Friday, May 8, 2015

People Selling Books or Requesting Book Valuation

I rather often have people contact me wanting me to assess the value of their books.  They often spend lots of time typing up a long list of what they have.  Most often, they have Nancy Drew books.  One recent message went like this. look like an expert on Nancy Drew. Could you help me? I have 44 books.

The Bungalow Mystery 1930​ /25 Chapters​ Original text/First Printing
The Bungalow Mystery 1930​ /25 Chapters​ Original text​ ​most likely printed in 1955
​The Mystery at Lilac Inn 1930​​/25 Chapters/Original Text/Most likely Printed in 1953​
The Secret of Red Gate Farm 1931​ 25 Chapters/Original Text/ Most likely printed in 1955/56 With Dust jacket​
The Secret at Shadow Ranch 1931​ 25 Chapters/Original Text/ First Printing​
Nancy's Mysterious Letter 1932 ​25 Chapters/Original Text/ Most likely printed in 1954​
​The Clue in The Diary 1932​​ 25 Chapters/original text first printing ​
The Password to Larkspur Lane 1933​25 Chapters/Original text/First Printing​
The Password to Larkspur Lane 1933 (c​olored front cover) 25 Chapters/Original Text/Printed 1964/65 (aprox)​ (I can only fit some of them here) Can you help me value them. I need to sell them Thank you
I received three other messages with the rest of the books listed.  I felt bad that this person spent so much time compiling a list which did not tell me anything.  I had very little idea of what this person had to offer since I need to see the books to assess age, condition, and value.  I'm not going to take the time to ask questions or even ask for photographs. 

Speaking of photographs...

These people obviously haven't read my series of posts, "Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew."  In that series of posts, I detail all of the information that can be gleaned just by looking at a photograph of a Nancy Drew book.  The copyright page information is normally not necessary, nor is the number of chapters.  Here are two posts that will help explain what I mean.

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #3
Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #9

My point?  Don't type up a long list of titles, copyright dates, and number of chapters.  Take a photograph of the books with the spines facing out.  That's all I need.  I can give an approximate value by looking at a group photo of books with the spines facing out.

Even better, just go ahead and search eBay for the books you have, then click on "sold" items in the left sidebar.  It's really that simple.  What the books sell for is what they are worth.

I also often have people contact me wanting to know if I wish to purchase their books.  Here are two examples of messages that I have received in recent months.
I have a number of old Erle Stanley Gardner books (Perry Mason and others) as well as Dana Girl Series books that I am looking to get out of my basement. I would be happy to send you a list if you are interested in seeing specific titles. Thank you.

Hello! I enjoyed looking through your site. Do you purchase books in this era?
I ignored both of these messages.  They weren't worth the trouble.

Another recent message read, "I have eighteen books from the Beverly Gray series. Do you have any interest in them?"  Of course, that person could have had Beverly Gray at the World's Fair with a perfect dust jacket, but it's rather unlikely.  Once again, I didn't want to take the time to try to figure out what they have.  Besides, most of the Beverly Gray books are not currently worth much.  I'm not purchasing any to sell at this time.  I responded, "Only if you want to sell them for about the cost of postage. You'd probably get more selling them in an eBay auction. I don't need any of them for myself, and others who are building a set would be willing to pay more."  And that is the truth.  You don't want to offer me your books unless you want to sell them cheap.

I had someone else want to sell me a very scarce book.  She wanted me to make an offer.  I'm not sure why saying what one wants for a book is so difficult.  I replied upfront that I wouldn't offer much and that I would rather the book be sold to someone who needs it.  She persisted, so I made an offer since it is scarce (despite not really wanting the book) of what I could pay and be able to sell it at a narrow profit.  She was disappointed in my offer and finally told me what she wanted, which is about the current market value.  I have to pay less than what a book is worth in order to sell it to get my money back.  I can't pay the current fair market value for books I already own.

Here's another message I received from someone else.
I have 9 Ken Holt by Bruce Campbell books, 12 Rick Brant by John Blaine & Science Projects by John Blain. I also have 4 single books: Rover Boys at School, Mystery of the Timber Giant, Hardy Boys House on the Cliff & Divers Down. All are in good to excellent condition.
I tried to write more descriptions, but ebay would not send the message because I included my email address. But they deleted the message that I had taken so long to write!
If you know of anyone or if you are interested in buying the lot of them, please contact me.
I do not have the time or patience to sell them myself individually.
This message sounded promising so I gave suggestions on how this person could get a message to me.  I couldn't give an email, either, for the same reason that this person couldn't, but I gave some options. I never heard back. I don't understand why I was contacted, then the person didn't follow through.  It could be that they figured out the value of Rick Brant's Science Projects and reconsidered offering the books to me.  I can't say that I blame them.

I am receiving requests for me to buy books around once each week.  As mentioned, I often ignore the messages.  Whenever I engage them, I find that I end up wasting my time because they want more for the books than I wish to pay.

Most of these people contact me because they don't want to sell on eBay.  They say that it's a hassle.  Somehow, they think that I will happily take whichever random books they have.

I suggested that one person utilize the series books groups on Facebook.  That person doesn't use Facebook.  I get it; many people don't use Facebook due to privacy issues or because they think Facebook is stupid.

I have a Facebook account, but I have very little personal information in it.  I do have my correct birth date entered, but Facebook wouldn't know if someone entered a fake date.  If you don't trust Facebook, you can set up an account in such a way to fully protect your privacy.  If you do that, you can then not use your account for anything except for the groups.  I only use Facebook for the groups.

Here's my advice:  If you are going to contact me or anyone in an unsolicited email wanting them to buy books, you need to provide upfront the price you want as well as photographs of the books with the spines facing out.  It saves so much time and trouble.

I also want to add that I am not currently interested in buying books, except for certain very specific and difficult to find books for my collection.  I am trying to cut back on my extra books, so I am not interested in purchasing bulk lots or any books that are duplicates of books I already own.

Previous posts on this topic:

People Who Want to Sell Me Books
People Who Want to Sell Me Books #2


sax player said...

Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me if this would be a good deal to buy. The seller lists the books of being numbers: 2,5,6,8,9,10,12,14,15,16,17,18,19,22,23,26,27,28,29,30,32,33,34,& 35
All but three have their original dust jackets and the publication dates range from 1927 to 1936.
Here are the pictures the seller sent me:[user]=143136107&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=2[user]=143136107&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=1[user]=143136107&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=0[user]=143136107&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=3

The seller wants $145 for the whole lot.
Thank you for taking the time to help me out.


Jennifer White said...

Assuming that you need most of the books, then the set is definitely worth purchasing at $145. The average price comes out to around $6.60 per book for the ones with jackets, which is a good price. Also make sure that the books aren't missing pages and don't have water damage. If so, then the books look like a great set.