Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 Book Sale Part 1: Remove Those Chairs!

The large book sale was on Friday.  There was a lot of negativity this year, so much so that it largely overshadowed my positive feelings about my finds.  This post covers the bad part only.

I delayed leaving for the sale for at least an hour so I would not be in the middle of the clique.  I was still too close to them.  Next year, I think I might show up even later just to keep further away from these snobbish, entitled people who have a bad attitude and think they run the sale.  On the other hand, I'll probably show up at the same time and deal with it. 

Usually, the line is cheery.  One person in particular, a member of the clique, was cranky and rude.  Early on, two people walked up to the open door.  I was not watching as they approached, but I strongly suspect that they just wanted to look through the open door.  Everyone likes to get a peek through the windows.  Cranky was standing near the door.  He broke off his conversation and snapped at them, telling them that the sale hadn't started and that they couldn't go in.  They turned and walked off without a word.  He then snapped that he will strangle anyone who tries to cut in front of him.

Later, Cranky got upset about some empty chairs.  What a few people did was show up around 8 to 10 AM and place their chairs in line.  They then left and planned to show up towards 3 to 4 PM.  This is cheating, make no mistake, but I have the opinion that if only a few people are skirting the rules, then it is best to keep the peace and not ruin the environment for everyone.  In life, we have to deal with the cheaters and slackers, and as long as they are not causing a big problem, it is best just to let them be.  I feel like people who cheat do get what they deserve, or at least, don't get as far ahead as they think they are getting.

By the way, these same people left the chairs last year and showed up later with no one saying anything.  The problem this year was that the chairs were next to Cranky.  Uh-oh.  He decided to remove the chairs and make a big production of having all of us move forward to fill the gap up tightly.  Oh, dear.  I knew what was going to happen.

A couple of hours later, the first person returned and found his chairs against the wall.  He made some comments about it and took his chairs over to where he had been. Cranky confronted him and an argument began.  Someone pulled a few volunteers outside.  They didn't want to intervene.  One volunteer commented that if we were going to act like children in the line then the rules needed to be changed.

I couldn't hear exactly what transpired, and I am actually not certain whether the person was able to get back in line.  Around an hour later, the other two people whose chairs were removed showed back up.  They wisely did not try to get back in line.  They had a private conversation, which I was able to partially hear since I was only a few feet away.  They decided to go elsewhere; I assume to the end of the line.

Meanwhile, a couple of women had gotten really riled up by talking to Cranky.  They were indignant over an empty chair in the line behind them.  Behind the empty chair and apparently not connected to the empty chair were two boxes. 

I hate hypocrites.  The chair was an abomination and needed to be removed, since that person was not known to the clique.  The boxes, however, were fine, because the boxes belonged to a man who was not with a member of the clique but was a friend of a member of the clique.  The chair was removed, but the boxes remained.  When the man who left the boxes showed up around five hours after he left them, everything was just peachy.

Do you see the hypocrisy?  It's okay if they do it, but no one else can do it.

I also want to point out that long before the negativity, Cranky left to get his friends some tacos.  He went to another part of the city and was gone around an hour.  If it is okay to be gone an hour, why not two?  What about three, four, or five?   To what degree does the absence become a violation?  I agree that leaving an empty chair for eight hours is completely wrong and breaking the rules, but what about one or two hours?  I can tell you that I would not feel comfortable leaving for an hour. 

I almost hope that next year the volunteers post a sign stating that if someone leaves the line for more than 10 minutes, out they go.  It would serve them right.  No tacos!

Shortly after all of this and around 1 1/2 hours before the sale began, someone sent me an email chastising me for "bragging" about my "eBay prowess."  That capped it off and made me sulk and fume for those last 1 1/2 hours in line.  All I was doing was stating that people who are seeking a certain book will notice it on eBay without someone needing to tell the entire collecting community about it, as though interested members of the collecting community are incapable of spotting it.

My next post will be happier.  I promise.

Friday, February 25, 2011

An Old Dana Girls Library Binding

I noticed a Dana Girls library binding in an eBay listing recently.  It was in with some Nancy Drew books.  I hesitated in part because library editions always come in lots with regular edition books that are in awful shape, so I end up with books that are difficult to sell.  It is much harder to sell extra books than it once was.  Finally, I decided to buy the lot since the price was low. In short, I couldn't resist another library binding.

