Monday, September 15, 2014

Buyer Questions from Summer 2014

With the Hardy Boys books: when you say, 1930 DJ, does that mean it is a new book with a copy of an old dust jacket? Otherwise, I would think you would show pictures of the book under the jacket, and the inside of the front. It does take a lot of describing to allow a buyer to know exactly what they are getting. 

This question was asked about an eBay listing.  I have observed over the years that my practice of placing the copyright date in the title of many of my listings apparently upsets quite a few people.  I have always thought that the copyright date is the easiest way to tell if a book has the original text.  For instance, any Nancy Drew book with a copyright date of 1956 or before is an original text book with 25 chapters.  Silly me, because I have discovered that I am apparently the only person who thinks that the copyright date is helpful.  Everyone else likes to check the list of chapter titles to see how many chapters are present.  Some buyers ask every single seller how many chapters a book has instead of using the copyright date or visual clues.

That aside, my original assumption was that the person who wrote the above question was confused, as many buyers are.  However, I was puzzled that the buyer stated that I needed to provide a photograph of the book under the jacket.  I found a Hardy Boys listing that had "1930 DJ" in the title, figuring that was the one that prompted the question.

Hardy Boys #9 Great Airport Mystery 1930 DJ

How very odd...  I do show a picture of the book underneath the jacket, just like I do on almost every single listing of a book that has a jacket.  Ignoring that, I decided to respond to the question with the assumption that the buyer was confused while explaining the bit about the copyright date.  I tried to convey as much information as I could as briefly as I could.  I responded as follows.
I typically do photograph the books as well as the jackets. If you can let me know which listings are giving you trouble, I'll clarify. I give the last title listed on the jacket in the listings. For my listing, "Hardy Boys #9 Great Airport Mystery 1930 DJ," I state in the description that the jacket lists to Chinese Junk. Chinese Junk was published in 1960. Since Airport Mystery has Chinese Junk as the last title, then that means that Airport Mystery was printed in 1960 which is the year that Chinese Junk, the last title listed, was first published.
The reason that "1930" was placed in the title was so that buyers know immediately that the book has the original text from 1930 rather than the revised text from the 1960s. Most people prefer the original text books and seek them. I give the copyright date in the title so that buyers know that the book has the older copyright date, which of course is not the year the book was printed. In the rare case that I have a first printing, I give that information, but you can safely assume that my books are not first printings unless I say that they are.

You asked if the book is new. I do not sell new Hardy Boys books, and I do not sell jacket copies. All of my Hardy Boys books currently for sale are vintage from the late 1940s to the late 1960s. All Hardy Boys with jackets are no newer than 1961, which is when they stopped printing the books with jackets. All jackets are original jackets from whenever the book was printed.

I have some reviews and guides on eBay. If you click on my user ID and scroll to the bottom of the resulting page, you will see them. I don't have a Hardy Boys guide, but the information in the Nancy Drew guide will also help with determining the age of Hardy Boys books.

I hope this helps. I tried to give you extra information without going into too much detail. As it is, my response got a bit lengthy. Let me know if you need any additional information. Thanks for asking!
Of course I never received a response nor did the buyer make a purchase.  On a hunch, I checked the buyer's feedback, recent selling history, and recent buying history.  This buyer is not a seller and does not purchase books, at least on the ID used to contact me.  This person is either someone who is thinking of buying Hardy Boys books and doesn't know where to begin, or this person sells on another ID and is trying to enlighten me as to the proper way to do business, since I am just that incorrigible.

I lean towards the latter.

Around four years ago, another seller sent me an extremely long message taking me to task for using the copyright date in the title and for not using the Farah's guide "print run" number.  Let's just say that I disagree with some statements that seller has made in her listings, but I would never contact her about them.  We all need to do our own thing and quit worrying about everyone else.  

One seller on eBay touches up worn spots on books with marker, then says that the books don't have wear.  That seller also implies that library discards are not library discards and has some other shady practices.  That seller gets away with his behavior.  Instead, people worry about me.

Do you offer combined shipping discounts?

I get this question at least once a month.  I have had to offer free shipping on eBay ever since I had a buyer leave a low DSR for the shipping charge.  I realize that it seems awful to purchase three books at $9.99 each with shipping included in each price and receive no shipping discount.  However, I know how I have priced the books.  Most books that are for sale on eBay at $9.99 with free shipping would have been priced at $9.99 plus $3.95 for the first book if I had charged for shipping.  Therefore, the buyer has already saved $3.95 for the first book and $0.60 for each additional book.  I shouldn't have to discount more than that.

Sometimes I do partially add in the cost of shipping so as not to take too much of a loss.  Those items are typically the ones priced at $11.99, $17.99, $21.99, and so on.  Even on those items, I am still paying part of the shipping myself, so no further discount should be needed.

It is expensive for me when only one book is purchased, and that book is a cheap book.  I have some tweed Hardy Boys books priced at $6.99 with free shipping.  My shipping cost is $3.95, which only leaves me $3.04.  The eBay and PayPal fees get taken out of that amount.  Last, factor in what the book cost me, and I get nothing.  I always take a loss on the cheap books except when a buyer purchases several at once, thereby allowing me to send several in one package.  The combined purchases help me, not the buyer.  That's why I don't offer a discount on top of the discount that the buyer received in the first place.

As in the previous case, the buyer who asked this question did not make a purchase.


Daniel said...

I'm sure it's something you've already considered, but have you thought of charging only $1 or $2 for shipping? That's what I've been doing lately, as I figure no buyer can think they're being taken advantage of, and I'm not out the entire shipping cost. I think it helps both buyer and seller out.

Amy Sisson said...

As a buyer, I certainly wouldn't balk at $2 per book.

Jennifer White said...

I'm sure it's something you've already considered, but have you thought of charging only $1 or $2 for shipping?

It certainly would help with the cheap books. It would keep the Buy It Now price from seeming so high and would help with my costs.