Monday, January 31, 2011

The Ninth Nancy Drew 1930A-1 Old Clock Dust Jacket

You will recall that the seventh and eighth known examples of the 1930A-1 dust jacket of The Secret of the Old Clock surfaced this fall.  The ninth known example of the 1930A-1 dust jacket surfaced this month.  The book was listed three times before it was finally allowed to run to completion.

Nancy Drew Secret of the Old Clock...1930..Carolyn Keen

The first auction was canceled because the seller's son ripped the dust jacket into two pieces.

Nacny Drew The Secret of the Old Clock 1930..C. Keen

The second auction was canceled because of the misspelling in the title.

Nancy Drew The Secret ofthe Old Clock 1930 1st Blank EP

The third auction was allowed to run and closed at $4,494.00.  I was the third highest bidder, and while I would have been happy to have honored my bid, I deliberately chose to bid less than what I thought was necessary to win the auction.  I thought that I would have had a high chance of winning if I had bid at least $5,000 and a moderate chance of winning if I had bid around $4,500, so instead I bid slightly less than $4,000.  I spent too much this fall, and I am currently in the process of building up my funds again.  I can spend large amounts on books, but I can rein myself in easily when necessary.

Here are the additional photos that the seller sent me of the dust jacket.

The reseller who usually wins these auctions was the second highest bidder.  The highest bidder is someone whose ID I do not recognize from the past, but this person has purchased a wide variety of unrelated high-end books in the last month.  For that reason, I believe that the winning bidder is a reseller as well.

Since the seventh, eighth, and ninth examples of the Old Clock first printing dust jacket have surfaced in rapid succession in just the last few months, I am now quite confident that more examples will surface.  My theory is that the books that are now surfacing are ones that were passed on to the original owner's children, who might now be around 70 years old or so.  Those children are now passing on, and their possessions are getting sold in estate sales.

2/24/11 update:  As I suspected, the book was purchased to resell.  It has been listed on eBay by the buyer for $8,500.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Items Found in Books

I have found a variety of interesting items in books.  One time I found a $20 bill.  That was like finding a treasure.  Another time I was extremely grossed out to unexpectedly find a large clump of hair inside a book as I was reading it.  Yuck!  There is something about hair from an unknown person that is unnerving.  I immediately took the book over to the trash can and tipped the hair into the trash without touching it.  Double yuck!

In just the last week, I was startled as I turned a page and unexpectedly spotted an object.  I was probably thinking of that clump of hair.  I was relieved when the item turned out to be a small dried flower, which I didn't mind leaving in the book.  I just can't deal with someone's hair.

I have also found some interesting vintage items.  Late last year, I found this birth announcement inside a Grace Harlowe book that is a first printing from 1914.


The birth announcement is approximately 3 inches by 2 inches, so it is very small.  Ardis Wetzel was born on December 27, 1919.  Ardis would be 91 years old if still alive.  It is kind of haunting to find a birth announcement that must have been tucked inside the book ever since Ardis was born and most likely remained inside that book for Ardis' entire life.

I found this ultra-neat bookmark inside an Outdoor Girls book that is nearly 100 years old.  The bookmark might not be quite that old, but it must be more than 80 years old at the very least. 


The Paul Jones Middy is exactly the type of outfit that the Outdoor Girls wear on the covers of all of the books.  Visit this website for some information about middies.  I especially like seeing the photographs of actual articles of clothing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Judy Bolton and Penny Parker Reprints

Someone recently asked about the Judy Bolton and Penny Parker reprints that are up for sale on Amazon.

The Judy Bolton reprints were published by Applewood and have high quality paper. They are softcover books and are very nice.  The cover art is a high quality reproduction of the original Grosset and Dunlap cover art.

I do not know what the quality of the Penny Parker books is. If you go to the Project Gutenberg website, you can download the texts of all of those books for free. Unless you prefer holding a book in your hand, you would be better off getting the texts from Project Gutenberg.

The books cannot be found on Gutenberg by searching for Penny Parker.  Instead, the books can be found by searching for Mildred Wirt.

