Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nancy Drew Danish Editions

My very favorite of the Nancy Drew international editions are the books from Denmark.  The Danish editions were published by Martins Forlag in Copenhagen, Denmark.  I love the way Nancy Drew is depicted on the covers.  She is sophisticated and pretty.  To me, Nancy's hairstyle looks timeless on many of the covers.  Here are my very favorite Danish covers.

The Clue in the Diary
Nancy's Mysterious Letter
The Haunted Bridge
The Clue in the Crumbling Wall
The Ghost of Blackwood Hall
The Haunted Showboat
The Moonstone Castle Mystery

You can see all of the Danish editions that I own on my Nancy Drew Danish Editions page.  Which Danish covers do you like the best?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Package Troubles

I have recently had problems with two different packages. 

I paid for a book on February 6.  Two weeks later, I did not have the book.  This seller is sometimes a slow shipper, so I kept waiting.  I finally received the package on February 28.  The seller mailed the package on February 23.  I stated in a previous post on this subject that shipping delays are very often the fault of the seller.  This one certainly was.

The other situation involved a package I mailed out via First Class International to Canada.  I mailed the package on January 22.  It should have arrived within 10 to 14 days, by the end of the first week in February.

The buyer inquired about the package on February 11.  She was eagerly awaiting the delivery and wanted to know about when the package would arrive.  I was immediately concerned, because it had already been too long.  The buyer contacted me again on February 18 to update me that the package had still not arrived.  We were going to wait a little longer, and we still had hope that the package might arrive.

I have never sent out a package that has gotten lost; that is, I have never had a buyer report that a package never arrived.  Each time I have a delayed package, I reason that I will eventually have one go missing and wonder if the current package is the first one.

I asked the buyer to let me know what books were of interest, because my plan was to send out another package to replace the one that was missing.  I was willing to fully refund the buyer's money, but I would rather make it up to the buyer by sending replacement books.  I told the buyer that I could fully refund the money paid but that I was sure she would rather have the books.  I stated that a refund is never good enough.  Wouldn't you agree?

We continued to wait.  On March 2, the package showed up in my mailbox.  It had a sticker on it from Canada Post from the buyer's province stating that it was returned because it was unclaimed.  The buyer verified that the address was correct and speculated that the notice for her to pick up the package was likely not left in her box.  I agreed, because this has happened to me when expecting a package.  If a carrier forgets to leave a notice, the package can get returned to the sender after a few weeks.

I mailed the package out again on March 3.  Finally, the buyer received the package on March 17.  I am glad that the missing package situation was ultimately resolved successfully.

Sellers like to state that they are not responsible for packages once the packages are mailed.  This statement is true, certainly.  My view is more that the sellers cannot control what happens to the packages once they are mailed.  Both viewpoints seem identical, but the implication is different.

While I cannot control what happens to the package, I am ultimately responsible to make the transaction right.  If I fail to do so, then the buyer will almost certainly never make another purchase.

I am reminded of an international seller with whom I had had several transactions.  Finally, one package went missing.  I didn't say anything until the seller contacted me to find out why I had not left feedback.  I informed the seller that I had not received the package and did not ask for anything.  The seller apologized, but did not offer anything.

The end result is that I have never purchased from that seller again.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

eBay 2011 Spring Seller Update Part 2

I decided to verify that the new policy will be a fee increase for me.  Since I use only auctions, the final value fee is not going to be reduced.  It will remain at 9% for me.  That answers my question, but I wanted to see what the exact impact will be.

I recently sold $217.21 worth of books on eBay.  I was charged $19.55 in fees.  If I had paid a final value fee on my shipping fees, I would have paid an additional $4.27 in fees for a total of $23.92 in fees.

This is actually not that bad, in my specific case.  One reason I am impacted less is because media mail is a less expensive shipping method, so that reduces what eBay will take in the final value fees.  I am also impacted less because I use the free listings and am not charged a listing fee for my items.

If I were still a regular eBay seller, my fees would be outrageously high.  I was only charged for the items that sold.  If all 700+ of my Bonanza items were on eBay, I would have to pay a $49.95 monthly store fee plus insertion fees for all of my items. Ugh.  That is why I am no longer selling in volume on eBay.

