Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Book Collecting Year in Review

One year ago, I wrote up a summary of my collecting finds from 2011.  I wrote that "2011 brought me down to needing just one first printing Nancy Drew dust jacket and one first printing Nancy Drew book for the original 56 books."

In 2012, I finally acquired the first printing book for the Nancy Drew book, The Mystery at Lilac Inn, so I now have all 56 first printing books.  I still need the first printing dust jacket for The Secret of the Old Clock.  I do not expect that to change anytime soon.

Early in the year, I purchased a signed photo of Harriet Adams along with a letter from the Stratemeyer Syndicate to a fan.

I was thrilled when I found two different examples of the Nancy Drew 1940s Style Library Binding.

Nancy Drew #1 Old Clock Library Binding
Nancy Drew Clue in the Diary Library Edition

I was just as thrilled when someone contacted me to share photos of the 1940s Style Library Binding that she owns.  More of them are out there waiting for me to find them!  Perhaps I can find some of them in 2013.

I read a very special book, Mystery of the Witch's Bridge, in June.  I highly recommend it to all series book fans.  It's that good.

Also in June, one of the editors of Country Living Magazine contacted me, wanting to borrow a few of my Judy Bolton library editions.  I was pleased that someone other than me was able to see the patterned bindings as being neat decorative pieces.  My books were photographed and made an appearance in the magazine.

In October, I upgraded almost all of my Beverly Gray and Adventure Girls Burt editions.  I bought a Connie Blair boxed set.

Also in October, I purchased a large number of Three Investigators hardcover editions.  The plan was to sell them, since I have never been interested in the Three Investigators series.  However, I knew that I had never had this many Three Investigators books all at once and that I would be foolish to sell them without reading at least one of them.  My plan was to make a decision by January. 

It occurred to me this weekend that I needed to make that decision immediately, so I took the time to read the first book, The Secret of Terror Castle.  I must say that I did enjoy it.  I am already reading the second book, and then I will decide whether to continue or to read something else.  I have decided that I simply cannot sell the Three Investigators books at this time.  I plan to read at least a number of them and maybe all of them.

Nagging in the back of my mind is the fact that I never finished reading the original and revised texts Nancy Drew books again.  I published my reviews up to The Secret of the Wooden Lady.  I read The Clue of the Black Keys, but I did not have enough thoughts about it to write up much of anything.  That was where I stopped.

I cannot force myself to write up a review of a book when the thoughts do not come easily.  That's when writing for this blog seems like writing a required book report for school.  That's no fun and why sometimes my blog posts become infrequent.  I can only write something when I am in the mood and it comes easily to me.  Otherwise, I cannot do it. 

A possible solution to my Nancy Drew problem is to resume reading them and then perhaps write combined reviews that cover several books when I lack enough thoughts for one post to cover an entire book.  If I were to do that, then I would be able to keep going.

In 2012, I purchased 21 books to read with the Kindle App on my iPad.  Including the books I purchased in 2011, I have a total of 55 books on my iPad.  Depending upon the size of the actual books, those 55 books would have taken up a least four to five feet of shelf space and possibly a good bit more than that.

Prior to my purchase of an iPad, I only bought a few modern books occasionally, and this was because I did not care to waste shelf space on modern books that will not have any value for several decades.  I am always short on shelf space for the 4,000+ vintage books that I own, so I do not wish to take up space with bulky modern hardcover books.  Until I purchased an iPad, I was extremely selective about purchasing any modern books since I did not want them cluttering up the house. I am now less selective and have enjoyed many good books in the last two years that I would not otherwise have read.

Tomorrow will be my fourth anniversary on Bonanza.  I have now been on Bonanza 25% as long as I have been on eBay.  It's kind of amazing to me that four years have passed.

In 2013, I hope to sell on eBay somewhat more consistently than I did in 2012 so that I will not endanger my top-rated seller status every few months.  I will continue to maintain my Bonanza booth and add new and interesting books whenever I can.

