Saturday, May 28, 2011

An Assortment of Topics Part 2

Bonanza recently created a star system for feedback called "transaction impressions," explained in the Bonanza blog. The reaction by Bonanza sellers has been very negative. I understand why sellers are concerned, but I refuse to worry about something until I have reason to worry. People waste so much energy with negativity towards a feature that might not ever hurt them.

Bonanza has added many new features in the nearly 2 1/2 years that I have been on the site. Some of those features were lauded as excellent, innovative ideas, and several of them were later discontinued due to lack of interest or lack of impact. For that reason, I will not worry about the star system until Bonanza makes it punitive, which I hope will never happen.

Bonanza has also implemented an auto-crop for photos (see above link). This was one of Bonanza's most requested features, and I had requested it myself. We can now upload photos, and the entire photo will display without us having to manually pull the slider to the left to show the entire photo. This is a nice time-saver.

As it stands currently, we must have experimental features turned on in order to have access to the new feature. Go to "Account Settings," then to "Other Options" to turn experimental features on. Next, go to "Sell," then to "Advanced Options" to turn the "Keep entire image in crop" on.

As most book sellers have heard by now, we must have the ISBN number in listings for books printed after 1970 for any items that will be sent to Google's product search. Furthermore, it is important that we use the correct ISBN. A different situation exists for eBay auctions.

Sellers who use an ISBN have greater visibility in eBay's Best Match search. Unfortunately, older books do not have ISBNs. However, the ISBN for the Nancy Drew matte picture cover of Old Clock could be used for a 1960s printing. This would raise the visibility of the book in eBay's Best Match.

Some eBay sellers have taken to using any ISBN for their vintage books in order to gain greater placement in eBay's Best Match search. Run an eBay search and then select "products and reviews." Next, click on some of the products. The results are rather enlightening.

I did some reading up on eBay policy, and I learned that it is against eBay policy to manipulate eBay's search in this manner. Really? Hasn't eBay forced sellers to use this type of tactic in order to be seen? Even though eBay states that it is against policy to do this sort of thing, I doubt that eBay cares. They have a lot of rules about search manipulation that are no longer enforced. Sellers are mainly punished through the DSRs and cases that buyers open against them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Above Standard or Standard Seller

I decided to check my Seller Dashboard on eBay. I know; checking the Seller Dashboard is never a good idea. I noticed that my performance standard has changed from Above Standard Seller to Standard Seller. I was mystified as to why the level changed. The Seller Dashboard has the following message.
We've recently added a new "Standard" level for sellers who meet our minimum performance standards, but who have fewer than 100 annual transactions or whose average detailed seller ratings are less than 4.60. Although your level has changed from "Above Standard" to "Standard", your performance remains in good standing.
Exactly what does that mean? I wanted more information, and it took multiple clicks to get to the full explanation (multiple clicks means more page views: see this post).
If you look at the Global standards preview in your dashboard right now, you may notice the addition of the "Standard" performance level. This will be coming to the main dashboard in May for US, UK, Germany and Global standards.

Both Above Standard and Standard seller performance levels have the same requirements for the rates or counts of 1s and 2s on DSRs. However, Above Standard also requires a minimum average DSR of 4.60 across all four DSRs, as well as 100 or more transactions over the past 12 months. Whether you have an "Above Standard" or "Standard" performance rating, you are meeting eBay's minimum selling standards and are in good standing. There are no consequences for moving from Above Standard to Standard.
Mmm, okay. The difference is that Above Standard has more than 100 transactions in the last year, and Standard does not. Furthermore, Standard can have lower DSRs. Somehow I am not reassured. I get why eBay has two classifications, yet at the same item, I do not get it. I have been through enough with eBay to be suspicious of any change in my performance standard.

On a related topic, it is crucial that sellers avoid getting low DSRs, since eBay has such high expectations. I have mentioned in the past my problems with other sellers of series books leaving me low DSRs on purpose—multiple times. I am not mistaken about it.

I have decided that if I am ever left low DSRs again by a seller of series books that I will place that person on a buyer block. Since I know that a buyer block would lead to a confrontation, I am attempting to avoid it by setting my prices slightly above what I think other sellers would be willing to pay.