During the same time period that I sold the above amount on eBay, I sold $524.75 worth of books on Bonanza.  I was charged $23.00 in fees.  I did not pay insertion fees on Bonanza either, so $23.00 was my total amount in final value fees. I have over 700 items in my Jennifer's Series Books booth on Bonanza.  Which would you rather?

While I admit that the change to the final value fees is not going to have a big impact to me, this is only because I have already moved my items off of eBay.  I only use eBay to move extra books that I want to sell fast.  I also have purposefully chosen to list only cheap items on eBay due to how much more I would have to pay in final value fees on eBay if I were to sell expensive items.

I refuse to allow eBay to victimize me.  I felt used and abused at the end of 2008 when I had listed a large quantity of items, most of which did not sell.  I was out a large amount in fees, and I swore that I would never let that happen again.  And I have not allowed it to happen again.

For sellers who have remained on eBay, the new policy of taking a final value fee on the shipping will have a profound effect.  Many sellers are just now thinking of leaving for another venue.  My advice is to remain on eBay with a few listings while building a following on the new venue of your choice.  The task will not be easy, but it can be done.  There is no one venue that will work for all sellers.  I have found Bonanza to be a good fit, but others may find another venue more suited to their needs.

If you are an eBay seller looking for a way to deal with these upcoming changes, you might want to check out the new Facebook group eBay alternatives-leaving FEEBay behind.  The sellers who have joined are brainstorming what to do and which other sites to try.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

eBay 2011 Spring Seller Update

I can safely state that eBay's 2011 Spring Seller Update is the most controversial update in at least one year, perhaps in two years.  People are so hysterical over one change in particular that I find their messages on eBay's message boards to be rather incoherent and too difficult to read.  I am having to skim most comments, and normally, I enjoy reading people's responses to eBay's updates.

The first change has very few people upset. Those of us who do not have an eBay store will now be guaranteed 50 free auction listings at any starting price per month from now on.  Or, at least we will have them until eBay changes direction at some point in the future.  With eBay, nothing good lasts forever.

I now only sell on eBay when the fee to list is waived, so this change is good for me.  I have a pile of Nancy Drew library discards that I want to sell fast and cheap, and eBay is where they need to be listed.  I will have to wait another month before I can list them, but I am willing to do that.  The final value fees are so extreme that those fees pay for the the listing fee. eBay has no business charging me to list when they get so much from the final value fees.

eBay will be introducing a shopping cart.  This could be either good or bad.  If the cart works properly, it will be good.  If the cart does not work, then it will be bad.  I will reserve judgment until I see what happens.

The change that has everyone in hysterics is the change to the final value fee structure.  The final value fee will be decreased slightly but will be instead applied to both the item's price and the shipping charge.  Some sellers cheated eBay out of final value fees by listing items for $0.99 and then charging $100 shipping.  eBay will be charging the final value fee on the shipping charge as well in order to prevent sellers from avoiding final value fees.

What will likely happen is that most sellers will raise their shipping costs in order to cover the additional final value fee.  By the way, eBay is spinning this change as a fee decrease, since eBay states that fees will decrease for sellers who offer free shipping, which as we all know means that the item's price includes the shipping charge.  Those sellers were already charged a final value fee on the shipping, so eBay reasons that those sellers will see a fee decrease.  eBay can spin it however they want, but a large percentage of sellers will be seeing a fee increase.

eBay is also eliminating the power seller discount for sellers who are not top-rated sellers.  I'm sure those sellers are unhappy.  It seems that their fees are increasing as well, even though eBay claims this update is a fee decrease.

I am interested to read what you think of the shipping charge final value fee.  Will your strategy change?  Will you raise your shipping and/or your prices?

My fear, as a buyer, is that prices will go higher than ever.  Many of the prices on eBay are quite high.  As I wrote in a recent post, several series book buyers have complained of high prices on Bonanza.  The books that are priced high on Bonanza are also priced high on eBay, which makes it unfair to single Bonanza out.  The high prices began on eBay and have spilled over into the other venues.  Many sellers have not figured out that they can charge less on Bonanza due to the low fees.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nancy Drew Mobile Mystery: #1 Shadow Ranch

Her Interactive just released the first Nancy Drew Mobile Mystery, Shadow Ranch.  The mystery is an application for the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad.  The iPod/iPhone app costs $2.99, and the iPad app costs $9.99.

