Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cover Art Anomalies

In a comment to my last post, it was pointed out that the yellow band on that book is wider than usual. Sometimes when a book is printed, the cover art gets shifted up, down, left, or right from the normal position. The result is that the outer portions of the cover art that are not normally seen are sometimes visible. We tend not to think about this when we look at our books, but the original paintings for the cover art were cropped when used for the covers.

I have the copper printing plate that was used to make the wraparound dust jacket for the Dana Girls book, A Three-Cornered Mystery. Notice how the bottom edge of the printing plate has more of the artwork on it than what appeared on the dust jacket.

I am sure that some examples of A Three-Cornered Mystery have covers that show more of the bottom edge of the illustration.

I have a picture cover of the Nancy Drew book, The Haunted Bridge, seen at the left below, in which the cover art was shifted to the left and wrapped onto the spine. The end result is that more of the right edge of the cover art appears on the book.

Not only is the cover art shifted to the left, it is also shifted up slightly from the normal position.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Nancy Drew PC with Unprinted Endpapers

Awhile back, I ran across this Nancy Drew matte picture cover:

What makes the book odd is that the book has unprinted endpapers.

The glossy flashlight editions have unprinted endpapers, but all of the matte picture covers are supposed to have printed endpapers.

The book is a matte picture cover edition of The Clue in the Old Album. The back cover lists NDC, #1-25, #53, #26-52, and #54. By the back cover list, the book matches the 1977B-44 printing according to Farah's 12th edition. The first problem is that the 1977B-44 printing is supposed to be the introduction of the 1977 text, but this book has the original 1947 text. The second problem is that the 1977B-44 printing is also supposed to have an order form inside the book, but this book has no order form nor is there any indication that an order form was ever present.

This another uncommon variation of boards, endpapers (or lack of), and text block that is not mentioned in Farah's Guide. Does that mean that the book is RARE? Not necessarily. There may be a bunch of these, for all I know. Just because a book is not mentioned in Farah's Guide does not mean that it is rare. Some sellers try to sell books from printings that are not yet documented in Farah's Guide as extremely rare, valuable books. Farah's Guide is a continuing work in progress and will never catch all of the variations. It is an impossible task.

I went back and looked at my older posts on Nancy Drew printing anomalies. Several of these oddities have a common denominator: The books list to Parchment either on the back cover or inside the book. Check them out:

Nancy Drew Printing Anomaly

A Bizarre Nancy Drew PC Anomaly

Nancy Drew Mirror Bay Black Print Back Cover

Did something go screwy in 1977?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Misinformation in eBay Auctions

Part of the description of this auction caught my eye. The auction was for the scarce second art dust jacket of The Message in the Hollow Oak. The seller had received a message from an eBay member and posted it in his description.
It is one of the rarest versions of any Drew, as it is the intro of the 2nd cover art of this title and there was only one printing in this format. It was released in 1961 and the next year when dust jackets were discontinued and all titles went to yellow spine, this art was continued on the picture cover issue. I haven't seen this version on Ebay in about 2 years.
While the dust jacket is very scarce, it is an exaggeration to state that it is "one of the rarest versions of any Drew." The incorrectly-numbered dust jackets (discussed in this post), particularly Mysterious Letter, Shadow Ranch, and Broken Locket, are much more scarce than the second art DJ of Hollow Oak.

The statement about not having seen the second art dust jacket on eBay may be what that person thinks is true, but I have seen it up for sale in the last two years.

It took me awhile to find it, but here it is:

Ethics in Bookselling

The above post was published on June 26, 2008. In it, I noted how the second art dust jacket of Hollow Oak is said to be rare, yet it comes up for sale more often than a rare book should. In that post, I listed six different copies that were either up for sale or had just sold on eBay. I also noted that I had a seventh copy in my possession at that time. This all happened just a little over a year ago, which is nearly one year less than the two-year time frame in which someone stated that it had not been seen on eBay.

I know that I miss auctions on eBay. I personally would never state that a dust jacket has not been on eBay in two years unless I had record of every single auction. When I wrote about that first printing Bungalow Mystery dust jacket, I stated, "The jacket is nearly impossible to find and comes up for sale probably only once every five years." I did not state that it had not been up for sale in the last five years. I do not know whether it has or not. I cannot remember everything, so I hate reading comments about how a book has not been seen on eBay in a certain amount of time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Some Interesting eBay Prices

Here is a complete set of Nancy Drew books in dust jacket that sold for $920.75. This is $24.53 per book. In recent months, complete sets in dust jackets have sold for $200.00 to $450.00, and a reseller usually wins the auction. It looks like most of the bidders on this lot were people who wanted the books for their collections.


