Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #39

Nancy Drew #1 Secret Old Clock Tweed Original Text DJ

I was asked, "What is the publication date?" This type of question bothers me since I can never be certain what the buyer means.

My response follows.
You can tell how old a Nancy Drew book is by looking at the last title listed on the dust jacket and inside the book, which is information I always provide in the description. This book has a dust jacket that lists to Witch Tree Symbol, and Witch Tree Symbol was published in 1955, so the jacket is from 1955. The book lists to Velvet Mask, and Velvet Mask was published in 1953, so the book was printed in 1953. The book and jacket are slightly mismatched, which happens sometimes. Follow the links on my eBay About Me page for more information about telling how old a Nancy Drew book is. Most sellers do not provide the information you need, so buyers have to educate themselves. I hope this helps.
I was then asked, "Thank you, I appreciate your information. But on the title page of the book, isn't there a publication date?"

I gave this response.
The vast majority of Grosset and Dunlap books bear only the original copyright date, which appears on the copyright page. Grosset and Dunlap never printed a date on the title page. I have several thousand Grosset and Dunlap books in my possession, and none of them have dates on the title page.

Grosset and Dunlap books do not have publication dates stated anywhere in the book, except for a few oddball printings from the early 1970s and most all printings from 1985 to the present day. Those books are the only ones in which one can refer to a date printed inside the book as a reference to the age of the book.

For all other cases, we must rely on the last title listed on the dust jacket list or on an interior list that is not on the copyright page.

For the very few Grosset and Dunlap books that have printing dates stated, those dates are always on the copyright page, which is the reverse side of the title page. However, as I stated, only a few scattered books have a stated printing date.

Grosset and Dunlap was a company that printed in such a way to keep costs down, so they changed the list of titles in the series ad rather than anything else about the book. They would have to have changed the printing plates, thereby raising costs, in order to change any stated publication dates. As a result, Grosset and Dunlap avoided that practice except for in a few oddball printings.

You probably should look at my Nancy Drew guide which is on my other user ID. In that guide, I explain about how the copyright pages were not updated.

Let me know if you have any additional questions.
Immediately after sending the second response, I had a hunch that I may have missed the point of the question and checked my listing. I sent another response.
Perhaps I have confused you because I did not explicitly state in the listing "copyright 1930." I stated that the book has the "original 1930 text with 25 chapters." The book is copyrighted 1930 on the copyright page, and all copies of this title printed from 1930 through 1959 have the 1930 copyright date. The copyright date was not changed until the 1959 revised text was published. Since this book has the 1930 copyright date, it has the 1930 original text. Since the jacket lists to a 1955 title, the jacket was printed in 1955. Since the book lists to a 1953 title, the book was printed in 1953.
I did not receive another response, so I have no idea what the buyer needed and whether I answered the question. I am left feeling frustrated. As almost always happens with these types of questions, the buyer did not buy the book.

Out of curiosity, I checked the buyer's bidding history, and this person bought two revised text picture covers of #2 and #3 on the same day that I was questioned. I hope that the buyer got what she wanted, since I don't have a clue.

I also am left with the nagging feeling that no matter how I present my listings, a certain percentage of buyers will still not understand. For that reason, I will continue to do what I do and not worry about it.


stratomiker said...

Perhaps you should just give the printing number from Farah's Guide. I started doing this again to avoid annoying questions from buyers, even though I really don't agree with the guides. When you mention the copyright date and then the guide date/number, it seems to give almost all buyers an idea of what they want to know. Plus, just getting info from a (wow!) 'guide', seems to instill confidence in them.

Trying to explain the intricasies of Drew printing to novice buyers is more difficult than trying to explain why e=mc2 - but if you tell them a guide decrees it, they'll believe it.


Jennifer said...

You're right that if I would just cave and spends lots of time looking up every single book in Farah's Guide, I probably would make everyone happy. I'll hold off for now.

The thing with the buyer who asked me this question is that she bought from someone who only had a picture and a year. That seller did not even label the year as a copyright date, publication date, printing date, or anything else. I know the year was the copyright, but the buyer would not know that. Why was I asked this information by this buyer? Why did she then go and buy from someone who knows nothing about series books and gave just about no information? It is puzzling.

stratomiker said...

She may have used you to get the info to make sure the book the other seller had was what she wanted. Buyers do a lot of sneaky things in trying to get info about books. They send all kinds of questions via the eBay email feature that often seem to have not much to do with actual buying. My policy is to ignore all questions unless they are something relevant - which most aren't.

One I really hate is, 'Does this book come from a smoke-free house?' Do people really have to assert their control agendas in their book-buying? A fifty year old book may have at one time been in a smoking house - how do I know? And I don't smoke in my house, but other people do if they wish.

Even worse is 'pet-free house'. What if you have goldfish? Do they mess up books? Parakeets?