I will maintain this blog with at least one new post per week and two per week whenever I can.  Several years ago, my goal was two to three posts per week, but for the last year I have found that pace to be quite difficult.  Much more time and effort goes into the average post than most people realize.  The most informative blog posts can take several hours to create.  And this is why I simply must be interested in writing about a subject, or the motivation disappears.

I appreciate each and every single person who reads this blog.  I have no idea how many of you are out there.  I know that I have 80 public followers here, around 150 people following my Facebook, and 101 people following through Google Reader.  I'm sure there is overlap between those numbers, and I'm sure that some people instead follow through bookmarks. 

I especially want to thank those of you who "like" my posts on Facebook, make comments on Facebook, make comments here, or communicate with me privately.  I know that the vast majority of readers will never communicate with me in any fashion, and I am fine with that.  But the few people who take the time to provide some feedback are the ones who keep me motivated and let me know that people enjoy what I write.  It means a lot to me!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Values for Tweed Nancy Drew Books

Note: This post does not in any way criticize Farah's Guide. Prices have changed since the 12th edition of Farah's Guide was published, and this post covers that topic.

Nearly all Nancy Drew books with dust jackets have fallen in value during the last four years.  For most books, the Farah's Guide values are greatly inflated from what the books now actually bring.  Here, I want to focus on the Nancy Drew tweed books from 1951 to 1961.

I chose these books since I have had quite a few pass through my hands in the last few years.  I have a very good idea of the current value of the tweed books, both with and without jackets.

Farah values the first printing tweed books and jackets, #29-38, at around $100 and up for books and jackets in excellent condition.  In the current market, most first printings with dust jackets from 1951 to 1961 are worth roughly $50 each in excellent condition.   If the jackets have flaws, then the first printing books usually sell for well under $50 and sometimes for as little as $10 to $20.

For readers not well-versed in the specifics of collecting Nancy Drew books, first printing dust jackets usually have a list of Nancy Drew books in which the very last title listed is the same as the title of the book.  For instance, the first printing of The Ringmaster's Secret has a list ending in The Ringmaster's Secret on the front flap of the dust jacket.  This is not the only point; the other lists on the jacket and inside the book matter, and sometimes price codes matter as well.  The Ringmaster's Secret actually has two printings that end with The Ringmaster's Secret on the front flap, which means that a copy of The Ringmaster's Secret that lists to The Ringmaster's Secret is not necessarily the first printing.

Two titles, The Mystery at Lilac Inn and The Message in the Hollow Oak, have scarce wraparound dust jackets which are pictured below.

The Mystery at Lilac Inn went through two printings with this dust jacket art.  The Message in the Hollow Oak went through one printing with this dust jacket art.  Both of these dust jackets are quite desirable since the picture cover books that came immediately after eliminated the spine portion of the art.  Farah values this Lilac Inn dust jacket at $250 and this Hollow Oak dust jacket at $180.

While both jackets are hard to find, Lilac Inn shows up much more often than Hollow Oak.  Lilac Inn went through two printings, so it should show up twice as often.  Since Lilac Inn shows up more often, it is worth less than Hollow Oak.  I have never understood why Farah has always valued Lilac Inn higher since it is much more common.  Perhaps 20 years ago, Lilac Inn came up for sale less often and seemed to be much more scarce.  If so, this is no longer true.

In the current market, the Lilac Inn book with the above dust jacket sells for $75 to $100 in excellent condition.  I have seen far fewer copies of Hollow Oak with the above dust jacket sold in the last few years, so it is harder to determine.  My reasoning is that if Lilac Inn is worth $75 to $100, then Hollow Oak should be worth $100 to $125 and possibly as much as $150. 

Farah values all bare books for #1-38, printed in the tweed format from 1951 through 1961, at $6 each.  He values the dust jackets for #1-38 from this time period at $25 to $40 depending upon the title and year printed. The $25 to $40 dust jacket value in Farah's Guide is for dust jackets that are not first printings and not special printings of any type.

Many sellers continue to price the tweed books with dust jackets at $30 to $50 each, even when the jackets have flaws.  Occasionally, the books do sell, but not typically.  They are overpriced.