Original Nancy Drew Lobby card - Trouble Shooter 1939 Item #270437213602

This one is incredible. A lobby card from one of the old Nancy Drew films sold for an amazing $1,324.99. These lobby cards always sell for high amounts, but the last ones that I can remember sold for around $500.00 each.



This lot of 16 ordinary picture covers from the 1970s sold for $130.06. WHAT? That is $8.13 per book, and the books have stickers on the spines. The seller stated that the stickers could be removed, but how can the buyer be sure? The dull matte picture covers are often damaged by stickers, even when lighter fluid is used to soften the adhesive. If these books were shiny ones from the early 1960s, then probably the stickers would come off. I am skeptical about these. Why would a buyer pay close to $10.00 per book for ordinary books that are not in very good shape?

Okay, well, the seller did say that volume one is worth $89.00. Um, $0.89 would be more accurate and maybe up to $5.00. Did the bidders actually believe that? This is a good example of when to be skeptical of a seller's claims. Perhaps someone has listed a matte picture cover of #1 for $89.00 somewhere on the internet, but I doubt that anyone will ever buy it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Twitter Update #4

I have around 100 followers on Twitter and am currently following 112 people. I fully understand that for most people, Twitter is a promotional tool and is used for blatant promotion. Hey, I joined Twitter solely for promotional reasons. People need to be careful, though, because it can easily become spam and be counterproductive. Yesterday, I began to receive direct messages that contain a link to a "gift" with the suggestion that I send a "gift" in return. I received multiple gifts from one person and then one each from several other people. These are all people that I am following. It really annoyed me. I mean it really annoyed me. I have my account set up to receive an email whenever I get a direct message. So not only do I have all of these gift messages to delete, I must also delete the notifications for the gift messages. I think the gifts are supposed to be something fun, but I don't want them. I don't know anything about the application, which I have to download in order to receive and send gifts, so I do not wish to risk downloading it. I have heard about people getting viruses and getting their accounts hacked because of downloading various applications. I wish to have nothing to do with these gifts. Apparently one can opt out of receiving the gift notices, but one must give the gift application permission to access one's account. Um, no. The result is that everyone who sends me a gift is going to get unfollowed immediately. I want nothing to do with this. It is not often that something deeply offends me, but this does, probably because I have a deep hatred of spam and no patience for activities that appear to be time-wasting with no intrinsic value. I searched Twitter for mentions of the gifts and found a good tweet that I retweeted. I was very happy to find some people who also view the gifts as spam. The lesson to be learned is that while Twitter is a promotional tool, don't be annoying.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Wet Package

This is why all sellers should make sure that books are wrapped in plastic:

The package arrived during a rain shower. My postal carriers make no attempt to keep my mail dry, so I have received packages in this condition many times, and sometimes the books have significant damage. This package contained a valuable book, but because the envelope is made of plastic, the moisture did not reach the inside. Additionally, the book was enclosed in a Ziploc bag, so it would have been fine even if the moisture had reached the inside.

Notice that the delivery confirmation bar code is destroyed. I went into my PayPal account and found this transaction. Here is the information from USPS:
Your item was processed through and left our DALLAS, TX 75398 facility on August 10, 2009. The item is currently in transit to the destination. Information, if available, is updated periodically throughout the day. Please check again later.

Detailed Results:

Processed through Sort Facility, August 10, 2009, 10:54 am, DALLAS, TX 75398
Processed through Sort Facility, August 08, 2009, 12:37 pm, DES MOINES, IA 50395
Electronic Shipping Info Received, August 07, 2009
The book was not scanned when delivered due to the sad condition of the label, which is my carrier's fault. Per USPS, we are not supposed to tape over the bar code, because sometimes tape makes the bar code not scan. I may have to consider partially taping over the bar code so that if a label gets soaked, part of it remains intact.

While a valuable book should not have been mailed in an envelope, the seller did everything else right. Just keep in mind that mail does get wet. Books mailed in boxes are safer from moisture than books mailed in envelopes, but books mailed in boxes need a little extra protection as well. I have received books in boxes that have been damaged from moisture because the books were unwrapped.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nancy Drew Old Clock Printer's Block

Last night I was scrolling through completed listings on eBay in order to find some auction results to mention in this blog when I stumbled across this extraordinary item.

Vintage Letterpress Printers Block Nancy Drew Old Clock Item #390074397730

From the seller's description:

Offered here is a vintage printers block for the
book, The Secret of the Old Clock,
the first book from the Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene.
It is metal mounted on wood.
It is 9.5 x 6.5 picas or 1-1/2" x 1-1/8."