You also get many questions that are already answered in the description, but a lot of buyers have really poor reading comprehension.

I really don't think I lose sales by ignoring questions. Usually, if people really want books, they just buy them.


Jennifer said...

It is true that most people who ask these types of questions do not purchase the books. I have occasionally ignored a question, but the ones I ignore tend to be the ones where they tell me my prices are way off or want me to sell the book for an extremely low price. For some questions, I choose not to answer since I would have trouble avoiding being rude.

I am reminded of one of the oddest questions that I have received. Someone took me to task because of a Kay Tracey book that I had for sale. She said that she had trouble finding my book because I did not use the author's name, Frances K. Judd. Exactly who searches for Kay Tracey books by only using the author's name? Most collectors run a search for Frances K. Judd books? That was news to me and was one of the times I did not answer.

I'm not sure if this most recent questioner could have been using me for information, although you do have a point, and I'm sure that has happened to me in the past. The books she bought were different titles. It just seems really odd that she was asking about a tweed #1 and then bought picture cover books of #2 and #3.

If someone is extremely allergic to pet dander, then that person needs to ask. I do not feel that the seller needs to state whether the home has pets. If a seller were to state that the home is pet-free, then the book might have still been around pets in previous homes. There is no way to guarantee which allergens might be in a book.

I recall someone worrying about where old books have been and stating that she always cleaned them with Windex or something. It seemed that she was most worried about whether people had read the books in the bathroom. I've never been concerned about that sort of thing. I do assume that all old books have some dirt on them, but that dirt is not going to hurt me.

Jenn said...

Even if you don't know where a book has been, basically if you just smell the book you can tell them it's smoke free or not by the smell--if it reeks like it's been in a fire and/or smoker's home then they probably aren't interested in it :) ha! If it doesn't smell like smoke, you're good to go whether or not it's ever been in a smoking environment--if it's undamaged by not smelling then I think answering that it's smoke free is fine. As a buyer, there's nothing worse than getting in a book that smells horribly--be it smoke or mildew/mold. I think most sellers like us would state that in their listings if that was a problem but I've gotten books before that the seller never mentioned the obvious glaring problem of horrible mildew smells--so it may be that a buyer has been burned before and wants to make sure before buying in the future.


Lauren said...

I did not receive another response, so I have no idea what the buyer needed and whether I answered the question. I am left feeling frustrated. As almost always happens with these types of questions, the buyer did not buy the book.

I have ALWAYS found that the people who ask the most questions are the ones who don't buy in the end.

And yeah, it's their prerogative to buy or not, but I always find it rather rude when a buyer sucks up a bunch of your time and then both doesn't buy and doesn't say why/acknowledge the time you spent answering their questions/giving them new photos, etc.

If someone who's asked me 100 questions doesn't buy a book, I know I'd appreciate a quick "thanks for the new photos, I think I'm going pass because..." so at least I know that I answered the questions adequately and that it was the buyer's choice to pass, not a lack of info from me.

The worst time I ever had with a questioning buyer was a man who asked for multiple new photos on different listings and then didn't bid on any of them. When I followed up to wonder if there was a problem, he told me "I did want them, I just fell asleep and forgot to bid."

Again, his prerogative and all, but it was seriously annoying after all the extra work I'd done (he wanted photos of the corners, spine, etc.) that he just didn't bother.

Jennifer said...

I have gotten the "forgot to bid" comment quite a few times, sometimes from people who asked questions and other times from people who did not. People forget to bid, and the book sells to someone else. They then contact me asking me if I have another because they forgot to bid. Yeah, I just have stacks of identical uncommon older books available (sarcasm). One time when this happened was when I had some extra "as new" condition Demco hardcover Nancy Drew books that were extras from an eBay lot I had bought. I certainly did not have more of them.

stratomiker said...

Once I bought a whole bunch of 50s Hardy Boys books with DJs that were perfectly mint, like new. There were about 60 books and they arrived in two boxes. Problem? The boxes were loaded with really gross bugs. I had to take it all outside to the picnic table to get the books out of the boxes and bug free. The books, really, were OK. I ascertained that the bugs had been in the boxes, not on the books.

They had come, I was told (after contacting the seller) from an old building that used to be a bookstore, and that he had used some old boxes from the basement, obviously without checking them out.

It really wasn't a big deal because the books were pristine; it was just gross. But the weirdest things can happen when you are book-buying. It taught me to always make sure boxes are clean and critter free.

I have also had strange items included in boxes with the books, things that had no reason to be there, like a snowglobe, a bunch of model train tracks, and a T-shirt! People must just pack things into a box without first seeing if anything is already inside it.

One time I did find money in a book, two high-numbered bills. That was fun. Has anyone else experienced this? It was a Judy Bolton book from the 1940s.


Jennifer said...

I found a twenty dollar bill in a book from a complete set of Nancy Drew picture covers. It was like a treasure! That is the only time I have ever found money.