My range is around $20 to $30 for tweed books with dust jackets if the jackets are in nice shape.  If the jackets have chipping, then I go for $10 to $15.  And the books with chipped dust jackets do not sell fast, which means that they are not underpriced.  If anything, my $10 to $15 tweed books with chipped dust jackets are overpriced.

In fact, I have concluded that people who desire the tweed books would rather have a bare book without a jacket than a book with a chipped dust jacket.  This is why the chipped jackets are hard to sell.

Farah's value of $6 for all bare tweed books from 1951 through 1961 in excellent condition is too low.  While the tweed books with jackets have fallen in value, the tweed books without jackets have risen in value. 

I price all bare tweed books at around $10 if in very nice shape.  My worn tweed books are priced at around $5 to $6.

Over a year ago, I had a tweed Dana Girls book with a jacket that was completely missing the spine.  The jacket looked awful in a mylar cover, since the spine area only showed the white paper from the mylar cover.  The jacket had no value, and I priced the book at around $6, hoping someone would take the book as a reading copy.  I could have printed a copy of another dust jacket and placed underneath to make the spine look better, but I decided not to take the time for such a low value book.  Even though the book was priced low, the jacket kept it from selling.

I removed the jacket from the book and placed the book back up for sale at the same price.  It sold fast.  This proved my point that people would rather have a bare book than a book with a flawed dust jacket.

Since you no doubt will wonder what I did with the jacket, I sold it with two other jackets that I removed from other books.  If you look at all three jackets and think about how they would have displayed in mylar covers, you can see that they had significant flaws that would have made selling the books difficult.  The books were much easier to sell without the jackets.  In some cases, I find it better to let someone who wants worn jackets have the jackets, while I sell the books without the jackets.

Tweed Nancy Drew books with jackets have fallen sharply in value because the supply now far exceeds the demand.  During the 1990s, far more people were buying Nancy Drew books for their collections, so the values were always high.  Now, more books are available than people who want them, so the books are much harder to sell.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nancy Drew Readers' Club Books

The Nancy Drew Readers' Club was the name used by Grosset and Dunlap for a book club that was active in 1959 and 1960.  Collectors refer to these books as Cameo editions.  The set consists of 12 books with dust jackets.  The following pictures show the promotional materials for the set.  Remember that you can always click on a photo to see a larger version.

As usual with book clubs, the books were not numbered and were not issued in sequential order.  

The Clue of the Velvet Mask was the introductory volume.  Six of the books were issued in 1959, and the remaining six were issued in 1960.  The books issued in 1959 were The Clue of the Velvet Mask, The Ringmaster's Secret, The Scarlet Slipper Mystery, The Witch Tree Symbol, The Hidden Window Mystery, and The Haunted Showboat.  The books issued in 1960 were The Secret of the Wooden Lady, The Clue of the Black Keys, The Mystery at the Ski Jump, The Secret of the Golden Pavilion, The Secret of the Old Clock, and The Hidden Staircase.

Since The Clue of the Velvet Mask was the introductory volume, it is the easiest one to find.  The books from the 1959 set are easier to find than the ones from the 1960 set.  The Secret of the Old Clock and The Hidden Staircase are consistently the hardest ones to find, so they were likely issued last.

Each book has a colored ribbon on the front endpapers.  These are the colors used on each book.

Velvet Mask - turquoise
Ringmaster's Secret - purple
Scarlet Slipper - red
Witch Tree - green
Hidden Window - turquoise
Haunted Showboat - purple
Old Clock - turquoise
Ski Jump - red
Golden Pavilion - purple
Hidden Staircase - orange
Black Keys - green
Wooden Lady - purple or turquoise

The Secret of the Wooden Lady has two variants.  One version has a purple ribbon on the endpapers, and the other version has a turquoise ribbon on the endpapers.  If I remember correctly, the turquoise ribbon version is much harder to find than the purple ribbon.  Both Wooden Lady books have a purple ribbon on the front cover.  This means that it is impossible to tell which ribbon is featured inside by looking at the outside of a Wooden Lady Cameo book.