Once I received the books, I was very pleased with the library binding.  The book is thick, so it was rebound from one of the purple Dana Girls books with good quality paper and a glossy frontispiece illustration.  Both the original green endpapers and the glossy frontispiece illustration survived the rebinding process.  Since the book is thick, this means that the library binding is probably pretty old, since the thick books would likely have been rebound at least 50 to 60 years ago.

Next, I noticed that the book is from a Meridian, Mississippi library.  This is interesting to me since my paternal grandparents lived in Meridian.

I then found some evidence as to how old this binding is.  Many libraries write information sideways in the hinge area, usually on the title page.

This one mentions 1942, and 1942 is not the copyright of The Mystery of the Locked Room.  I already have my answer, but I look around for more information.  Usually, the date in the hinge area is the most that I can hope to find.  This was not the case with this book.

One date is still visible on the rear free endpaper, and it looks like either 1942 or 1943.

The last piece of information that I found inside this book is usually never present, and it is the most exciting.  Library editions very seldom have the exact date that the book was rebound, but this one does.

The date is partially hidden underneath the library pocket.  The book was rebound on December 31, 1941 by Stappenbeck & Craig of Bloomington, Indiana.

The importance of library editions cannot be overstated.  This book was rebound right after the United States entered World War II.  Many families would have been unable to purchase new books for their children, but they could go to the public library.  By rebinding books, libraries were able to offer good series books in durable bindings that would last for many years. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Any Questions?

I'm still here, but this is one of those times when I have little to say regarding series books.  It's because February has been a bizarre month.  Oklahoma City received 19 inches of snow during the first two weeks in February, and this majorly disrupted everyone's lives.  Schools were shut down for most of those two weeks, and travel was difficult or impossible.  It was also very cold, with the low temperatures reaching well below zero.

This last week was a five-day work week, and it was exhausting getting back into a regular schedule.  Now the weather is like spring with the temperatures reaching 70 to 80 degrees each day, making for an odd contrast.  When I was out on Saturday, everyone seemed so joyful.  I've never gotten that kind of a strong vibe from everyone while on an outing.  It's like we are out of prison.

I spent a significant amount of time early in the week finishing my article for this year's Nancy Drew Web Con.  Follow the provided link for more information.  Since my efforts were elsewhere, they were not here.  Make sense?  My article will be on library editions.

I do have more package troubles, but I will most likely wait for a final resolution before publishing my thoughts.

So, does anyone have any kind of random thought or question regarding series books that we can discuss until I am sufficiently motivated to write again?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Package Troubles

I hate it when a package takes more than two weeks to arrive.  Sometimes it is because the postal service is at fault, but more often, it is because the seller delayed mailing the package.

The media mail packages I mail out almost always arrive within four to seven days.  Most of my purchases arrive within that same time frame.  A few purchases take seven to ten days because the seller wrote the address on the package instead of typing it or using a computer-generated shipping label.  Very seldom does a package take more than 10 days to arrive.

It is a huge cause for concern once two weeks have passed, and I have not received a package.  I had two transactions from early January.  Two weeks later, I had received neither package. I wanted to inquire, but I didn't want to be one of those buyers who asks about a transaction and the package arrives the very next day.

I often have buyers get worried when seven days have passed and the package has not arrived.  I tell those buyers that the package will most likely arrive within the next one to two days.  Guess what?  The package almost always arrives the very next day.  So, I don't want to trouble a seller when most likely nothing is wrong.

In the case of my two January transactions, neither seller used PayPal shipping, and neither seller uploaded a delivery confirmation number. Neither seller contacted me to tell me that the package had shipped.  This is most frustrating because I have absolutely no way of judging whether I have cause to be concerned.  The result is that I am concerned because the sellers have given me no information.

What to do?  I usually wait until the three week mark to inquire about packages.  In the case of one of my packages, it showed up on the 15th or 16th day.  Surprise, surprise... the seller had only mailed the package seven days before it arrived. 

In that case, I was satisfied overall with the transaction but peeved that the seller was slow to ship and did not communicate that fact.  I don't mind if a seller has a delay in shipping so long as the seller lets me know.  That way, I won't be worried.

I don't want to destroy a seller's reputation, so there is no way I would leave one or two stars.  However, this seller did not deserve five stars on communication or shipping speed.  I decided to leave three stars on those two and five stars on the other two.  I don't even know if I did the right thing.  The feedback system is so unjust on eBay these days.