The printer's block sold for only $55.00, apparently because most of us never noticed the auction. Argh! I know why I missed it; I restrict my search to the books category and then search outside of books manually. I did not do that when this item was active. Even if I had, I'm not sure that I would have clicked on the "Business and Industrial" category to look for a Nancy Drew item.

I'm not sure why most others missed it. It could be that for some people searching all of eBay for Nancy Drew that this item might have been dropped from the search results. That has been known to happen as I have mentioned in past posts. It also could be that more and more people have had it with eBay and are no longer searching like they once did. This supports my argument that eBay is no longer the fine marketplace that it once was where people can always get top dollar for their items.

Now what this item has to be is a printer's block used to make the illustrations that appeared in the old Grosset and Dunlap advertisements from the 1930s. How neat!

The seller also had a Bobbsey Twins printer's block.

Vintage Letterpress Printers Block Bobbsey Twins Ranch Item #390074397748

The Bobbsey Twins printer's block sold for $20.50.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Padded Envelope with Lots of Books

I thought I'd share another example of substandard packaging.

The last picture tells the story the best. I have never seen so many softcover books stuffed into one padded envelope — 34 to be exact. Notice that in the last picture that the sticky side of the tape is up against the books. Yeah, the books are okay, but that does not mean that the books should have been packaged this way.

As with the two other bad packaging jobs that I have mentioned recently, this too was a Buy It Now purchase for a reasonable price. It seems that any eBay seller who uses low Buy It Now prices usually packages the books like they are not worth much of anything. I pack my low value books the same way as my high value books. Just because a book has a perceived low value does not mean that it deserves to be abused.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Using RARE Is Silly

I was looking at a completed auction for a complete set of the matte yellow Nancy Drew picture cover books — in fact the auction mentioned in a recent post. The sellers like to describe these sets as RARE. Check out this screen capture of what I saw right above the completed listing: Click on it to see a larger version. Four complete matte sets of #1-56 are pictured, and I do see RARE as a descriptor. Wow, four sets available all at once, and they are RARE? So if only two sets were available I bet they would be super RARE. If only one were available, it would be extremely super RARE.

How about using "hard to find" instead? You know — "HTF." "HTF" uses fewer characters, and at least it is not exactly a lie. It can take some time to compile a complete set of Nancy Drew books but the sets are definitely not RARE. If the sets were RARE, then only a few of us would have complete sets. Oh, I know — the buyers love seeing RARE, but the sets will sell with or without that word. Trust me on this. I have sold complete sets for $150 to $450 in the past and never described them as RARE.

By the way, it is not as hard to get a complete set of the matte yellow Nancy Drew books as sellers would have you think. When I used to sell complete sets, I compiled them the same way that these other sellers do. All you have to do is buy a few of the incomplete lots that sell for relatively low prices. The aim is to buy the books for no more than around $2.00 each, so a seller can buy a set of 50 of the books for around $100.00 and then get the last few missing titles from another purchase. Voila! The seller then has a complete set of Nancy Drew books which can then be sold for $250.00 to $500.00. This is why the same sellers who offer the RARE complete sets also frequently offer partial sets for lower prices. They have to get rid of all of the extras that they purchase.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #28

Sometimes I grow weary of seeing the same types of questions over and over in the eBay listings. By continuing this series of posts, maybe a few new people will learn more about collecting.

Set of NANCY DREW MYSTERY STORIES - 1-50 - Vintage! Item #260441758400

The seller states, "I personally collected these books since the 1960s." Just this simple statement gives some important information. While it is possible that older books could have been purchased, most people probably purchased new books as children. It is reasonable to conclude that the offered books were likely printed during the 1960s.

The seller gives the copyright dates of all of the books, so it is possible to figure out which text the book has. Remember that any Nancy Drew book with a copyright date of 1956 or before must contain the original 25 chapter text. Also remember that volumes 35 and up never had 25 chapter texts in the first place.
Question: me again, you placed 1934 as the publication of the broken locket. is that when the book that you're selling is published? or did you just write publishing date of the original edition? when are the majority of these books really published?

Answer: Hi, I will check shipping to the Philippines and get back to you. The publication year for each and every book I have listed is cited inside the book. I have not made up any dates. Some of the books printed in the late 1950s and 60s were edited by Grosset & Dunlap with updated text. Many of the books were published before the 1960s when I started collecting them. It may be helpful for you to note which of the books carry the blue end pages, as these preceded the later white ones. Sincerely, Amanda
I believe the buyer is using "published" in place of "printed." The seller stated that the books were purchased beginning from the 1960s, and I can tell from the photos that most of the books are from the 1960s.

