Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tainting the Book Supply

The actions of some sellers taint the book supply.

One seller has created large numbers of reproduction dust jackets for the Nancy Drew Cameo editions.  When these books get resold, the person selling the books may not realize that the jackets are reproductions, which causes the buyer to be unintentionally defrauded.  Other times, the person selling the books may be quite aware that the jackets are reproductions but may choose not to inform prospective buyers.

Recently, I discovered that a seller is using marker to touch up many of the books and dust jackets that he sells.  This seller has purchased hundreds of series books in the last year and is making a business out of selling them.  I am certain that the majority of this seller's buyers are not aware that the books have been altered.

The above image shows a jacket before and after the seller altered the jacket.  I would personally rather have a jacket with worn areas than a jacket with the worn areas crudely colored in.  The touching up of this jacket is much more significant than what has been done to other jackets, probably because the seller sold this book as a part of a large set and knew that the photos would not be scrutinized by most buyers.

I have been informed that this seller has touched up pinpoint areas of color lift with marker, and only holding the jacket in bright light will reveal those instances.  Those jackets are sold as being in superior condition and appear to be in superior condition.  The alterations cannot be seen in an online photo, and most buyers will never think to hold the jackets in bright light to check for small areas that have been filled with ink.  They will never notice a problem, and this is troubling.

Someone else who sells series books recently bought a few of this seller's books.  I do not believe that person is someone who collects, so I suspect that he purchased the books to resell.  When he does, he will have no knowledge that something could be wrong with the books.

Another seller uses black marker to make the tops of Nancy Drew tweed and picture cover books look as good as new.  She uses red marker on the thick blue books.  Even though the books look very nice, they have been damaged by her actions.  She has sold quite a few sets of Nancy Drew books in which she has applied marker to the tops of all of the books.  Since she has sold quite a few partial and complete sets of Nancy Drew books, she has most likely applied marker to several thousand Nancy Drew books.

I bought the following book from the seller who applies marker to the top edges of books.

The above book is special because it has digger endpapers inside a binding that came before the creation of the digger endpapers.  The only explanation is that somehow the cover stock used for the binding was not placed on the binding until years later when it was placed on a text block that had digger endpapers.

This book is very special, but I hate the fact that marker was applied to the top edge.  In fact, I was suspicious that the presence of the digger endpapers was also a trick due to the fact that the seller had tampered with the book.  I believe that she reduced the value greatly by applying marker to the top edge.  The amount of marker used was extreme, and the top edge was still wet to the touch when I received the book.  I had to wipe many times with tissue to get rid of the excess marker.

It is due to the above purchase that I am aware that this seller applies marker to all of her books.  Since I know to look, I can tell that the tops of all of the books in her listings look absolutely perfect and can conclude that marker has been applied to all of them. 

These sellers have tainted the book supply.  Gradually, the people who purchased books from them will resell the books as they find upgrades or grow tired of the books.  I am uneasy knowing that all of these tainted books are now in the book supply and will be resold in the future.

My buying patterns are such that I try to obtain books that are fresh to the secondhand market, straight from estates.  If I restrict my purchases to books that appear to be new to the secondhand market, I greatly reduce the chances of inadvertently selling one of these altered books in my Bonanza booth.

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