Thursday, June 30, 2016

An Update on My Reading

Earlier this year I decided to read the entire Hardy Boys Digest series followed by the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers and Hardy Boys Adventures series.  I purchased a huge lot of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books on eBay in order to get the Hardy Boys Digest books.  Once I had the books in my possession, I set up the books in a little bookcase that is nearest to where I read.

I read fast, and I like for the books to be within easy reach.  I finished the Digest books earlier this month and moved on to the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers books.  I moved all of the Digest books to another room and changed the contents of the shelf to the Undercover Brothers and Adventures books, as well as other books that I want to read or try once I finally finish my Hardy Boys experience.

The idea was to place what I am currently reading on the top shelf and then fill out the bookcase with the books I plan to read and in the approximate order I plan to read them.  It is for certain that I will go in the order seen in the bookcase from the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers through to the end of the Hardy Boys Adventures.

Everything else placed in the bookcase could change order depending upon how I feel when I get to that point.  Sometimes I add books to the queue.  Just this week I added the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery books from 2007 to my reading list.  For those of you with sharp eyes, I do have just four of the six, but I will have the remaining two titles within one week.

I do not plan to read the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery series from 1988 or the Hardy Boys Casefiles series at this time. I'd like to read them, but I'm not sure I can keep up the momentum after having read so many Hardy Boys books.  It does wear on me.

The Girls of Canby Hall series has been in the queue since October.  I would have gotten to them months ago if I hadn't decided to read over 250 Hardy Boys books.  If you wonder why I don't give a specific number of Hardy Boys books, it's because I didn't read all of the Hardy Boys Digest books from beginning to end.  I have read parts of all of them, but around five to ten of them were only partially read due to how boring I found them.  I don't count books in my total unless I read the entire book.  I do still count the book if I skimmed a little here and there. 

When I made my decision to read all the way through the Hardy Boys Digest, Undercover Brothers, and Adventures series, I was somewhat uncertain whether I would be able to do it.  I had trouble getting through the original 58 Hardy Boys books, so I knew that I could run into problems.  After all, I would not like all the books, and that's when I would be tempted to quit.  Committing to reading over 250 Hardy Boys books altogether is a significant task and not an easy one to accomplish.

This is the reason why in March I set myself a goal to read 300 books by the end of the year.  I had read approximately 262 books in 2014 and exactly 231 books in 2015, so this goal is within reach.  I set a goal of 300 books because I always achieve specific goals that I set for myself, and this would force me to read through the Hardy Boys books as fast as I can.  And so far I have.

Since February, I have read through the Hardy Boys Digest series and am currently halfway through the Undercover Brothers series.  If I continue at my current rate, I will be finished with my Hardy Boys experience by the end of July, and that does include the Hardy Boys Adventures series.

The year is halfway over, and I have read 180 books so far.  My pace will slow down once I finish the Hardy Boys books, but I am well on track to finish the year having read at least 300 books.

Several of you have expressed awe about my reading and have wondered how I do it.  We all have a certain amount of time for various recreational activities, and we all have to make decisions on how to use that time.  I choose to use that time reading.

This means that I do not watch much television.  I do not watch movies at all.  Movies take up too much time, time that can be spent reading a book.  I use reading as a means to lowering my stress, and my stress level has been quite high for a few years.  That's why I have read so much since 2014.  Reading is my coping mechanism.  It takes me to a happy place.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Nancy Drew Girl Detective Series Ratings

I am currently reading the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series.  When I finish, I want to compare the Undercover Brothers series to the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series.  Instead of going by memory that could be faulty, I need actual data so that I can decide which series is better.  This post contains the data for the Girl Detective series that I will use when I write my comparison of the two series.

I went through my Nancy Drew Girl Detective reviews and assigned a rating for each book based on what I wrote.  I often did not state exactly how I felt about the book, but I made a decision based on my comments as to how much I probably enjoyed each story.

My Girl Detective reviews can be found at this link.  The posts are in reverse order chronologically.  To read the posts from the beginning, scroll to the very bottom and then click on "Older Posts." 