This is why I am less likely to give away certain books. I would love to place some of my lots on eBay at very low prices, but at the same time, I am trying to avoid being hurt by another seller. It is unfortunate that eBay's DSR system is used to harm others, and my situation is a prime example of how the DSR system causes buyers to have to pay higher prices.

Keep in mind that I have no problem with people buying books from me to resell; just don't leave me low DSRs to hurt me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

An Assortment of Topics

I have several topics about which I would like to write, but I do not have enough for a cohesive blog post. Instead, I am writing this blog post which covers several unconnected topics and is just a sampling of the thoughts I have had during the last few weeks.

My comments are inspired by various discussions I have read on different message boards.

Sooners Are Evil

One bewildering comment was an incomprehensible rant about eBay and Sooners and whether they had ever been "prosecuted by the feds." The rant ended with an entreaty not to buy from Sooners. Most respondents did not get the point of the message, and someone asked the original poster to speak in English.

Since I live in Oklahoma, I was relatively certain that the rant was a reference to the Oklahoma land run Sooners, but I wasn't for certain about what this had to do with eBay. The original poster came back to explain about the Sooners in the land run and how they had already claimed their lands before the land was open for settlement. The explanation ended with "first gets all i guess. unfair. someone tell the buyers."

Apparently, this person feels that eBay did the same thing as the land run Sooners and unfairly claimed the auction market before anyone else could. eBay is the most successful auction site because eBay was first. Nothing was illegal about it. This person apparently thinks that eBay should be prosecuted for being first.

Too Many Clicks

eBay has deliberately made it more difficult to navigate its site in order to increase the number of page views. No doubt you have noticed that whenever I link to a completed eBay auction, you can no longer view the auction page without clicking on another link. Very clever! Now it takes two clicks when it would have taken just one.

Now eBay has removed some of the information from the main page of My eBay so that sellers have to click additional times in order to obtain the same information. This means that eBay is making its page views appear not to be on the decline. Which part of the site will eBay tamper with next in order to keep the views from showing a decrease?

Listing on Multiple Sites

Many sellers list the same books on multiple sites. This can cause problems if the book sells on one site, and the seller fails to remove the listing from other sites. Furthermore, listing on multiple sites can cause problems with Google's product search, since listings on different sites for the same item violates Google's policy.

I have another take on this situation and why it best for sellers to try to avoid listing the same books on multiple sites. I have heard too many stories about buyers purchasing a book on a lesser known site and finding that the book had already sold on eBay. For this reason, I am paranoid about any listing that I know is up for sale on multiple sites. I am less likely to purchase a book when I know that it is up for sale on eBay as well as on other sites. Sellers should consider that some buyers might be reluctant to make a purchase when the book is available on several different sites.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nancy Drew Clue in Diary Original Text PC

Nancy Drew #7, The Clue in the Diary, had only one original text picture cover printing.  The book is scarce but findable.  The problem is that most copies that surface are in rough shape.  I have owned the following book since 2003.

The book is in pretty good shape except for the water stains to the back cover and top edge.  The book is also slightly warped from the moisture exposure.  Every time I have acquired a 1932 text PC that is in approximately the same condition, it has had a flaw like a sticker scar to the front or back cover or has had significantly more wear to the edges.  I have opted to keep my book with the water stains, since my book has a nice front cover.

I always take notice when someone who has collected series books for many years decides to sell off his or her personal books.  When anyone who has collected for many years decides to sell books, some very good books come up for sale.  This person offered a 1932 text PC of Diary.  The seller mentioned a stain on the spine, but the book looked very nice in the photo.  I placed a bid and was pleased that I won the auction for less than my maximum bid and for within a price range that would allow me to sell the book if it turned out not to be better than my copy.

I was thrilled when I received my book and saw how nice it is.

The book has a water stain on the spine, but it is very minor.  The top edge of the book has a visible water stain right next to the spine, but it is also very minor.  Otherwise, the book has no flaws.  I am very pleased with this upgrade.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nancy Drew Reverse Multi Endpapers

An anomaly that appears in some Nancy Drew books with blue multi endpapers is the reverse blue multi endpapers.