The publisher of the Penny Parker books got the texts by downloading them for free from Project Gutenberg. They also took the scans from Project Gutenberg and used as the cover art.

The person who placed the Penny Parker texts on Gutenberg swiped the scans of the dust jackets from my website without my permission. I don't own the rights to the images, but it was very rude. He asked for permission and was denied, but he did it anyway.

The Mildred Wirt texts were first mentioned in the comments to this post.  I am pretty good at reading intentions in certain situations.  First, the guy stated that I might be interested in the Ruth Fielding and Betty Gordon books that are up at Project Gutenberg.  He then stated that Penny Nichols and Penny Parker would be up soon.  I thought that the comments seemed odd, and I wondered where this was leading.  I knew that something was coming.

My suspicions were confirmed when the guy surfaced again in the comments to this post.  He requested permission to upload my scans to Project Gutenberg.  I denied permission, because I knew that once the scans were on Project Gutenberg, people would be using the scans as the covers of books that would be up for sale.  I knew that the books would soon be up for sale by somebody. 

On January 2, 2011, Jennifer Fisher informed me that my scans were on Amazon on the Penny Parker books.  I checked, and sure enough, they were on Amazon and that was when I discovered that my scans had been placed on Project Gutenberg.  Once scans get copied, they get copied everywhere and with no credit given.

Why did the guy want the scans on Project Gutenberg?  After all, anyone who reads Penny Parker can get the scans from my website.  Could it be that he was intending to profit from the books?

By the way, aside from Project Gutenberg, I am fine with some use of my scans so long as the original source, my website, is mentioned alongside the scan.  Jenn Fisher has used some of my scans in her blog, and she has credited the source.  I am totally fine with that.

What I am not fine with is all of the people who have copied my scans onto their websites and blogs without giving me credit.  Some of these people read this blog and have used my scans.  It is very disrespectful to "borrow" someone's scans when that person went to a large amount of trouble to edit those scans to make them perfect and then just to copy them somewhere else with no credit given.

Of all of the images on my website, the Penny Parker dust jackets are the ones which took by far the longest to make look nice.  I may have spent a couple of hours on each dust jacket.  As anyone who collects Penny Parker knows, it is extremely difficult to acquire decent dust jackets, and even so, the jackets tend to be quite soiled and grubby.  It figures that the images that took the longest are the ones that are getting used so that other people can profit from them.

I don't own the rights to the images, and there is nothing legally wrong with people using them.  I want to make it clear that I know that I have no rights to the images and no legal recourse.  My problem is just the amount of time I spent on them, and my time is devalued when people take the images and copy them everywhere and give no credit as to whom created the edited images.

This is why that for any future sections of my website, I will not edit out the flaws in the dust jackets.  Any scans I do in the future will go up as is, which interestingly enough, will make it less likely that others will copy them.  After all, specific flaws make it obvious when two scans are from the same source.

Last, this is not something that I waste a lot of energy on.  I may get a little annoyed, but I have bigger battles to fight.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Presentation Is Everything

Recently a seller listed two of the Adventurous Allens books in their original dust jackets on eBay.  The Adventurous Allens books are quite scarce, and the dust jackets are significantly more scarce than the bare books. Unfortunately, the seller's presentation left a lot to be desired.

These photos are the photos that were provided in the listings.


The jackets appear to be in rough shape.  Most importantly, the seller did not picture the spines nor mention anything about the condition of the spines.  Since the spines are what I see when the books are shelved, I am very concerned about the condition of the spines of the books in my collection.  Because of my past unfortunate experiences, I now assume that dust jackets are badly faded on the spine whenever the spines are not pictured. 

I have also asked sellers about fading.  I once had a seller tell me that the dust jacket was not faded at all, and when I received the book, I was unhappy to discover that the jacket's spine had lost around 25% of the color.  Many sellers do not understand the fading issue, so photos are important so that the buyer can decide. 