 1. Without a Trace - very good
 2. A Race Against Time -  sabotage, very good
 3. False Notes - good
 4. High Risk - good
 5. Lights, Camera... - sabotage, not good
 6. Action! - not good
 7. The Stolen Relic - good
 8. The Scarlet Macaw Scandal - very good
 9. Secret of the Spa - sabotage, excellent
10. Uncivil Acts - sabotage, very good
11. Riverboat Ruse - excellent
12. Stop the Clock - sabotage, excellent
13. Trade Wind Danger - not good
14. Bad Times, Big Crimes - good
15. Framed - not good
16. Dangerous Plays - excellent
17. En Garde - sabotage, very good
18. Pit of Vipers - very good
19. The Orchid Thief - very good
20. Getting Burned - sabotage, very good
21. Close Encounters - not good
22. Dressed to Steal - sabotage, not good
23. Troubled Waters - excellent
24. Murder on the Set - sabotage, not good
25. Trails of Treachery - sabotage, very good
26. Fishing for Clues - not good
27. Intruder - very good
28. Mardi Gras Masquerade - excellent
29. The Stolen Bones - excellent

Perfect Mystery Trilogy
30. Pageant Perfect Crime - good
31. Perfect Cover - good
32. The Perfect Escape - good

Identity Mystery Trilogy
33. Secret Identity - good
34. Identity Theft - very good
35. Identity Revealed - very good

Model Mystery Trilogy - sabotage
36. Model Crime - not good
37. Model Menace - not good
38. Model Suspect - not good

Eco-Mystery Trilogy - sabotage
39. Green-eyed Monster - very good
40. Green with Envy - not good
41. Seeing Green - very good

Sabotage Mystery Trilogy - sabotage
42. Secret Sabotage - good
43. Serial Sabotage - good
44. Sabotage Surrender - good

Malibu Mayhem Trilogy
45. California Schemin' - very good
46. Mystery at Malachite Mansion - very good
47. Stalk, Don't Run - good

The series quality changed once it switched to the trilogy format, so I want to look at how much I enjoyed the first 29 books as compared to the series as a whole.

Out of 29 books (not including the trilogies):

Not good - 8 books or 27.6%
Good - 4 books or 13.8%
Very good - 10 books or 34.5%
Excellent - 7 books or 24.1%

Overall out of 29 books - 58.6% very good or excellent 

Out of 47 books (including the trilogies):

Not good - 12 books or 25.5%
Good - 12 books or 25.5%
Very good - 16 books or 34.1%
Excellent - 7 books or 14.9%

Overall out of 47 books - 48.9% very good or excellent

The takeaway is that the trilogies are generally not as good as the earlier titles in the series.  Comparing this data to the Nancy Drew Digest series, the percents are not different enough to mean much.  However, I rated 43.7% of the Nancy Drew Digest series as very good or excellent, which is a lower percent than the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series.

For a more specific overview of the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series, please read my post "Thoughts on the Nancy Drew Girl Detective Series."

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hardy Boys #146 Blue Tattoo, #147 Trial and Terror, and #148 Ice-Cold Case

In Hardy Boys #146, The Mark of the Blue Tattoo, Chet has taken a job as an ice cream truck driver.  Chet gets into trouble immediately when two thugs hijack his truck on his very first day at work!  Frank and Joe soon discover that Bayport has a teen gang problem and that many of the gang members work for the ice cream company.

On page 63, a reporter tries to convince the Hardys to give him information.  He wants to write stories about them.  He tells them "it'll be a big hit.  In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the publishers decided to do a whole series of books about you."

On page 107, Chet tells Frank and Joe that Iola feels left out and that she wants to help them investigate.  Since when?

The crime being committed is a bit lame and not lucrative.  It would have made more sense for the culprits to have been selling drugs, but I guess we can't have that in a Hardy Boys book.

I enjoyed this book.

In Hardy Boys #147, Trial and Terror, Frank and Joe attend a trial in New York City as part of a school project.  They soon take an interest in the case and want to help clear Nick Rodriguez of the charges of attempted murder.