If you compare the above image to the usual blue multi endpapers, you will see what is different. All of the images are turned around in the reverse direction. This particular book is The Secret at Shadow Ranch listing to Fire Dragon on the back cover. It is an early picture cover printing, but not the first picture cover printing.

I have been told that this anomaly is generally found on early or first picture cover books.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

New Items Getting Listed - Update

I am listing a bunch of books in my Bonanza booth, Jennifer's Series Books. I have now listed all of my Nancy Drew softcover books. It took a long time in part because Bonanza has a new listing form. The listing form is a little slow at times and has a few glitches.

The process was also slow because I had to enter the ISBN numbers for each book. Modern books always take longer since more information is required.

My next task will be to list a bunch of revised text and original text picture cover editions from the Nancy Drew series.

Misquote in Listing

I do not usually mention listings while they are active, but I do not appreciate a seller seeking information from me and then appearing to deliberately misquote me in order to make a book appear more valuable.

Someone contacted me through Bonanza and asked me about the tweed book for Nancy's Mysterious Letter that has the title printed on the book as The Nancy's Mysterious Letter. I replied with the following statement.
It was a recurring anomaly that was on several printings during the 1950s. It is harder to find than the books that have the correct title. This makes it worth slightly more than the books with the correct title.
I received a response thanking me for the information. I was informed that the books were listed on eBay and that my information would be added to the description. It was not until the next day that I decided to check up on the listing. I found that my response had been changed slightly.
The statement was placed in quotation marks as though it was a direct quote. Not really, since the seller changed it slightly. The part that irks me is the final part. My comment about the book being "worth slightly more" was changed to "worth a bit more." That is a minor change, perhaps, but as a prospective buyer, I interpret it as implying that the book could be worth quite a bit more. Click here to view the listing.

Am I right or wrong about how I interpret the slight change in wording? Feel free to discuss. :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Nancy Drew Revised Text PC with Blue Multi Endpapers

All first printing Nancy Drew picture covers for #1-38 have the blue multi endpapers regardless of whether the books have the original or revised text. #1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 have the revised 20 chapter texts with the blue multi endpapers. All picture cover printings of these five books up into the early 1970s kept the blue multi endpapers.

Many other books switched to the black and white multi endpapers during the same time that those five books kept the blue and white multi endpapers. For instance, #7 was revised down to 20 chapters in the second picture cover printing, so all picture cover printings of #7, except for the very first one, have the black and white multi endpapers.

As other books were revised, the endpapers switched to the black and white multi endpapers.  As far as I know, the books always switched to the black and white endpapers during the same printing that the text switched to the revised text.  It would be rather unusual to find a revised text picture cover book, aside from #1, 2, 3, 4, and 6, that has the blue multi endpapers.

Last week I acquired a copy of The Whispering Statue which has the 1970 revised text and the blue multi endpapers.

The book lists to Mirror Bay on the back cover and matches the points for the 1972A-61 printing according to Farah's 12th edition.  One could conjecture that perhaps revised text printings of Whispering Statue kept the blue multi endpapers for a few printings.  However, I have another book that disproves this theory.

I have a Whispering Statue that lists to Crooked Banister and matches the points for the 1971A-59 printing.  This book has the black and white multi endpapers.  The above pictured book appears to be an unusual anomaly.

Nevertheless, I know from past experience that if one exists, others may very well exist.  Do any of you have one?

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Girl Scout's Problem Solved

I have very little regard for the books of Harriet Pyne Grove after I endured all five volumes of the Adventurous Allens series.  I actually liked the first three books in the series, despite the terrible writing.  The characters were very likable, and Grove had a good story to tell.  Grove's writing deteriorated further in the final two volumes, which were torturous to read, so I was completely turned off from ever reading another book by Grove.

Edith Lavell wrote 10 books in the Girl Scouts series published by A. L. Burt.  Harriet Pyne Grove supplied two additional titles, The Girl Scout's Problem Solved and The Girl Scouts of the Cardinal Patrol, which Burt tacked to the end of the list of Lavell titles.  The Grove titles have nothing to do with the Lavell books, so far as I can tell, aside from the fact that Burt added them to the list.  The Lavell books are quite good.