I opened a box sometime in the last year in which a large beetle crawled out and went scurrying off. I had to quit with the package to go after the beetle. For a while after that, I was careful while opening packages.

Brandi said...

Its so funny this question was asked! I found a key, an old key in a Judy Bolton book that I got recently. I have spent quite some time thinking about what that key went to and wondering who wanted to find it, and what was locked behind it. This, to me, is better (... well maybe) then money because I am just dying to know what is behind that lock that I have a key to. I'm sure someone could cut it, or do whatever means were necessary to access whatever it is, but still, it makes me feel 'special' that I have the key.

Lauren said...

You guys have found money? Wow, that is cool! I've found random little items like fancy bookmarks, flashcards, grocery lists, etc.

Probably the only interesing thing I ever found in a book was hilarious 1980's photo in a Sweet Valley High book. It was three girls, apparently at a college party based on the giant beer cans in their hands, with huge poufy bangs, acidwashed/highwaisted jeans and blue eyeshadow up their eyebrows.

Jennifer said...

I once found a clump of cut hair in a book. It startled me and grossed me out. There is something about hair from an unknown person that is disgusting. I tipped it into the trash without touching it.

I remembered another question that did not result in a purchase. I had a book that I described as "a library discard with the usual library markings." The buyer asked me to describe specifically what the library markings were and where they were. The library markings were a pocket, the library name, etc., and I told where they were which were all the usual places where these markings occur, as in on the endpapers and title page. The questioner did not place a bid. I guess they were hoping the library markings statement meant nothing?

Kathleen said...

Bugs?? Yuck!

Some of these books are coming out of "Hoarder Hell".

I just try not to think about it.

For a laugh, ask appslivyp about the most bizarre package she has received.

There is just no way of tracing the critter and smoking history of the vast majority of the books unless you come across an original owner.

I'd venture to say that certainly the majority of the vintage books have been around critters and smoke long before political correctness, long before we were even born!

Some of these books are ninety years old! Maybe I should design certificates of forensic history.

I have had a more than a few books that were so grotesque I threw them right in the trash. I am talking nasty.

I hate to do that with a vintage book but I did not want to handle them nor would I ever consider selling them.

If a book smells stinky I try to air it out and just state it in the listing.

These people need to lighten up big time. All this fuss over 20 or 30 dollars?

I NEVER list anything cheaply anymore as it attracts the deranged.

And I just tell them the copyright date and the year that particular book came out and leave it at that.

I am not looking all of them up. If they do not know what they are doing it is gobbly gook. And if they do they can look them up themselves as we do.

The people with all the questions or demanding more photos rarely buy anything.

They drive me nuts! Especially with the photos! Grrrrr.

I use GarageSale for the Mac so I do not have to pay Ebay for photos; they are uploaded to that website.

Now I usually put about 8 photos up. My listings are about 30 pages long. Just how much more info do these people need? (And, yes, people actually do read them! LOL )

What I do not mind at all is helping people out.

Kathleen said...

But I do not appreciate a question about endpapers when there is a photo there but it is tolerable if they would just say please and thank you. Or even "hi".

While I am kvetching, I got unfavorable feedback for using a padded envelope that was supposedly not padded and too big.

The book was packaged well and arrived safe and sound.

I am NOT a mind reader. I do not know if someone prefers their book wrapped in silk or in satin.

Nor do I give a flying rat's patootie.

I told one prospective customer that I'd be happy to pack her book in a box if she'd only send me one!

So I get a book in a Hamburger Helper box! Once I am finished wrestling with the contraption, if the book is not damaged I certainly do not care.

I cut yet another "buyer" some slack and did not file complaints when this clown failed to pay for two books.

In return, he left negative feedback saying HE was disappointed!!!

I recently thought I had goofed and listed a book I no longer had. I had had two. The lady threw a hissy fit.

She NEEDED it! Nothing all that special about it. It is not even hard-to-find.

An hour after I told her, I did figure out that I had just packed it with the wrong order.

The book is here. Am I going to bother telling her?

You know what her response would be.

I do not want her money.

She acted as if I did it deliberately.

And if I made a mistake- I should not be selling! You'd have to clear the site!

A few friends of mine and I share names of bidders that are nothing but problems. I must have 40 of them blocked! Who needs it!

I highly recommend doing that.

I have learned to avoid them like the Bubonic Plague. I do not argue. I try not to even respond. That is so hard to do when you are angry and frustrated.

Plus many of us go out of our way to give a buyer a pleasurable transaction.

First, they can retaliate. Ebay is totally unilateral and biased etc. etc. etc.

Second, I have had some stalkers. One is a spawn of Lucifer. I am talking REALLY bad. Serious. Cost me thousands of dollars.

And the sad part is that most of the buyers are terrific!

Thanks for having a forum where we can commiserate, Jennifer!

Kathleen said...
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