On page 102, Alex enthusiastically tells the Hardys, "You know what I should do?  I should write a book about you guys.  A real-life profile of the Hardy brothers, teenage detectives.  A book like that could really take off.  And I'm talking best-seller here.  I could make you guys famous!"  Um, I think someone has already done that.

I enjoyed this book.

In Hardy Boys #148, The Ice-Cold Case, Frank and Joe work on solving the case of the robberies on Pineview Lake.  Homes have been burglarized and ransacked and not one clue has been found!

I liked this book from the very first page.  This is a normal mystery without a bunch of gimmicks.  The setting is great.  The boys spend nearly the entire book in the vicinity of the lake.  I like books best when they are set in a small area with lots of exploring.  In fact, as I read this book I thought of the Nancy Drew games by Her Interactive and how this story would work perfectly as a game.

On page 97, Joe has just been rescued after having fallen through the ice and been underwater for several minutes.  Mrs. Kwan, who is a nurse, gives Joe a hot bath.  I knew immediately that this is wrong.  I ran a search online and verified that victims of hypothermia should never be given a hot bath.

This is an excellent book.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hardy Boys #143 Giant Rat, #144 Skeleton Reef, and #145 High Tide

In Hardy Boys #143, The Giant Rat of Sumatra, Joe has joined the cast of the play, The Giant Rat of Sumatra, which is based on Sherlock Holmes.  But will there be a play?  Someone is sabotaging the production, and it is up to Frank and Joe to find the culprit. 

This story is a an obvious retread of earlier stories and is a tired-out sabotage plot.

I enjoyed this story, but it's nothing special.

In Hardy Boys #144, The Secret of Skeleton Reef, Frank, Joe, and Jamal vacation on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia in Jamal's uncle's bungalow.  Soon after their arrival, the boys discover a dazed woman who has washed up on the beach.  Someone apparently tried to murder the woman, and she refuses to reveal what happened.  The boys have an intriguing mystery to solve.

It was when I reached this book that I realized that Simon and Schuster had begun reusing easily identifiable words from the titles of the original 58 Hardy Boys books.  Previous to this book is The Desert Thieves, which is not that obvious.  After I saw this title, The Secret of Skeleton Reef, I looked ahead at later titles and found The Crisscross Crime and The Mark of the Blue Tattoo.  I'd say they did it on purpose.

It is not obvious who the villains are.

The way the boys find the woman on the beach and the way the story develops makes this book quite interesting.  This is a real mystery without an obvious solution.

This is a very engaging book.  I was interested from the very first page, and the book held my attention all the way through.  I greatly enjoyed this story.

In Hardy Boys #145, Terror at High Tide, Callie is interning at a newspaper in Nantucket.  Frank and Joe travel to Nantucket to visit Callie, but soon, Callie's friend Alicia and her father are involved in a mystery.  Someone sabotages Alicia's father's museum, and then he vanishes!

Since this book is set in Nantucket and involves sabotage at a museum, I felt like I was revisiting the Nancy Drew Diaries book, The Phantom of Nantucket.  Exactly how many times is Simon and Schuster going to reuse the "sabotage in a museum" plot?  I guess as many times as they will reuse the "sabotage on a movie set" and "sabotage at a sports competition" plots.

I overall enjoyed this book, but it is not a memorable story.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Hardy Boys #140 Slam Dunk Sabotage, #141 Desert Thieves, and #142 Gator Swamp

In Hardy Boys #140, Slam Dunk Sabotage, Frank and Joe's basketball team is on the verge of winning the conference championship.  Someone is trying to keep the Bayport team from winning by seriously injuring Frank and Joe.

Even though this story is a sabotage book, it is an interesting sabotage book.

I wasn't sure I would enjoy this book, but the story isn't the usual sports story where gamblers bet on a game.  The culprit is obvious, but not because of any mistake the author made.

I greatly enjoyed this book.