I purchased the mobile mystery so that I could play it while waiting in line at the book sale.  I had not read any reviews of it, so I was under the impression that it is a mobile version of the Her Interactive game, The Secret of Shadow Ranch.  The mobile mystery is not at all like the game.  It is completely different.

The mobile mystery is primarily a book.  The book has activities consisting of a word scramble kind of like Scrabble at the end of each chapter.  By playing the activities, the reader can unlock one bonus mystery per chapter, which is a short story that contains a mystery for the reader to solve along with Nancy.

Aside from the bonus mysteries, the mobile mystery contains eight chapters.  Several of the chapters have their own mysteries.  The text is written well and is very engaging.  Scattered words can be clicked, making sounds such as a galloping horse or thunder.  This adds to the atmosphere of the story.

During at least one point in each chapter, the reader must make a decision on how Nancy should react to a certain situation.  In some cases, both reactions work out fine.  In other cases, one reaction leads to disaster, and the reader must go back and try again.

The game aspect of the mobile mystery is very easy to manipulate.  It is not nearly as difficult as the regular Nancy Drew PC games.  I have read a few reviews of the mobile mystery from members on Her Interactive's site.  What I noticed as that some devotees of the games were disappointed because the mobile mystery was very different from the games.  Other people were very favorably impressed because they love to read.  Follow this link to read a detailed review that explains exactly what the mobile mystery is like.

I loved reading and playing the mobile mystery.  The story is loosely based on the revised text version of The Secret of Shadow Ranch with Frances Humber, Dirk Valentine, and his treasure.  However, the story is also very different.  It is like a second version of the revised text Shadow Ranch.

I highly recommend the mobile mystery to people who enjoy the Nancy Drew books.  I think most all readers of the Nancy Drew books would greatly enjoy this story.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bonanza and eBay Update

The traffic to my Jennifer's Series Books booth never has returned to the previous level that it had before the name change from Bonanzle to Bonanza.  Traffic had rebounded somewhat in November and December, but it fell off again in January and February.  I am in just a slightly better position than I was in the first month after the name change. 

I have been aware that traffic is lagging a bit, but I decided not to worry about it since I have been busy.  I have some ideas which should help me in the future, but they are presently on hold.  At this point, I am simply maintaining.  What I am not going to do is rewrite my descriptions and titles, which is what people are told to do.  When I have changed up descriptions, I have never noticed an appreciable difference in Google traffic.  I believe that most buyers of series books do not utilize Google, and those that do cannot find my books because of too much clutter.

As can be seen above, my Google traffic is poor as compared to before the name change.  I changed up my descriptions soon after the name change and saw little increase in Google traffic.  In fact, I believe that the slight rebound in Google traffic had more to do with my other efforts, which consisted of writing blog posts.  Writing up blog posts about my items is a better use of my time than editing titles and descriptions. I just need to take the time to do it.

Back in November, I took two actions which have resulted in an improvement in traffic to my booth.  First, I placed a link at the top of the main page of with a mention of a 10% off coupon code.  That link is getting clicked a lot.

Notice the large increase in traffic from, which is a direct result of that one link placed near the top of the main page.

My widgets are surely bringing in traffic as well, but I can't track that traffic since it shows in Google Analytics as direct traffic.  Each widget is like a piece of inserted into, so Google thinks that the traffic is coming from Bonanza.  I have gotten a few recent sales attributed by Bonanza to widgets, so I know that they are producing steady traffic.

The second action involved writing a number of descriptive posts for my Jennifer's Series Books blog in November and placing links to some of those posts on

In turn, the traffic from the Jennifer's Series Books blog to my Bonanza booth also increased during the same time period.

What has not increased is traffic to my booth from this blog.

I have written very little about Bonanza in the last six months, so that is why traffic from this blog to my booth has dropped off.  I am sure that the widget in this blog is still pulling in a steady stream of traffic, but as already stated, I cannot track that traffic.