The seller priced one of the books at around $160, and the other one at around $80.  While I enjoyed the first three Adventurous Allens books, I did not like them enough to pay that much for the dust jackets.  I also thought the jackets were not in good enough condition to pay that much.  

I did not purchase the books, but I checked on them every couple of days to see if they were still listed.  I was, after all, interested but did not wish to pay that much.  After around a week, I noticed that the prices had been lowered to $59 each.  Additionally, the seller had added a picture of the spines to the listings.  I assume that someone had asked for more information.


The spines did not look too bad, and the prices were much better.  I thought about it for around ten minutes, as I was still not certain.  Finally, I purchased both books, deciding that the scarcity made the purchases worthwhile.

When I received the books, I was rather pleased with the condition of the dust jackets.

The spine of The Adventurous Allens has better color than what the seller's picture showed.  Both dust jackets look much better enclosed in mylar covers. 

This serves as a good example of how presentation can affect how easily a book sells and how much the seller is able to get for the book.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Grace Harlowe's Fourth Year at Overton College

Grace Harlowe's Fourth Year at Overton College was published by Altemus in 1914.  Grace and her friends begin their senior year at Overton.  As usual, another new girl enters the scene.  The newcomer is Patience Eliot.   On page 22, the girls make the following comments about Patience.
The watchers saw the bus open.  Then out of it stepped the tallest girl they had ever seen.

"I believe she is seven feet tall," muttered Emma Dean.  "I'm sure of it."

"Nonsense," laughed Miriam.  "But she is not far from six.  I wish it were daylight, then we could see her face."
When Patience is greeted by Mrs. Elwood, "A voice almost masculine in its depth answered."  Naturally, my modern mind started thinking that the new girl is a man masquerading as a girl, and...  But no, she really is a girl, but I had a good chuckle over my hasty deduction.  Books read so much differently nearly 100 years after they were written.

In this book, Kathleen West backstabs Grace in the worst manner imaginable.  Grace gives Kathleen a great story for her newspaper, all because Grace wishes not to be involved with the police due to a promise she made to her father.  Kathleen can use the story so long as Grace's name is kept out of it.  Kathleen ignores Grace's request and uses her name.  For the first time, we get to see Grace so furious that she admits that she despises Kathleen.  Even though Grace despises someone for the first time, she is still willing to give Kathleen a chance to redeem herself.

As happens in all of these books, Kathleen regrets her actions and becomes Grace's friend near the end of the story.  I still wish the bad girls would get banished or something.  In real life, bad people do not always become good people later.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mailing Books in Envelopes

Today I received this package.

The envelope was torn in several places. 

The books are new books.  The item specifics on eBay state that a new book is "in perfect condition with no missing or damaged pages."  One of the books is noticeably damaged along the top edge.  Most of the pages of that book are wrinkled at the top, and this is the book that can be seen in the last picture.  That book did not arrive in "perfect condition."  This is an excellent example of why books should not be mailed in envelopes.

For today's transaction, I purchased the books for a relative to read. Price was more important than condition.  I will not be informing the seller of the damage since it does not matter for this particular situation.  However, I would have preferred for the books to have arrived in a box undamaged.

This was an eBay transaction, and unfortunately, this is exactly what I expect when I purchase new items from eBay.  New items purchased on eBay almost always arrive with poor packaging.  I avoid purchasing new items on eBay for this reason.  I only did so in this case because I could get the books at a savings.

I usually purchase my new books from Amazon.  My Amazon purchases arrive in boxes or wrapped in sturdy cardboard.  I have had issues with minor damage to Amazon purchases, but that does not happen often.

Recently I participated in a message thread in which several people were recommending envelopes for mailing books.  Not again!  I gave my usual explanation of why envelopes are not good packaging material for books.  Someone stated that he/she only uses Tyvek envelopes which do not rip.  No, no, no!  The books can still be damaged.  People just don't get it.

Many sellers who use envelopes for books state that they have never had a problem and that they have never been told that a book has arrived damaged.  Their conclusion is that the envelopes are safe and secure and that their books never arrive with damage.  Oh, really?  Consider what I have stated in this post.  I will not be informing my seller of the damage.  Does that mean that the seller has never had a book arrive damaged?  Absolutely not.