In Hardy Boys #141, The Desert Thieves, Frank, Joe, and Fenton vacation in the Arizona desert.  The boys soon find a new case when they discover that valuable organ pipe cactus is being stolen from the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

The author makes the villain extremely obvious because he protests way too much about the Hardys helping find the thieves.  He continues to protest for no good reason, since he ought to want help.  Even though on the surface this person is quite improbable as the culprit due to his role in the story, his bizarre protests make him the most likely culprit.  The author should have had this person protest a little bit and then act happy to have the boys help.  This is another case of an author messing up and making the clues too obvious.  I like for a book to have a little mystery.

I enjoyed this book.

In Hardy Boys #142, Lost in Gator Swamp, Frank and Joe vacation in the Everglades.  The boys soon learn of a bank heist, and the loot is said to be missing in the swamp.  The boys attend a rodeo, where they observe that several participants behave suspiciously.

As I read this book, I wondered why the Hardy Boys can't have a good adventure in a swamp that is actually written well.  Every Hardy Boys book set in a swamp falls far short of what it could have been.

This book is a bit convoluted.  I don't see why it is necessary to have a rodeo.  Furthermore, the book has too many characters, and I had trouble keeping them straight.

Early in the story, the boys are told that the money stolen from the bank was not currency.  Hmm.  It takes the boys forever to figure out that the money had to have been in coins, which likely are in the swamp and recoverable.  Idiots.

Frank and Joe suspect Randy is one of the culprits because he seems suspicious to them.  Randy is participating in the rodeo and is very touchy about his age, continually angrily declaring that he is 18 years old and old enough to compete in the rodeo.  Gee, I wonder what Randy's problem could possibly be? 

On page 82, Frank and Joe are actually told that Randy is in junior high.  They don't pick up on the statement and keep suspecting poor Randy of criminal acts.  This is an example of an author insulting the reader's intelligence.  Frank and Joe should have picked up on the statement about Randy and eliminated him as a suspect.  In fact, young readers would have appreciated Randy's dilemma even more if it had been revealed earlier in the story.  Randy could have then helped the boys from earlier in the story instead of them chasing him around like a suspect.

There is a lot wrong with this book, just like some other Hardy Boys swamp stories I could mention. 

This is a weak story.  I did enjoy it, but it was a bit annoying at the same time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hardy Boys #137 High-Speed Showdown, #138 Alaskan Adventure, and #139 Snow Leopard

In Hardy Boys #137, High-Speed Showdown, Gerald Magnussen is in charge of the Northeast Nationals boat races.  He asks Frank and Joe to help him figure out who is sabotaging the event.

This is another sabotage book that is boring.  The sabotage does not affect the Hardys.  They are simply at the event, asking everyone questions and watching other people get sabotaged. 

The story is okay, but it's another variation of the typical boring sabotage book.  If it were the first sabotage book I had ever read, I might have liked it a lot.  Since I've read a variation of this story many times, this one was not very interesting.  I skimmed parts of this book and doubt I would ever read it again.

I did not enjoy this book.

In Hardy Boys #138, The Alaskan Adventure, Frank and Joe visit their new friend, David, in a remote village in Alaska.  David is set to compete in the Iditarod in a few days, and the Hardys plan to watch the beginning of the race.  Meanwhile, a company wants to turn David's village into a tourist destination.  The plans have divided the town, and some residents have fallen victim to acts of mischief.

This is an excellent story from the very first page.  The village is remote and isolated, which adds to the suspense.

This book is excellent all the way through.

In Hardy Boys #139, The Search for the Snow Leopard, a snow leopard is stolen from the Bayport Zoo.  Frank and Joe look for it.

It's funny when the title of a book successfully summarizes the entire story.

The primary culprit is quite predictable.  A man who collects and hunts rare animals is introduced early in the story, so I knew he had to be involved.

Despite the predictability of the overall plot, the last part of the story takes a turn I did not expect.  The climax is quite thrilling.  This is a very good book.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How to Avoid Trouble When Buying and Selling Online

Recently on Facebook in one of the groups, someone did not honor a transaction.  I posted a cautionary note on Facebook, explaining how to be careful.  I want to expand on it here.

1.  Do not mail items before you receive payment unless you know the other person quite well and know they can be trusted.

2.  Do not trade items with another person unless you know that person quite well and know they can be trusted.  If you offer items for trade and someone you don't know well responds, the person who responds to your offer should mail their items first.  You should wait to receive the items from the other person before you mail anything.