I would say that nearly all of volumes 1 through 40 in the above picture were printed during the 1960s. I am not certain about Lilac Inn since it looks like it could be from the 1970s. The books for volume 41 and up look more like the 1970s, although one or two books from the 1960s may be in that group.

I know this because Nancy Drew picture covers from the 1960s tend to have spines in varying shades of yellow. The spines are prone to fading. The lettering on the spines of Nancy Drew books from the 1960s is larger than in the 1970s and is of mixed case rather than all upper case. There are exceptions as I have stated in previous posts, but these characteristics hold true for the vast majority of the books, which makes for an easy way to narrow down the age of a picture cover edition.

Also notice how thick some of the books are, such as Broken Locket. A couple of printings of the early picture cover editions from 1962 and 1963 are quite thick, so those books definitely date from 1962 or 1963.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Twitter Update #3

I remembered something else that I need to mention. Each new experience has a learning curve, and Twitter is no exception. An important promotional device is the retweet. What a user does is copy someone else's tweet and then send it as a retweet. By doing this, the user exposes the other person's tweet to their followers and a whole new group of people. It helps spread the word. Here is an example: On July 22, Bonanzle made the following tweet:
Affiliates Program launched in beta, and a *real* Tweeter is on the way!
I then decided to retweet it by posting this:
RT @bonanzle: Affiliates Program launched in beta, and a *real* Tweeter is on the way!
The way to do a retweet is to put "RT" for "retweet" at the beginning of the tweet and then to put @ followed by the user name of the person who did the original tweet. Next, place the rest of the tweet on the end. The @ followed by the user name sends a message to the user letting them know that a retweet has been done. It only took me at least a week (ha) to figure out where to go in my account to see these types of messages that people have sent. On the right side of the screen is a link titled "@booksforgirls" which is where I click to see all tweets that contain @booksforgirls. If you register on Twitter, make sure you click that link to see if people are commenting directly to you. Once you get a lot of followers, it gets hard to keep up with direct comments unless you check that location. If you use Bonanzle, what you can do is start following people who also use Bonanzle. I found the easiest way to locate the active users is to do a search for "Bonanzle" and follow the people who have posted recently. Most of them will follow you right back. You will also get some spammers following you, and I have blocked those who have questionable intent, like the ones who have links to content that is of a lascivious nature. I don't care to have that kind of stuff connected to my account. Right off when I joined Twitter, I had a few of those people follow me because my id contains the word "girls."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Twitter Update #2

I forgot to mention that you can link your Bonanzle account to your Twitter account. This makes it very convenient to tweet items from Bonanzle. Every single item on Bonanzle has a link right after the item description to "Tweet it." If you've linked your accounts, then you can enter the text for your tweet and submit it. The tweet shows up on Twitter immediately. Each Bonanzle tweet already has the URL included with "at Bonanzle" in the tweet right after the URL. All you have to do is enter the text that you want to appear before the URL. My current most viewed item is a Girl Scouts book that I tweeted days ago. This is a great way to get more exposure to Bonanzle, even if it does not necessarily result in immediate sales. As I mentioned in my last post, my current Twitter objective is to tweet other people's items to try to get them some more exposure. I've done two Nancy Drew, a Judy Bolton, and a Trixie Belden so far.

Twitter Update

As I mentioned recently, I joined Twitter in part to check it out but mostly to see if I could use it to promote Bonanzle. I kind of like it, so I believe that I will continue to use it. I have tweeted a few of my Bonanzle items, and I have decided to tweet some other people's items as well. I do not know whether people actually get sales through Twitter, but the tweets definitely bring in visitors. I found out about Twibes recently and told Jenn Fisher about them. She created a Nancy Drew Twibe, which can be found here: I joined her twibe, and so far, she and I are the only members. What is neat about the twibes is that each twibe has from one to three keywords which are selected by the founder of the twibe. "Nancy Drew" is a keyword of the NancyDrewFans twibe. What this does is that any time a member of the twibe sends a tweet that includes one of the keywords, that member's tweet shows up in the twibe's profile. I like it. I decided to create a twibe. After debating for a bit, I decided to use SeriesBooks. So far I am the only member, which is not surprising since I just created it. I decided to choose "series books," "Nancy Drew," and "Judy Bolton" as the keywords for my group. I went with Nancy Drew because Nancy Drew is the most popular series to collect. I chose Judy Bolton because the Judy Bolton group is very active on Yahoo! Groups, so it is one of the most popular series to collect. If any of you are on Twitter, I'd love for you to join us. We might be able to have some fun!