Changing the subject slightly, I have had several people comment that several sellers have extremely high prices on Bonanza and that they do not like Bonanza for that reason.  This is true, and it hurts all of us.  However, if you feel that the prices are high on Bonanza, try searching fixed-price only on eBay.  You will find many of the same books listed at the same prices by the same sellers.  The expensive books are easy to ignore on eBay because of the sheer volume of listings and because many buyers look only at the auctions.

Also, look more carefully on Bonanza, and you will find many very reasonably priced books.  As with all venues, some sellers list at high prices while others list at low prices.  Bargains can be found on all venues.

I still use eBay for my primary buying, since eBay is where all of the good books get listed by people who find them in their attics and at estate sales.  I have to use Bonanza to sell because of my continuing problems with eBay's DSR system and because eBay's listing fees are too high.  My sell-through rate is too low to justify paying listing fees to eBay.  I buy on eBay and sell on Bonanza.

What I would like to do is sell a small amount on eBay, provided that eBay continues its sporadic free auction listings.  I refuse to pay a listing fee to sell on eBay.  I finally returned to my primary ID to sell some items during eBay's last free listing promotion. I noticed that my return to my primary ID got the attention of past buyers, as I was contacted by someone who bought from me years ago. I really need to use my primary ID on eBay.

I have not used my primary ID on eBay much in the last two years due to my continuing problems with low DSRs. For the first time since the DSRs were implemented in 2008, my primary ID now has no low DSRs.  It took me three years to get rid of the "ones" that I kept receiving from buyers.  One seller of series books left me low DSRs three different times when purchasing from me, two of those times on my primary ID.  The first time it was done on my primary ID was back in 2008, which put me off to a bad start.   Also in 2008, I had a buyer give me a "one" for my description, because she thought that since the book listed to the previous title from the dust jacket that I had sold a mismatched book and jacket.

In 2009, I received a "one" for communication from a buyer with whom I did communicate a personal message with a shipping notice.  I'm not sure if that buyer needed a personal phone call instead or what.  In 2010, I received a "one" from a buyer who disputed whether a publication could be mailed media mail.  I received a "one" because I refused to mail the lot via media mail.  I learned from that last experience that if I ever sell such a lot again, I will raise the price by $10 and offer free shipping.  :)  Problem solved.

The "ones" are absolutely devastating to a seller on eBay.  Unless the seller is horrific, buyers should not leave "ones."  When I sold a lot of Nancy Drew books a few weeks ago on eBay on my primary ID, I got the most item views that I have had on an item on that ID since 2008.  I am certain that those "ones" were hiding my items from many, many buyers.  I probably should not mention any of this, because I will surely jinx myself again.

My hope is that I can avoid the low DSRs and continue using my primary ID which has a long history with buyers.  In that way, I might be able to pull more traffic over to Bonanza.  Even when I do list on eBay, it will only be sporadic and only during any free listing promotions.

In closing, I want to stress that I am still very happy with Bonanza and am successful selling on Bonanza.  Even though my traffic and sales remain down from the level that they were at prior to September, I am pleased with the venue.  I cannot sell at eBay in the capacity I once did for reasons already mentioned above.  I will be staying at Bonanza. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

More Thick Library Editions

I found the rest of my thick library editions. I have four of them.  Three of them are Nancy Drew books, and one of them is a Dana Girls book.

All four books are thick with a glossy frontispiece illustration. 

The blue Hollow Oak has pulp paper that has deeply yellowed.  These bindings are not as old as the one mentioned in my previous post on this subject.  Lilac Inn and the blue Hollow Oak came from the same library.  Both books have "date due" dates from 1985 to 1995.  Hollow Oak has a sticker from the bindery which is stamped November, 1980.

The red Hollow Oak has no dates, but the binding design is very similar to some books I have that were bound in the 1960s and 1970s, so I assume that it dates back to that general time.

Lone Tree Cottage also has no dates, but the bindery was Hoag & Sons' Book Bindery, Inc. from Springport, Michigan.  I have several books from Hoag & Sons that date back to the 1950s and 1960s, so Lone Tree Cottage was likely bound during that time.

