Friday, April 29, 2011

Series Book Selling Trends

Last spring, I wrote about what I had learned during the previous year while selling books.  Some of my observations still hold true, such as the one about cheap reading copies being very easy to sell.  I continue to find that $1.00 to $2.00 books in rough shape are easy to sell.  People like cheap books.

Some of my other observations have not necessarily held true.  Here, I will explain which books have been easy to sell during the last year.

The easiest books to sell are Nancy Drew and the Dana Girls.  In particular, I find it very easy to sell Dana Girls books.  I can hardly keep a nice selection of Dana Girls in stock.  My inventory turns over fairly quickly, except for a few books that are priced higher.

The beige spine picture cover editions of the Dana Girls are the most in demand.    Some titles sell right after I list them.  I can easily sell nice copies of #7 through around #26 for approximately $20 each.  Some titles sell for around $25, such as #12 which seems to be one of the more scarce titles.

I tend to sell more Nancy Drew books than any other books.  As before, the books with dust jackets continue to sell slowly.  I am able to sell cheap tweed and blue Nancy Drew books as well as older picture cover editions more easily than books with dust jackets, even when the books with jackets are priced for less than $10. 

Certain original text picture cover books sell very quickly, such as #5.  I find that I can price #5 slightly higher, within reason, and that title continues to sell quickly.  I used not to realize that the original text picture cover of #5 is a bit scarce.  Even though #5 had six original text printings, I cannot acquire extras to sell very easily, and when I do list them, they sell fast.  In fact, a #5 original text PC priced at $10 sells much faster than a #11 original text PC priced at $10.

Sometimes what we think is most in demand is not what is most in demand.  Forget about that "man with pipe" #11 original text picture cover.  Collectors are having more trouble finding #5 in an original text picture cover book.

Furthermore, #25 and #26 also had very few original text picture cover printings, just like #5.  I also sell those books very fast, so the demand is similar.  #18 had quite a few original text picture cover printings, but for some reason it also tends to sell quickly.

#56 always sells rather fast for me.  I had two copies with double oval endpapers that had significant flaws.  I had those books priced at no more than $10 due to the flaws, and they did not last long!  Once again, many people are more interested in getting cheap books than in getting perfect books.

I also find that the Beverly Gray Clover picture cover books tend to sell fairly quickly.  These books seem to be more in demand than the books with dust jackets, just like with the Nancy Drew books.

I have been asked sometimes how I price books when I will list a bunch of like books, with a few priced higher or lower.  The difference in price is often due to my assessment of the book and how I feel about the book as a collector.  I might have a book that should be priced at $7.00, yet I don't like the fact that a name written inside is in red ink.  I might price the book at $5.00 due to that assessment.  I dislike red ink in books.

I might also price a book lower if it has some other flaw that I do not like.  Perhaps the front free endpaper has been ripped out of the book, or the book has a deep scuff on the back cover.  Those are reasons why I might price a book lower.

Another reason I might price a book higher or lower is how quickly I tend to sell certain titles or how I perceive the book's scarcity.  I tend to price the first several titles in a series lower because those books tend to be more abundant, and therefore easier to find.  Other books, such as the Nancy Drew picture cover editions mentioned above might be priced a bit higher because of how quickly they sell.


Paula said...

Thanks for the update on this topic, Jennifer! I really value your opinion and enjoy reading about your experiences and impressions of the current market.

Jennifer said...

Another point I should mention is that so long as a book is priced within its approximate value range, it will sell eventually. I have decided to leave some of my more expensive books priced exactly as they are, and I am not going to worry about when they might sell. I have had several books sell in the last month or so that had been up for sale for a very long time. The right person finally came along.

I sold a Zorro sticker album today that I tried to sell on eBay around five to seven years ago with no takers. I have had it on Bonanza for around 1 1/2 years. I never considered lowering the price, and I knew someone would buy it someday. "Someday" arrived today.