Sunday, May 12, 2013

Series Book Questions Winter 2013

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

What would be the total price including shipping for one copy of each of your Nancy Drew Applewood editions?

I get this type of question at least once or twice per year.  I strongly suspect that what the prospective buyer wishes to know is not what the question appears to ask.  These questions seldom, if ever, result in a sale. 

The buyer appears to want to know what the total would be for a number of books including shipping.  The question is strange since all the buyer needs to do is add the books to the shopping cart, which will total the cost of the books.  Upon entering a zip code, the buyer will also see the shipping charge in the shopping cart as well.  So why ask this question?

I believe that what the buyer means to ask is how good of a deal I will give them if they purchase a bunch of books.  They want a steep discount, but they don't come out and say it.  Don't play word games; say what you mean.  I am probably not going to give a steep discount or any discount beyond the 12% off coupon, but at least be open about what you really want.

One time several years ago, I couldn't help myself and politely replied that the buyer could add the prices of the books together and then add $3.95 plus $0.40 for each additional book.  This most recent time, I told the buyer about my 12% off coupon code that can be seen on all item pages.  I told the buyer that the discount would be quite nice if the coupon were applied.  I also mentioned the combined shipping of $3.95 plus $0.40 for each additional books.  Not surprisingly, I never heard back.

Do you combine shipping?  If so, how much do you charge?

I get this question at least once every couple of months.  Some buyers don't know where the information can be found, so they ask.  I have noticed that, similar to the previous question, only a small percent of these people ever make a purchase, probably around 33% of them.

I received this question around six weeks ago on eBay.  I replied that I do combine shipping and gave the amount for each additional book.  The buyer never made a purchase.  On eBay, I am not surprised when buyers ask about combined shipping.  eBay, in its quest to make it harder and harder for buyers to find information, forces buyers to click on a tab to view the combined shipping rates.

Most sellers price Nancy Drew picture cover editions way too high.  The prices are too high for books that were printed in great quantity.  I have collected boys' series books for years, and I am finding that everything is different for girls' series books.  The boys' series books sell for much lower prices, while the sellers of girls' series books practice price gouging.  Can you recommend sellers who can help me build a set of picture cover books in uniform condition at a reasonable price?

I included this question for two reasons: to answer the question and to address the issue of price gouging.

To answer the question asked, I suggested that the buyer check eBay and look for sets of books coming out of estates.  Often, those sets are in superior condition and sell for lower prices. 

I focus primarily on girls' series books, so I am not as aware of pricing of boys' books.  I have observed that Hardy Boys prices tend to be much lower than Nancy Drew prices.  If this buyer has been buying Hardy Boys picture cover books, then he would have quite a shock when trying to acquire Nancy Drew picture cover books.

The Nancy Drew picture cover editions are currently in high demand.  I have raised my prices due to the extreme demand on certain books.  I have had certain cover art variants sell consistently within 24 to 48 hours of listing the book until I began raising the prices.  Even then, those same books are hard to keep in stock and tend to sell within a few weeks.  I will not sell a book for $4 when people are willing to pay $10 to $15 for it, even if Farah's Guide says that the book is worth $4.  The book is worth $10 to $15 if that is what buyers are willing to pay.

The picture cover books are worth more than the dust-jacketed editions, in the current market.  Most Nancy Drew books in dust jacket sell for below the Farah's Guide values.  Most Nancy Drew books in picture cover editions sell for above the Farah's Guide values.  Anyone who is currently building a set of the Nancy Drew picture cover editions will have to pay a lot for certain books due to the demand.

I mentioned this topic on my Facebook page, and some good points were brought up.  One person stated that women tend to be more nostalgic than men and are more likely to purchase books for children and grandchildren.  That could be a reason why the girls' books are in higher demand. 

I wonder about crossover interest.  A number of men collect the girls' series books.  Are there as many women collecting boys' books as men collecting girls' books?  If not, then that could be why the boys' books sell for lower prices.  I collect most all girls' series books, but I only collect some boys' books.  Most boys' books are not that interesting to me.  I like the way the girls' books are written better.

Some recent auctions for Argentine editions of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books were quite interesting, because the Hardy Boys books went unsold, while each Nancy Drew auction had a bidding war.  The Argentine editions are very hard to find.

Click on the image to see a larger version.  These auction results provide evidence that currently, people are more interested in girls' books than in boys' books.

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