While most books mailed in envelopes manage somehow to arrive safely, I have had far too many of my purchases arrive with damage.  I do not complain when I receive books in envelopes, but I would greatly prefer for the books to be mailed in boxes.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Soft Positives

Note:  This post was originally written on October 5, 2010 but was not published.  The reason it was never published is because I changed my opinion about the second feedback.  Here is the original post as originally written except for the third paragraph from the end, which I have changed to indicate my new opinion.


I am now getting soft positives from buyers on eBay. A "soft positive" is a positive feedback comment that contains a slightly negative slant regarding the transaction.

I just knew those Nancy Drew books in rough condition with dust jackets were going to be trouble all the way. First, people did not want to buy them on Bonanzle. Second, I sold them on eBay and received soft positives on both transactions.

The first one came from a buyer who likes to pick all sellers apart. That buyer takes three to four minutes to leave each feedback so that each seller can be adequately critiqued. I was left the comment, "items as decscribed, fairly prompt shipment." Considering that the buyer stated that other sellers were prompt, I interpreted "fairly prompt" as a soft positive. Additionally, I was left low DSRs, since my averages dropped.

In the case of this transaction, I generated the shipping label eight hours after payment was made and mailed the package the next day. I guess I would have to mail the same day in order to be considered "prompt."

When I looked at the rest of the feedback left by this buyer, many positives were soft positives, and the buyer left a number of neutrals and negatives. After reviewing the feedback, I was shocked that I received a positive comment.

The buyer complained about lack of information in some sellers' descriptions. I have to wonder why the buyer made those purchases without the desired information. If an eBay listing contains inadequate information, I either hit the back button or ask a question. What I do not do is buy without the information and then complain about it later.

The buyer also complained about the condition of some books in which the condition was made apparent by the seller. In one case, the buyer complained about torn pages that were not mentioned in the description, thus lowering the value of the book. The seller's description mentioned the torn pages. I love the seller's response to the feedback: "Read description. Torn pages clearly noted to indicate value of your $2 book."

I blocked the buyer on both of my IDs. This type of buyer needs to be avoided at all cost. My primary ID on eBay is the same as my ID on Bonanza. You can find this buyer's feedback easily.

In the other transaction, I received the comment, "As described but presented better than expected. My girls are thrilled!"  I at first interpreted it as a soft positive, but I have since decided that the feedback was meant to be totally positive.  My other feedback caused me to be paranoid about this one.  The following two paragraphs describe what I originally thought about the feedback.

I thought the buyer meant that I described the books accurately in the written description but that the photos made the books seem better than they were described. It is true that I could have provided photos of the books without the dust jackets so that the heavy wear to the books could have been seen. Point taken.

But it makes me wonder... Why is it that other sellers can get away with minimal photos that make the books seem better than they are or rave about the condition to the point of lying, and they do not get soft positives?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Grace Harlowe's Third Year at Overton College

Grace Harlowe's Third Year at Overton College was published in 1914.  The book begins with Grace and her friends enjoying one last night together in their hometown before heading back to college.  The entire chapter bored me, as I did not care for all the nonsensical banter that I did not find funny or interesting at all.  That was what made it easy for me to depart from Grace Harlowe and read Rick Riordan.

The story gets better with the second chapter, which really should have been the first chapter.  Upon the girls' return to Overton College, they become acquainted with Kathleen West, who is an incoming freshman.  Kathleen has worked for a newspaper for a few years in order to save money for college.  Grace and her friends dislike Kathleen's relentless reporter-like personality.  Kathleen has an unfortunate habit of forcing her company on the other girls. 

During a meeting of the Semper Fidelis club, which was formed to help Overton College girls who are having trouble making ends meet, the girls plan on having a bazaar to raise money for their purpose.   Unknown to them, Kathleen West eavesdrops from outside Grace's door.  Kathleen overhears a few girls make critical statements of her. Kathleen writes a note to the dean in an attempt to prevent the bazaar from being held.  Of course, Kathleen's attempt fails, but now Grace knows that the club has an enemy.  As usual, Grace acts like she does not know who the enemy is, although she really ought to know.