The books feature artwork by Polly Bolian.  She illustrated the dust jackets and drew the internal illustrations.  The dust jacket art also appears inside each book as the frontispiece illustration.

The Cameo editions are rather hard to find, especially with dust jackets in nice shape.  Farah's 12th edition values the bare books from both sets at $15 to $20.  He values the dust jackets from the first set at $50 each and the dust jackets from the second set at $75 each.  In the last 15 years, I have seen the prices all over the place, from very low up to $200 or more.  The primary factors are condition and how many people are seeking the books at any given time.

When I first began collecting, I had no interest in these editions.  The Cameo edition jackets pick up dirt very easily since the jackets do not have a shiny finish that repels dirt.  The jackets are usually soiled, worn, and torn.  I do not remember the exact details, but at some point I acquired a Cameo edition with a jacket in nice shape.  From that time on, I saw the books as desirable and began seeking ones with nice jackets.

It was difficult.  I purchased my books in 1999 through 2003 when bidding on eBay was always brisk.  I recall that prices were often up towards $100.  I recall buying a lot that contained most of them, which is the only reason why most of mine only cost me around $30 each.  For the remaining titles, I paid $53.22 for #35, $62.22 for #27, and $66.00 for #28.  Those were the books that were the toughest for me to acquire with nice dust jackets.

By around 2005, several people who collect Nancy Drew books and who also sell them on eBay decided to focus on these books.  Between them, they managed to buy up just about all Cameo editions that surfaced on eBay.  These sellers then relisted the books at much higher prices, calling them "RARE."  In fact, the books were rare to everyone else, since these sellers were buying up all of them.  The prices became artificially inflated.

The prices peaked in the summer of 2008 when a certain buyer purchased $20,000 in series books per month for several months straight.  This buyer had laundered approximately $300,000 from her bank and used much of it on books.  Since she was not spending her own money, she was willing to pay extreme prices.  During that summer, Cameo editions were selling for $200 to $300.

Also from around 2005 to 2008, one of the sellers who bought up all of the Cameo editions especially liked to buy up all of the ones that did not have jackets.  That seller then created reproduction dust jackets and resold the books at much higher prices, always emphasizing how impossible it was to find the books with original jackets.  This was true, but only because this seller and several others were buying up all of them.

Since 2008, series book prices have fallen, so the Cameo editions now sell for relatively low prices.  The Farah's Guide estimates are probably about right for these books, if the jackets are truly in excellent condition.  I see many books with jackets that have some wear but are still in pretty good shape selling for only around $10 to $20 in current eBay auctions.

Another problem that could be contributing to the current lower prices is the fact that dozens and possibly hundreds of Cameo editions are in circulation with the reproduction dust jackets that were created by the one seller.  I have seen a few resold at times on eBay.  Whenever I see a Cameo edition with a dust jacket that looks to be in as nice of condition as the books I photographed for this post, I am always concerned that the jacket might be a reproduction.  If the jacket is in a mylar cover, I am extremely concerned, since the reproduction jackets are always placed in mylar covers to make them look better.  If the jacket is in nice shape but not in mylar, then I figure that the jacket is more likely to be a "new find" from an estate and therefore more likely to be real.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Nancy Drew Picture Cover Edition Values

Note: This post does not in any way criticize Farah's Guide. Prices have changed since the 12th edition of Farah's Guide was published, and this post covers that topic.

Many sellers value some revised text Nancy Drew books at far too low of prices due to using Farah's Guide to value the books. Some revised text Nancy Drew books, including #17, 24, and 34 in the final cover art versions, are worth significantly more than what Farah's Guide indicates.

Let's start with #24, The Clue in the Old Album, in the 1977 cover art.

Farah assigns the first printing of this art a value of $15.  The second and third printings of this art are valued at $5 each.