3.  Be very cautious about sending people free items.  Some people have a habit of asking many people for free items, and they get more free items than any of us can imagine.

4.  Conduct all negotiations in such a manner that the other person cannot delete record of the negotiations.  On Facebook, the negotiations should be through private messages, because neither person can delete the messages.  If you negotiate through a message thread in a group, the person who started the thread can delete everything so as to remove all record of what transpired.  This is also true for comments.   If you respond to a comment in a Facebook group and negotiate there, the person who made the original comment can delete the comment and your responses.  That's apparently what happened on Facebook.

5.  If someone sounds a bit desperate or is rather bold in how they contact you, be very careful.  I find that people who come across as desperate tend to fall victim to temptation much more easily than others.  In other words, desperate people are willing to do anything to get what they want.

On eBay, desperate buyers contact sellers of valuable items asking them to end the auction early.  They will tell the seller that they need the item quickly, because they have a sick relative who is about to die and would just love to have that item before death.  What they don't tell the seller is how valuable the item is and that they want the auction ended so that they can purchase it for a low price.  Never close an auction early at a buyer's request.

6.  Be wary of anybody who comes across as overly friendly.  These are the people who send private messages giving you wonderful compliments.  They act like you are their new best friend during the very first exchange of messages.  If you have a transaction with one of these people on eBay, they might tell you that they will leave you "glowing feedback." 

I have had several people who were overly friendly with me at first who later turned on me, attacked me, or tried to take advantage of me in some fashion.

7.  Be wary of anybody who reveals too much information.  If somebody tells you about their life story, their disabilities, or other revealing information, you should be careful.  That information is irrelevant in a business transaction.

8.  Do not reveal your insecurities.  If you are a new seller or do not feel knowledgeable about what you are selling, don't reveal that information to your buyers.  This is because dishonest buyers will use that against you.  They look for inexperienced sellers to target with their schemes.

9.  Be wary of sellers who declare how honest they are in their descriptions.  I have encountered a few sellers who made a point of stating that they were "honest sellers" and then proved later by their actions that they weren't honest at all.  It's a red flag.

Since I'm sure some of you are already getting upset, I must state that I am well aware that some honest people volunteer that information in their listings.  However, telling people you are honest is not necessary and sounds strange.  Think about it:  Would you walk into a store, approach management, and declare that you are an honest customer?  Don't you think they would wonder about you?  That's why sellers should not make that kind of statement; it sounds odd.

If you follow these guidelines, you can avoid most trouble in your online transactions.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Books for Sale on eBay and Etsy

I have listed many books on eBay and Etsy in the last week.  The newest books on Etsy show up at the top of my shop page.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

On eBay, the newest books are on the first page and the third page of my store.  In between are books that were relisted in the last week, which is why some new books are on the third page.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

You can also follow me on Facebook.

Jennifer's Series Books on Facebook 

We have some collector groups on Facebook that are very active.  If you are registered on Facebook, you should consider joining some of them.  There is a wealth of information in the groups.

If you are not registered on Facebook, consider creating an account so that you can view the groups.  You don't have to get Facebook friends or do any of the Facebook stuff.  You don't have to enter all your personal information; my account has very little information in it. 

Collecting Vintage Children's Series Books

Nancy Drew Book Fans

Nancy Drew Game Fans

Trixie Belden

Judy Bolton Fans

Hardy Boys #134 Cross-Country Crime, #135 Hypersonic Secret, and #136 Cold Cash Caper

In Hardy Boys #134, Cross-Country Crime, Frank and Joe are taking a cross-country run across the Canadian Rockies.  The boys stumble upon a mystery in a remote town.  The town's bank has been robbed, and the boys' host may be the culprit!

This is an excellent book from the very first page.  It caught my attention quickly.

The way the boys encounter the mystery is interesting and unnerving.  They have found a man in the snow who has amnesia.  They help him into his cabin, and they turn on the radio.  The news begins, reporting a bank robbery and describing the suspect.  The boys' host matches the description, causing them to fear for their safety.

