Thursday, December 18, 2014

Responding to Buyer Questions

I was asked this question about two Three Investigators books.

I know in the description it states something about hinges being cracked and spine slanted. I just want to make sure that these are not on the verge of falling apart when being read and that there are no missing pages.

I answered as follows.
I always check books for missing pages and don't place them up for sale. Books with missing pages are discarded. By "cracked," I mean that there is a slight crack in the hinge; as in, it is showing the early signs of separation. The hinges have not yet split, which is when they are completely separated. A slanted spine is when the spine is not square as it was when new; it is at a slant. This happens in books that have been improperly shelved over the years. Poor quality glue was used when the Three Investigators hardcover books were bound, so the hinges quite often crack or split. I can't guarantee that the hinges won't weaken further when the books are read.
I included the last line because I don't know what will happen when the book is read.  I haven't forgotten the softcover Nancy Drew book that was in one piece when I started reading it.  The book began falling apart as I read it and was in two or three pieces by the time I finished.  It was not good.

I also knew that by including the last line that I was guaranteeing that the buyer would not purchase the books.  I would rather the buyer purchase from someone else who is willing to guarantee what will happen when the books are read.

A couple months ago, I had a buyer take me to task for not including information that they felt should have been included.  Sometimes when I sell books, I am more interested in ridding myself of them than in trying to get top dollar.  I wish to get them off my hands with minimal effort, especially when I know that I will have trouble finding a buyer even at a low price.  For some books, going above and beyond does absolutely no good.  In those cases, I do not necessarily include all information that I might otherwise include.

In particular, when the book has a jacket, I might in some cases decide not to photograph the book without the jacket on it.  I realize that this could bother some prospective buyers.  I also realize that I didn't jump on it when the buyer mentioned the lack of a photo of a Ruth Fielding book; the listing only had a picture of the book with the jacket on it.  Instead of adding the photo, I replied that the book was most likely the final format since the dust jacket was the final format.  My mistake.  I was taken to task for not adding the photo, and it was suggested that using "probably" and "likely" along with the lack of a photo did not inspire confidence.  I added the photo after receiving the response, and I should have added the photo when it was first requested.

I had another buyer ask me about a matte picture cover edition of the Nancy Drew book, The Sky Phantom, that lists to Parchment on the back cover.  The buyer wanted to know if the book has the "multi scene endpapers" and if I had pictures of the endpapers and copyright page.  I also opted not to add photos in that case, either.

First of all, I replied that the description stated that the book has "black and white multi endpapers."  I explained that "black and white multi endpapers" mean the "multi scene endpapers."  I also described the endpapers as having many small scenes of black and white cover art pictures so that the buyer would know that I knew what was meant.

Next, I stated that the copyright page means nothing.  All matte printings with black and white multi endpapers have the same copyright page.  I explained how the back cover list dates the book.  Yes, I could have added photos in slightly more time than it took to type the response, but I believe buyers need to learn how to use a description that actually contains useful information so that they can draw conclusions about what is being sold.

I guess I'm being a rebel about the pictures.

I've been under a lot of stress in recent months, and I've unfortunately been catching one virus after another since the middle of September.  For that reason, I have tried not to spend large amounts of time answering buyer questions and putting up additional photos.  I don't have the patience right now.  That's why I didn't add the photo of the Ruth Fielding book when it was first requested.  That's why I didn't add photos of the Nancy Drew book.  One time in the past year, a buyer had me photograph the names written inside all of my Nancy Drew books with jackets so that she could purchase the ones where the names were neatly written or less obvious.  She ended up buying only a couple, so my time didn't really pay off.  I now wouldn't do that, and I wouldn't be worried about losing the sale.

I am trying to answer questions as briefly as I can.  I may have been curt in a few cases, but I try to avoid that even when replying with brevity.  It does little good to spend large amounts of time answering questions in great detail only to have this happen.  So unfortunately, I may not respond as well to questions as I could since I have spent so much time on them in the past and not felt that it helped.

Right now, I'm all about keeping my stress level down, and I apologize in advance if my listings do not meet your quality expectations.  I am not being sarcastic; this is simply how it is.

1 comment:

Phyl said...

Whenever I get a book missing a page I try to find a copy through the library and simply make a copy of the missing page to put in my copy. My brother bought a Three Investigators book at a library sale that had several blank pages. Luckily they also had a second copy to check out so we were able to copy the missing text. If you ever want to discard some books my way I would love to have them ;)