Back in the summer, an auction for what was either the first or second printing of the 1977 cover art closed at $17.49, which is slightly above the value of the first printing and far above the value of the second printing. I do not know which book was offered.

I sold this book for $19.99. It does not quite match any of the printings in Farah's Guide, so possibly four printings exist with this cover art. Be aware that a book not being listed in Farah's Guide does not make it rare and valuable; rather, the book is simply not yet listed in Farah's Guide.

Regardless, the book I sold for $19.99 would align with one of Farah's $5 printings. It took around one month for the book to sell which is short, considering that I still have some unsold books on Bonanza that have been listed for three years. This tells me that my price of $19.99 could not have been too high.

Farah values the double oval endpapers printings of Old Album at $3 each. I sold this one for $14.99. This book also took only one month to sell.

Quite often, the final cover art of Old Album sells for very low prices on eBay, but this is usually because the sellers place very low Buy It Now prices on the book.  Many of these sellers are collectors who use Farah's Guide, so I believe that they are pricing the book too low based on Farah's Guide.

Based on my observations, the $5 Farah's Guide printings for the final cover art of Old Album are actually worth $15 to $20 each.  The first printing of this art, in excellent condition, is worth $25 or more.

The 1975 revised text of #34, The Hidden Window Mystery, is another book that is often valued too low.

It is valued at $9 for the first printing of this art, $5 for the other printings with black and white multi endpapers, and $4 for the printings with double oval endpapers.

I sold this book for $6.99, and it took only two weeks to sell. This is one of the $5 Farah's Guide printings, except that the Farah's Guide value is for books in excellent condition. This book is not, yet it sold for above the Farah's Guide value.

Here is another book like the first one, but in better condition. It sold for $9.99 in only 12 days. 

Here is a book with double oval endpapers that sold on eBay for $8.99.

Since the books that are not the first printing are selling up towards $10, we can assume that the actual first printing of this cover art is worth more towards $15 to $20.

The 1976 cover art of #17, Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk, is valued too low in Farah's Guide.

I sold this book for $9.99, and it is valued at $5 in Farah's Guide.  Most any printing of this cover art is worth at least $10, and Farah values them at $5.

The first printing of this cover art, which lists to Sky Phantom on the back cover, is valued at $15, but it does not seem to exist.  In any case, we can get no credible report of anyone owning one.  Anonymous reports do not count.  If the Sky Phantom printing does actually exist, the rarity would warrant a value far above $15.

Almost all revised text picture cover printings for most other titles are generally assigned a value of $5 in Farah's Guide for books in excellent condition.  Revised text books in excellent condition are selling up towards $10 each, while books that sell for around $5 are ones that have flaws.  The possible exceptions are Nancy Drew #1 up to around #10 in the revised text picture cover editions.  These books tend to be harder to sell due to how common they are and often have to be priced lower.

Now let's cover the original text Nancy Drew picture cover editions.  These books are in high demand currently and are easier to sell than any other type of Nancy Drew book.  Most of the original text picture covers were printed during the 1960s, while volumes that were revised later also have many printings from the 1970s.  Farah assigns the printings from the 1960s a value of $6.00 and the printings from the 1970s a value of $5.  This does not include the first printing picture covers which are assigned higher values, and I am excluding those special printings from this discussion.

I have a lot of trouble keeping a full selection of the original text Nancy Drew picture cover books in stock.  Just last week, I replenished my stock, and someone bought most of them the very next day.  I have now restocked them again, knowing that many will soon sell once again.

I find that buyers of the original text picture covers are willing to spend at least $10 per book, sometimes $15 per book.  Most long-time collectors probably do not value those books that highly, especially since Farah values them at $5 to $6.  However, new collectors are clearly willing to pay far more than $5 to $6.

Some of the mid-range original text picture covers are particularly in demand.  #24-28 are very hard to keep in supply.  I am now pricing average printings of those titles at around $10 even if they are not in high-grade condition.  I am moving towards $15 for those titles if in excellent condition, and keep in mind that I am not referring to first printing picture cover editions.  This is for the average original text printing of those titles.