Now to the other transaction.  I have to admit that I got busy and forgot about it.  On day 25, I finally remembered that I had not received the package and needed to ask about it.  I contacted the seller.  I received a response just a few minutes later (nice!) stating that the package had been mailed on January 15.  The seller suspected that the package was lost and stated that I would receive a refund if I did not receive the package shortly.  The seller then refunded my money two days later.

I couldn't help but wonder why the seller didn't wait a little longer before refunding my money.  I checked the seller's feedback and noticed that the seller has a history of lost packages that had to be refunded.  It made me wonder why this seller has trouble with lost packages.

The day after the seller sent me the refund, the package finally arrived.  The package arrived on the 28th day.  I contacted the seller and paid for the purchase again.  I also let the seller know what caused the problem.  The seller had left old bar codes on the package.  The bar codes were on three sides of the package.


The old bar codes, even ones from UPS, get scanned by USPS and end up sending the package to the wrong city.  Never leave old bar codes on packages.  The seller did attempt to mark through the bar codes, but the only way this works is when the bar codes are completely covered.

I recall the last time I had a package take this long that the seller had left an old bar code on the package.  The old bar codes cause major problems.

Delivery confirmation is helpful to both the buyer and the seller.  In this case, we probably would have seen a record of the package's movement around the country and would have had an idea of what was going on.  Additionally, at the time the seller sent the refund, the package had to have already been at the Oklahoma City distribution center.  The seller would have realized that a refund was premature and that the package would arrive shortly.

Not only that, but delivery confirmation helps keep people honest.  I did not for a moment consider not reimbursing the seller, but I realized when the package arrived that I had the package and my money and that the seller did not know.  Think about that.  The seller would never had known if I had not told him and paid him back.  I could have had some free books.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Grace Harlowe's Problem

Grace Harlowe's Problem was published in 1916 by Altemus.  This book is a thousand times more interesting than Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus.

The first four chapters have a lot of filler material as well as some reminiscing.  A couple of pages are devoted to a chance encounter with Madge Morton of another Altemus series, the Madge Morton series.  Grace and her friends discuss Madge's life and adventures, and of course this occurs in hope of getting the reader to buy the Madge Morton books.

Near the end of Chapter 4, the plot finally begins with the introduction of the newest member of Harlowe House, a girl named Jean Brent.  Jean seems to be hiding something.  Of course Jean refuses to tell Grace the truth, but Grace learns that Jean has a bunch of expensive clothes that she wishes to sell in order to pay for her expenses.  Grace refuses to allow Jean to sell her clothing.

Later, Jean secretly sells her clothing to some of the wealthy Overton students.  Grace is extremely upset when she learns of the sale and worries about how it will make her look.  Around the same time, the dean, Miss Wilder, takes a leave of absence due to bad health.  A Miss Wharton takes over the position as dean and seems to hate Grace from the first moment she sees her.

None of this bodes well.  The news of Jean's clothing sale gets out, and Miss Wharton threatens Jean with expulsion and Grace with losing her position at Harlowe House.

I find it amazing what a big deal is made over the sale of a girl's clothing.  Gasp!  It is so shocking.  How could Jean commit such a horrible deed?!  What a huge scandal...

Running parallel to Grace's problems at Overton is Grace's conflict with Tom Gray.  Tom wants Grace to marry him, and Grace steadfastly refuses over and over again.  Tom decides to leave for South America, no doubt because of his grief over Grace's refusal.  It's odd how Grace then, finally, seems to miss Tom... Gee, I wonder where this is going...  I bet I can never guess.

I read this book in one day, so needless to say, I enjoyed it much better than the previous book in the series.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus

Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus was published in 1915 by Altemus.

This book was hard to get into because of the excessive reminiscing at the beginning of the book.  The first 84 pages are mainly filled with fluff from the past.  Towards the latter part of those pages, Grace fondly recalls some events from near the beginning of this book.  I was so bored.

Grace has returned to Overton College to take charge of Harlowe House.  I bet you can guess for whom Harlowe House is named.  Mrs. Gray, who has been the girls' fairy godmother since the first book, had the house built for impoverished girls so that they can live on Overton campus.