It is quite unusual to run across any library editions that were rebound from thick books with glossy frontispiece or glossy internal illustrations.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

2011 Book Sale Part 2: What I Found

I will begin with the books that I consider to be my best finds of the evening.  I was lucky to get them, because the area was getting crowded by the time I noticed them.  The books were organized differently this year and placed where I was not expecting to see them.

I bought a bunch of Tom Swift books with dust jackets.


The spine condition places the dust jackets at the low end of the value range, but I am still very pleased that I found them.  My problem is that I do not collect Tom Swift and do not follow the auctions.  I have no idea which ones are worth more and how to price them.  Of course, I do know that duotone jackets and higher-numbered titles are usually worth more, but I'm going to have to watch Tom Swift auctions for a while to try to get some idea.  If possible, I would prefer to sell them at fixed price on Bonanza, but this will require me to figure out specific prices.

I bought some Judy Bolton books with dust jackets.

The books are from around 1940 with good quality paper and a glossy frontispiece illustration.  The only one that might be a first printing is Midnight Visitor.  A few of the books have been chewed by mice or insects.

I hesitated briefly before I grabbed every book by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

At $3 to $5 each, I was not sure since these books are Grosset and Dunlap reprints that do not have dust jackets.  However, I am aware that even the G&D reprints are very collectible.  I did some checking upon arriving home, and a few of the books have sold for $10 to $35 on eBay in similar condition.  Be aware that I am referring to sold copies, not unsold copies.  Unsold copies can never be used to assess value, unless the unsold copies are priced at $1.00, and then one knows that a book has no value.

The red Happy Hollisters in the above picture is Midnight Trolls, the last and most scarce title in the series.  I left all of the other Happy Hollisters books that did not have dust jackets.

Here are some Tom Swift, Grace Harlowe, and other books.

Here are some miscellaneous books as well as a few Judy Bolton books.

I found one Judy Bolton, Fog Island, as well as a few Cherry Ames, Connie Blair, Brains Benton, and Trixie Belden books.  There was a stack of Random House Black Jacket Mystery books, but I only took one.  There were also stacks of each title from the recent Bobbsey Twins series, but I did not take any of those.

I bought some Black Stallion books.

I bought these hardcover Nancy Drew books.

I probably got all of the blue books, but I left all of the flashlight editions and many of the matte books.  A preteen girl was looking over the matte books when I finally found their location, and she was carefully selecting titles.  I left the area so she could finish.  I then went back and selected primarily higher-numbered titles.

I bought just some of the softcover Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books.

I probably bought most of the Nancy Drew Files and just some of the Boxcar Children.

I concentrated on higher-numbered Nancy Drew Girl Detective books.  I did not own any of the books above around #32.  I was pleased to find books that are not library discards.  They have some bumping and minor wear, but I am pleased not to have to pay the full price of a new copy.

This year, I did pass on a number of books, as already mentioned above.  As usual, I did pay too much for some books and wish I had not come home with some of them.  I always place a sticky note inside each book with what I paid for it, and I reconcile my mistakes by adding to my cost of the better books, such as the Tom Swifts and Judy Boltons.  That way I can rid myself of my mistakes without feeling bad about them.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nancy Drew Web Con 2 Is This Week!

The 2nd Nancy Drew Web Con is set to take place this week.  Follow the link for more information.  You still have time if you wish to register.  The cost is $10.  The web con is presented through a private blog.  Here is some information from Jennifer Fisher's website:


Former Stratemeyer Syndicate partner Nancy Axelrad, Authors Todd H. Latoski, Michael G. Cornelius, Jennifer Fisher, and Penny Warner, Poet Lisa Kwong, Jennifer White of, Artist Bill Brodecky Moore, and Pamela and Spencer Tandy--grandchildren of Nancy Drew illustrator Russell H. Tandy.

The Web Con will be archived for a long time--so you can register at anytime during the year and catch up on all the submissions and commentary, but the experience will be more fun for everyone during the event as it's happening so if you want to get in on the event from the get go, be sure to register by Mar 2, 2011.

There will be daily drawings for prizes and other good stuff happening.  Don't miss out!