. Here is one of our discussions. The way it works is that someone offers a seller a price that is substantially higher than the opening bid but substantially below the true value of the book. If the seller is foolish enough to take what appears to be an excellent offer, the buyer gets the book at a bargain and the seller loses out.

Recently, a seller came to the eBay Booksellers board after receiving an offer for $2,500. The book was at around $700 at that time. Previous to the $2,500 offer, the seller had received a $750 offer. The seller was seriously considering closing the auction early in order to accept the $2,500 private offer.

PLEASE HELP ~~Rare book, offer $2500, what would you do?

The seller was worried that the book might bring only $1,000 instead of $2,500 and was afraid to lose out on the guaranteed $2,500. Several people stated that in cases like this, the books always close at higher prices than the amounts of the early private offers.

RARE signed This Side of Paradise F Scott Fitzgerald NR

The seller wisely refused the offer, and the book closed at $5,355. The $2,500 offer was less than half of what the auction brought.

This tactic has been used with series books, but normally, it is only used for the scarcest ones. I have frequently seen auctions closed for dust-jacketed first printings of the first seven Nancy Drew books. It has sometimes happened with the last titles in certain series, such as Judy Bolton and Vicki Barr.

I do not believe that it happens very often nowadays for last titles in series because the value has mostly collapsed, due to eBay's folly and the economy. I have seen some surprisingly low prices for scarce books in just the last couple of weeks. For those auctions, people were better off placing lowball bids than making private offers.

No comments: