Sunday, November 3, 2013

People Who Want to Buy Sets of Books

I get asked a least a few times per year whether I have a complete set of Nancy Drew books, Trixie Belden books, or some other series that I can sell to whomever asks.  The prospective buyer asks how much the set would cost and what the postage would be.  Depending upon the request, I may not have a complete set of extra books together.  Sometimes I do, but I always reply that I don't.

Most of the books that I sell were purchased in partial or complete sets, which gives me a wholesale price.  These days, complete sets sell for less than the total for which the books will sell individually.  I am not interested in taking a complete set and reselling it for what I paid for it.  I am also not comfortable with marking the set up to a much higher price and selling it to the person who asked.  I also want the books for individual inventory, so the last thing I want is to get rid of a bunch of them all at once.

Sometimes I do sell sets of books, but this is always done to get rid of certain books fast without taking as much of a loss as I would if I were to sell an incomplete set.  I decided recently to clear out all of my Nancy Drew Twin Thriller books that I had for sale.  It was a partial set, and I determined that I would have to sell the books at less than what I paid for them.  Instead, I put together a complete set of Nancy Drew #1-56 so that the Twin Thriller books would be part of a complete set. 

I sold the set for $199.99 with free shipping, and the lot only took a few days to sell.  After subtracting shipping and fees, I got around $150 for the books.  I managed to avoid taking a loss, which was my goal.  If I had decided to be patient with selling the Twin Thriller editions individually and had also chosen to sell the rest of the books individually, I would likely have gotten over $200 for the books.  One does take less when selling books as a complete set. 

Around six years ago, I had a strange request from a prospective buyer.  This person asked me if I would put together a complete set of Motor Boys books in dust jacket for him.  He wanted to pay me in advance and was willing to pay whatever I thought the books would end up costing.  He didn't want to do the work himself; he wanted somebody else to find him the books.  He didn't mind if it took a year or more for me to acquire the books.  Remember, he wanted to pay in advance for this set of books.

I had a problem with this request for a number of reasons.  I didn't want to invest my time and energy into searching for books for somebody else.  I wanted that time to search for my own books.  I was not at all comfortable with taking a large sum  of money one or more years ahead of time for a set of books that I would likely have much trouble building.  I also had no idea how much the books would end up costing and how much to charge.  Last, I knew that if I spent a significant amount of time building this set that I would likely get attached to books and not want to sell them.  Needless to say, I declined this person's request.


JackWayne said...

Off topic, but could you post your thoughts on the seemingly random yet incredibly important change eBay just made regarding feedback? Now, in addition to bids being private, feedback is private too. And unless I've missed something, I can't see what items were recently purchased through a buyer's or seller's feedback. Overall, it takes away a very useful tool for placing bids now that one no longer knows their competition.

Jennifer said...

I did read where they removed the titles of listings and item numbers from the feedback of buyers, so that has all been removed. The information still shows on the seller's ID, except that the bidder's name is now hidden.

There is still a place (now somewhat hidden) on eBay's advanced search page for a buyer search, but you have to know the buyer's ID, which is now difficult with everything hidden.

My main thought is that in order to have any idea who is buying on eBay, one has to be an eBay seller. The IDs are not hidden from sellers in the feedback, not even from years ago.

I hate that eBay continues to take away tools that kept the site transparent. By taking away any method of finding the buyer's ID, sellers can now shill bid all they want and no one will ever know. eBay is more concerned with privacy than in fraud prevention.