Emma Dean also returns to Overton to teach, and she lives with Grace in Harlowe House.  One of the girls in Harlowe House is a very selfish young lady named Evelyn Ward.  Evelyn ends up causing lots of trouble for Grace and seems to hate her.  Of course, Miss Ward gets redeemed near the end of the book.  Could one of these bad girls just go to prison or something?  I am so shocked that the world has any bad people, seeing as every single one of them gets redeemed in these books.

It took me three weeks to get through this book.  The only reason I finally managed to finish is because I began to skim the text.  I'm sorry to say that the excessive reminiscing seemed to run through the entire book.  The Evelyn Ward subplot, which should have been the main plot, was all that interested me.  I consider the Evelyn Ward part a subplot because the reminiscing seemed to be the main plot.  Dear me.  I yearn for some exciting Stratemeyer Syndicate books.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Melissa of Dry Brook Hollow

A large number of collectors miss out whenever certain books are printed in small quantities.  For whatever reason, they are out of the loop and unaware until the window of opportunity has vanished.  This was what happened with the Linda Carlton reprints, and it always frustrates me.  For this reason, I always buy at least a few extras of reprints that interest me so that the print run is a little higher.  Even then, it is never enough for the future demand.

Judy Bolton author Margaret Sutton's daughter is printing the original manuscripts for the first two books of what would have been the Melissa of Dry Brook Hollow series.  The title character's name was changed to Judy Bolton, and the two books were later published as The Vanishing Shadow and The Haunted Attic.  Many changes were made to the two Melissa of Dry Brook Hollow books before they were published as Judy Bolton books.

Judy Bolton collectors have the opportunity to purchase the two original manuscripts which have been bound into one book.  The cost of the book is $25.00 including postage.  More information can be found on the Judy Bolton website.

You have until February 28, 2011 to place your order.  The book will be printed in a limited print run based on paid orders.  There will be no extra copies available.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Strangest eBay Transaction

I have mentioned troublesome transactions, but here is the story of my oddest transaction. By odd, I mean a transaction that was really unusual but not necessarily horrible.  It has been too long for me to remember the specific details, but I found where I wrote about it years ago. This was in response to a person questioning whether anyone should risk bidding on an expensive book offered by a seller with 51 negatives.

I can tell you for a fact that last year he was an extremely slow shipper. Unless you don't mind waiting a very long time and can afford to be out the money for possibly months, don't bid on this auction!

I made the mistake of doing a Buy It Now on one of his books in July 2002. I saw the negatives, but it was a very good Nancy Drew book and the price of $35.00 was well under value. I decided to take the risk, and I knew it was at least a moderate risk. I remember thinking about it for about 5 minutes before doing the Buy It Now. I didn't receive the book and did file a complaint with eBay. He said that he was away on location doing filming (like motion picture - it sounded like he was a director or something) which was causing the delay and that he would put me at the top of the list.

This was in September 2002. By October 2002, I had given up completely on the transaction. Much to my surprise, the book arrived in the mail in May 2003, ten months after the auction, and yes, it was mailed via priority mail two days before I received it. I had not communicated with the seller since September 2002 and couldn't believe he honored the transaction. I still don't get it.

I'm sure this seller deserves many more than the 51 negatives that he has. I know I didn't leave him a negative, and he did deserve one. I think he was NARU'ed (no longer registered) within a month of my purchase so I wasn't able to leave a negative during the 90 day time frame for leaving feedback. He must have worked things out with eBay since last year. If you look at his feedback, there is a one year gap in the feedback. Maybe he has straightened out his life since last year, but even so, there is no way I would bid on this expensive of a book offered by a seller with that many negatives.

Here is a link to the seller's feedback profile, and this is his negative and neutral feedback as viewed on  I've never forgotten his ID since the transaction was so unusual.  The ID has a total of 157 negatives and neutrals.  He was kicked off eBay for the second and apparently final time in 2007.  It is amazing that eBay let him go on for so long with that kind of record and especially that eBay gave him a second chance after he was kicked off the first time.

It's been so long that I can't remember for certain, but I'm pretty sure that in the fall of 2002 I filed a claim using the buyer protection program that eBay had at that time. That program had a maximum payout of $200 and did not cover the postage cost.  The program also had a $25 deductible.  This meant that the program paid out $35 minus the $25 deductible.  I received $10 back but was out the $25 deductible plus the postage cost. 

In the end, after ten months, I finally had my book and at a $10 discount thanks to eBay's buyer protection program.  How's that for an odd transaction?