The two Grove Girl Scouts titles are very scarce.  As I write this, no copies of either title are available for sale online.  These books are about as scarce as those two elusive Linda Carlton books.  While I have a strong aversion to Harriet Pyne Grove, I can appreciate a scarce book when I see it.

Recently, a seller listed a copy of The Girl Scout's Problem Solved on eBay in a Buy It Now listing, and the book had the original dust jacket.  I decided to buy it, since I know how scarce the book is, especially in dust jacket.

I doubt that I will keep the book, but I'm going to hold onto it at least temporarily.  The dust jacket is unbelievably scarce.  I think I will place the book on the shelf by the Lavell books just to see how it displays.

I cannot stomach reading the book.  I tried when I had another copy that lacked a jacket months ago, but I could not get past the first three or so pages.  It is that bad.  I sold that book, and so I expect I will sell this one eventually.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Rebound Nancy Drew Cameo Edition

I bought a group of Nancy Drew library discards because I liked one of the patterned bindings that was in the group.

As soon as I pulled the book from the box, I knew it was different.  The book was larger than the average Nancy Drew library binding, and at first I thought it might be the Nancy Drew Cookbook or Sleuth Book.  When I saw that the title was The Scarlet Slipper Mystery, I knew that the book had to be a rebound Cameo edition.  And so it was.

This makes for an interesting variant library rebound Nancy Drew book.  Most books that have been rebound are the typical picture cover or tweed books.  It is uncommon to find a Cameo edition that has been rebound.

The book has a book plate on the inside front cover which shows that the book was received in December 1978.  This means that this particular book was rebound in late 1978.  Also in the lot I purchased was another Cameo edition that had not been rebound.  That book came into the library's possession in 1974.  I assume that this book also came into the library's possession in 1974 and was rebound in 1978 due to the amount of wear and tear.

The edges of the text block have been trimmed, as is done with all books that are rebound.  This means that the edges of the text block are smooth like most Nancy Drew books.  The Cameo edition Nancy Drew books have deckle edges, so the rebinding process removed that aspect.  I personally don't like deckle edges, so I rather like how the text block was trimmed.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April 2011 Sales on Bonanza

April was a very odd lopsided month.  I had 12 sales in the first 10 days of the month and then only six sales in the last 20 days of the month.  All in all, April was a decent month.  I sold a total of 59 books in those 18 transactions.  Not too bad.

As I did last month, I compared the number of books I sold to the number of books sold by a few of the more popular sellers of series books on eBay.  This time I wrote down the number of items sold on April 16 and then checked again on May 1.  Remember that eBay only allows a user to search the last 15 days of completed listings.  By checking halfway through the month and at the end of the month, I had a better estimate as to the actual number of books sold by these sellers.

Seller #1 = 88 books
Seller #2 = 28 books
Seller #3 = 35 books
Seller #4 = 30 books

I did not check as many sellers as I did during the previous month, but these sellers were all represented in the previous group.  Seller #1 also sold the most books during the previous month and consistently is the most popular seller of series books on eBay.  This seller is the most popular because he/she has figured out a way to gain better exposure in eBay's best match search.  Remember that you should always watch what your competition is doing, especially if they are selling more books than you are.

I sold 59 books while the most popular eBay seller sold 88 books.  I would expect to sell fewer books on Bonanza than eBay's most popular seller of series books.  I sold more books than the other eBay sellers, which in a way is surprising.  My conclusion continues to be that I am doing okay.

To change the subject, my blog posts were a bit sparse during April.  I caught multiple viruses during the first half of the month, and it has taken me awhile to get back to normal.  I may not do much better this month since the last month of school is always hectic.  My current goal is to try to have two blog posts per week, but I could end up with only one per week at times.

I have made some interesting recent purchases and have upgraded some items in my collection.  Some purchases will be mentioned in the near future in this blog once I feel like writing about them.  As I have time, I will begin to list the extra books in my Jennifer's Series Books booth on Bonanza.  I will probably not get around to listing those books until later in the month.