Kathleen West reminds me of Beverly Gray's rival reporter, Kay Merrill.  Not only that, but the name Kathleen keeps reminding me of one of Beverly's acquaintances who also is named Kathleen.

While the "mean girl who hates Grace" is a theme that is repeated in every Grace Harlowe book, I like the fresh turn that it takes in this book.  Kathleen skulks around spying on everyone in an attempt to get a scoop for her newspaper.  At one point, Grace has to convince Kathleen not to publish some information that needs to remain confidential.  Here is a short excerpt from that confrontation which occurs on page 146.
Kathleen West laughed disagreeably.  "That is not my affair.  I have agreed to furnish my paper with snappy college news.  This makes a good story.  To supply my paper with good stories is my first business."

"Pardon me," retorted Grace scornfully, "I should imagine that loyalty to one's self and one's college constituted an Overton girl's first business."

"I can't see that this particular story has anything to do with being loyal to Overton," sneered Kathleen.  "As for being loyal to myself, that is for me to judge.  Who dares say I am disloyal?"

"Nothing very daring about that," drawled Elfreda.  "I say so."

"You," stormed Kathleen.  "Who are you?"

"J. Elfreda Briggs," murmured the stout girl sweetly.

Even though Kathleen is partly motivated out of revenge, she also strikes out against Grace in an effort to get a good scoop.  I like that more is going on than a mean girl being mean just to be mean.  This mean girl is doing it for money and personal glory as well.  She is also ruthless.  From pages 150-151:

"Once and for all I want you to understand that college ideals and traditions are not worrying me.  I did not come to Overton to moon.  I am only using college as a means to an end.  What you offered me was a fair exchange.  As you know a great deal too much about certain things, it is just as well to be on the safe side.  I dare say I shall stumble on something else in the news line just as good as the charity dinner stunt."

At the close of this story, the conflict with Kathleen is unresolved, so the next story will have Kathleen causing more problems.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

The Red Pyramid was written by Rick Riordan and is the first volume in the Kane Chronicles series.  Here is the summary from the dust jacket:
Since his mother's death six years ago, Carter Kane has been living out of a suitcase, traveling the globe with his father, the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane. But while Carter's been homeschooled, his younger sister, Sadie, has been living with their grandparents in London. Sadie has just what Carter wants—school friends and a chance at a "normal" life. But Carter has just what Sadie longs for—time with their father. After six years of living apart, the siblings have almost nothing in common. Until now.

On Christmas Eve, Sadie and Carter are reunited when their father brings them to the British Museum, with a promise that he's going to "make things right." But all does not go according to plan: Carter and Sadie watch as he summons a mysterious dark figure, who quickly banishes their father and causes a fiery explosion.

Soon Carter and Sadie discover that the gods of Ancient Egypt are waking, and the worst of them—Set—has a frightening scheme. To save their father, they must embark on a dangerous journey—a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and its links to the House of Life, a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.
Very shortly after I began reading this book, I felt as though I was reading the Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott.  I felt that way through the entire book.  This story was definitely inspired by the Nicholas Flamel series, although it also has similarities to the Percy Jackson series.  I feel like the book is much more like the Nicholas Flamel series than it is like Percy Jackson.

The Nicholas Flamel series centers around twins, Sophie and Josh Newman, who discover that they have magical powers.  They are pursued by evil magicians who want to restore the oldest deities who will destroy the world as we know it.

The Red Pyramid has a brother and sister, Carter and Sadie Kane, who discover that they are descended from Egyptian gods.  Both Kanes end up with magical powers, although they obtain their powers differently from Sophie and Josh Newman.  I cannot state how without giving away part of the plot.  Carter and Sadie must try to prevent the bad Egyptian god Set from destroying the world.

I enjoyed The Red Pyramid but not quite as much as I did the Percy Jackson series or The Lost Hero.