#16 with the first Nappi cover art is quite in demand.

I now price it a little above $10 if in excellent condition.

In conclusion, all Nancy Drew picture cover edition books are worth more than the values given in Farah's Guide.  Some printings may be just slightly higher while others are much higher. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

November 2012 Sales on Bonanza + eBay Update

This is how many books I sold during November on Bonanza in my Jennifer's Series Books booth.

Nancy Drew - 28
Beverly Gray - 6
Dana Girls - 3
Vicki Barr - 2
Connie Blair -1
Whitman - 1

November was one of the slowest months I have had in the nearly four years I have been on Bonanza.  October was one of my best months, and I have noticed that whenever I have an extremely good month that the very next month is usually a bit slow.  This is likely because a disproportionate number of sales occurred in October instead of getting spread more evenly across October and November.

Another reason for slower sales on Bonanza is because I focused exclusively on eBay during November.  If I had not focused my efforts on eBay, I would have listed many books on Bonanza.  If I had listed books on Bonanza, I would have sold more items.  Many of my books sell within 24 to 48 hours of when they are listed since many buyers receive new item notifications for my booth.

I focused on eBay during November in order to salvage my top-rated seller status.  I needed to sell enough items on eBay to maintain the necessary 100 items sold during the last year.  I was right at 100 items at the beginning of November with many items about to roll off on November 20.  I also knew that an additional 21 items were going to roll off in January.  I needed to sell a lot of items fast.

I listed dozens of Nancy Drew picture cover books at low opening bid prices with low Buy It Now prices.  I chose books that I would normally have placed in a bulk lot.  My bulk lots typically consist of books for which I have too many extras or books which are in slightly worse condition than the ones I list on Bonanza.  I selected several dozen of those types of Nancy Drew books and listed them on eBay.  I also temporarily removed a couple dozen books from my Bonanza booth and listed them on eBay.

I have sold 49 items on eBay in the last 60 days, and 12 of my current listings have bids.  I have very successfully saved my top-rated seller status, and I will not have to worry again until at least May 2013.  I need to make certain I act before May in order to avoid being in the same position once again.

Since my top-rated seller status is now safe, I can refocus my efforts on Bonanza.  Look for many items to be listed on Bonanza sometime between now and the end of December.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Tapestry Series: The Maelstrom

I reviewed the Tapestry series by Henry H. Neff last summer.

The Tapestry Series Part 1
The Tapestry Series Part 2

At that time, the first three books in the series had been published, and one remaining title had yet to be published.  The fourth book was published this fall, but now the series is set to consist of a total of five books.  Thus far, the following books have been published.

1.  The Hound of Rowan:  Book One of the Tapestry, 2007
2.  The Second Siege:  Book Two of the Tapestry, 2008
3.  The Fiend and the Forge:  Book Three of the Tapestry, 2010
4.  The Maelstrom:  Book Four of the Tapestry, 2012

In preparation for reading The Maelstrom, I read the first three books again.  This time, I found the first few chapters of the first book to be somewhat uninteresting, but then I quickly became interested again in the story.  I enjoyed the second and third books even more so than I did the first time, primarily because I better understood the events.

I just finished reading The Maelstrom, and I cannot overstate how good these books are.  The series gets better and better with each book.  The characters are described so vividly, and the plot is riveting.

The series begins as a blatant copy of the Harry Potter series.  While the remaining books have obvious Harry Potter parallels, the series is actually quite different from Harry Potter.  In this series, the demons take full control of the modern world.  The Harry Potter series never goes that far. 

In fact, this series is a mixture of fantasy, mythology, and dystopia.  Dystopian novels are usually set sometime in the future after a world calamity transforms the world.  In this series, the calamity occurs within the plots of these books, and we see the world redrawn with all new nations formed.  The journey is quite fascinating.

As with Harry Potter and other related series, the books are steeped in mythology.  The many geographical, historical, and literary references enhance the reader's experience.  The author is a former history teacher, and it shows.