This book is outstanding.

In Hardy Boys #135, The Hypersonic Secret, Jamal Hawkins' father has vanished!  Mr. Hawkins was piloting a charter flight carrying millionaire Ian Fairbanks when the plan vanishing from radar.  Frank and Joe help Jamal look for the plane and the missing men.

This book introduces the Hardys' new friend, Jamal Hawkins, who becomes a recurring character in the series.  Jamal is pictured on the front cover.

The next two paragraphs spoil the identity of one of the culprits, although I think the author makes it so obvious that my spoiler doesn't matter much.

Sometimes authors make big mistakes when they try to drop clues to the culprit's identity, while trying not to make the culprit obvious.  The boys had learned Ken McCafferty's history with the air force that resulted in a dishonorable discharge.  On page 73, McCafferty makes a bitter remark about the air force.  Frank notices the bitter remark and asks himself, "What could that be about?"

This was a mistake, because the reader already knows why McCafferty is bitter.  Frank knows the story as well, but he plays dumb.  I concluded that McCafferty is the culprit.  It would have been far better for Frank to think, "Boy, he sure is bitter about being discharged!"

The ending of the story is quite improbable.  It's quite impossible for Jamal to show up when he does and how he does in order to rescue the Hardys at the precise moment they need to be rescued.  The police and two fighter jets also arrive at the same moment!

This is an excellent book. 

In Hardy Boys #136, The Cold Cash Caper, Frank and Joe are helping with security at the Bayport Winter Festival.  Several thefts of money raised occur, and Chet is framed.  Frank and Joe must clear their friend's name and keep the festival from being a failure.

On page 31, Joe asks, "But if he wants us off the case so badly, why would he draw attention to himself by throwing the rock?"  I've asked myself that same question in book after book.  The criminals are so stupid in Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books!

I had trouble enjoying this book because the boys play into the obvious criminal's hands.  They give the money bag directly to him, never considering that he could be a potential suspect.  Even though the police aren't around at that moment, the money bag should have been kept and given directly to them.  Later, the boys give other evidence to the same man.  It's no surprise that the police never find fingerprints on any of these items, since they were given to someone else first.

The boys don't figure out the motive until page 119, when I knew the motive and culprit since very early in the book.  This book has no real mystery, since the solution is so obvious.

On page 147, Joe realizes "that every step of the way, he and Frank had helped [name withheld] keep tabs on them."  I'm glad he finally figured it out!

This book is a bit bland.

Friday, June 17, 2016

An Overview of Nancy Drew #57-175

I am compiling information in order to make a comparison between the Nancy Drew Digest series and the Hardy Boys Digest series.  This post consists of information I compiled today in preparation for making my comparison between the two series.

I went through my reviews of the Nancy Drew Digest books and made note of how much I enjoyed each book based on what I wrote in my reviews a few years ago.