Another nice touch is that the illustrator of the books is the author himself.  Henry H. Neff drew all of the internal illustrations.  How amazing to view illustrations that are not another person's interpretation of the author's words but rather the actual author's depiction of the book's events!

This series has avoided finding a large audience, which surprises me.  Most people do not know about it, which is a shame.  On the other hand, I rather like getting to enjoy a series that is a hidden gem without having to endure all of the unnecessary hype.  If you like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, or Fablehaven, then I strongly recommend that you give this series a try.  I eagerly anticipate the release of the final book in this series.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Series Book Questions Fall 2012

I have rewritten the questions in order not to quote directly from private messages.

I am interested in these first printing Nancy Drew books.

Nancy Drew #34 The Hidden Window Mystery 1957A-1 DJ
Nancy Drew #35 The Haunted Showboat Tweed 1958A-1 DJ

Hidden Window is copyright 1956 but has 1957A as the number.  Haunted Showboat is copyright 1957 but has 1958A as the number.  If the first printing was a year earlier as the copyright indicates, then shouldn't the numbers be 1957B and 1958B indicating second printings?

The people who wrote the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew guides give dates that correspond to the earliest known printing of each book. Some of the books had copyrights that were registered towards the end of the year, but the books may not have actually been published until the start of the next year. In those cases, the guide writers chose the next year to date the first printing since they have no evidence that the book was printed during the same year as the copyright. The books you asked about are examples of this situation.

If you see a reference to Farah’s 12th edition in any of my listings with an accompanying code that ends in the number "1," the book is guaranteed to be the first printing, since that is the code that Farah used to denote the first printing. The final number is the printing, so "1" corresponds to the first printing.

Haunted Showboat’s first printing is 1958A-1, rather than 1957, since Farah has found no evidence that the first printing was issued before early 1958, even though the copyright is 1957. The same is true for Hidden Window in which the copyright is 1956 but the first printing is coded as 1957A-1.

So, this is a technicality on how the guide writers coded the books. We do know for sure that those books are the very first printings; we just do not know if they were actually printed in December or January of their corresponding years, which is why you see the discrepancy on the listed year.

The last flashlight edition Nancy Drew book, #64 Captive Witness, mentions The Gondolier's Secret as the next book in the series.  However, all websites mention Mystery of the Winged Lion as the next book in the series.  Why is this?  Did Carolyn Keene pass on before the book was written and other people took over writing the books?

What happened frequently with series books is that the publisher would have a title in mind and then change it later. At the time that Captive Witness went to print, the next title was called The Gondolier’s Secret. The title was changed from The Gondolier’s Secret to Mystery of the Winged Lion by the time the book went into print. Even though the next book, Mystery of the Winged Lion, had been retitled, the previous book, Captive Witness, still had the wrong title listed in the back. You’ll see that same kind of error occasionally with some of the other books.

When I answered this question, I did not address the issue of when Carolyn Keene passed on.  Carolyn Keene is a pseudonym for a group of writers.  Carolyn Keene never existed in the first place, so she never passed on.  We do not know the names of all writers who have written Nancy Drew books over the years, such as for the newest books, but we do know that Mildred Wirt Benson wrote the earliest Nancy Drew books.  Harriet Stratemeyer Adams later wrote a large number of the original 56 Nancy Drew books.  Neither woman is still living, but this has nothing to do with errors in titles printed inside books.

I am looking for Nancy Drew books #1-56 from the original series for my wife.  Do you have the entire set for sale, or do you have all of the books available individually?

I should have nearly all of them individually, except for any stray titles that may have sold recently.

If you go to this link, you will see my Nancy Drew books. You are probably looking for the picture cover books, which you will find in the following subcategories.

> PCs Blue Multi
> PCs B&W Multi I
> PCs B&W Multi II

If you want all 56 books, then it will be less expensive to purchase them together in a lot. Several sellers on eBay have complete sets. 

Note:  I provided the prospective buyer a link to one set that was currently on eBay at that time.  The buyer did not purchase any books from me, so I assume that he found what he needed on eBay.