 57. The Triple Hoax - not good
 58. The Flying Saucer Mystery - excellent
 59. The Secret in the Old Lace - not good
 60. The Greek Symbol Mystery - not good
 61. The Swami’s Ring - not good
 62. The Kachina Doll Mystery - very good
 63. The Twin Dilemma - not good
 64. Captive Witness - very good
 65. Mystery of the Winged Lion - not good
 66. Race Against Time - good
 67. The Sinister Omen - very good
 68. The Elusive Heiress - very good
 69. Clue in the Ancient Disguise - not good
 70. The Broken Anchor - excellent
 71. The Silver Cobweb - not good
 72. The Haunted Carousel - good
 73. Enemy Match - excellent
 74. The Mysterious Image - good
 75. The Emerald-Eyed Cat Mystery - very good
 76. The Eskimo’s Secret - good
 77. The Bluebeard Room - good
 78. The Phantom of Venice - not good
 79. The Double Horror of Fenley Place - good
 80. The Case of the Disappearing Diamonds - very good
 81. The Mardi Gras Mystery - very good
 82. The Clue in the Camera - not good
 83. The Case of the Vanishing Veil - good
 84. The Joker's Revenge - very good
 85. The Secret of Shady Glen - excellent
 86. The Mystery of Misty Canyon - very good
 87. The Case of the Rising Stars - very good
 88. The Search for Cindy Austin - very good
 89. The Case of the Disappearing Deejay - good
 90. The Puzzle at Pineview School - good
 91. The Girl Who Couldn't Remember - good
 92. The Ghost of Craven Cove - good
 93. The Case of the Safecracker's Secret - good
 94. The Picture-Perfect Mystery - very good
 95. The Silent Suspect - very good
 96. The Case of the Photo Finish - good
 97. The Mystery at Magnolia Mansion - very good
 98. The Haunting of Horse Island - good
 99. The Secret at Seven Rocks - good
100. A Secret in Time - not good
101. The Mystery of the Missing Millionairess - very good
102. The Secret in the Dark - good
103. The Stranger in the Shadows - good
104. The Mystery of the Jade Tiger - excellent
105. The Clue in the Antique Trunk - very good
106. The Case of the Artful Crime - good
107. The Legend of Miner's Creek - good
108. The Secret of the Tibetan Treasure - good
109. The Mystery of the Masked Rider - good
110. The Nutcracker Ballet Mystery - good
111. The Secret at Solaire - good
112. Crime in the Queen’s Court - not good
113. The Secret Lost at Sea - not good
114. The Search for the Silver Persian - not good
115. The Suspect in the Smoke - not good
116. The Case of the Twin Teddy Bears - very good
117. Mystery on the Menu - very good
118. Trouble at Lake Tahoe - very good
119. The Mystery of the Missing Mascot - good
120. The Case of the Floating Crime - good
121. The Fortune Teller’s Secret - very good
122. The Message in the Haunted Mansion - good
123. The Clue on the Silver Screen - not good
124. The Secret of the Scarlet Hand - good
125. The Teen Model Mystery - good
126. The Riddle in the Rare Book - excellent
127. The Case of the Dangerous Solution - very good
128. The Treasure in the Royal Tower - very good
129. The Baby-Sitter Burglaries - not good
130. The Sign of the Falcon - very good
131. The Hidden Inheritance - excellent
132. The Fox Hunt Mystery - very good
133. The Mystery at the Crystal Palace - not good
134. The Secret of the Forgotten Cave - excellent
135. The Riddle of the Ruby Gazelle - not good
136. The Wedding Day Mystery - excellent
137. In Search of the Black Rose - not good
138. The Legend of the Lost Gold - very good
139. The Secret of Candlelight Inn - very good
140. The Door-to-Door Deception - very good
141. The Wild Cat Crime - very good
142. The Case of Capital Intrigue - not good
143. Mystery on Maui - good
144. The E-mail Mystery - not good
145. The Missing Horse Mystery - good
146. The Ghost of the Lantern Lady - very good
147. The Case of the Captured Queen  - good
148. On the Trail of Trouble - not good
149. The Clue of the Gold Doubloons - good
150. Mystery at Moorsea Manor - very good
151. The Chocolate-Covered Contest - excellent
152. The Key in the Satin Pocket - very good
153. Whispers in the Fog - excellent
154. The Legend of the Emerald Lady - excellent
155. The Mystery in Tornado Alley - not good
156. The Secret in the Stars - not good
157. The Music Festival Mystery - not good
158. The Curse of the Black Cat - not good
159. The Secret of the Fiery Chamber - not good
160. The Clue on the Crystal Dove - not good
161. Lost in the Everglades - not good
162. The Case of the Lost Song - very good
163. The Clues Challenge - very good
164. The Mystery of the Mother Wolf - very good
165. The Crime Lab Case - very good
166. The Case of the Creative Crime - excellent
167. Mystery by Moonlight - very good
168. The Bike Tour Mystery - excellent
169. The Mistletoe Mystery - very good
170. No Strings Attached - not good
171. Intrigue at the Grand Opera - not good
172. The Riding Club Crime - not good
173. Danger on the Great Lakes - not good
174. A Taste of Danger - very good
175. Werewolf in a Winter Wonderland - not good

Out of 119 books:

not good - 35 books or 29.4%
good - 32 books or 26.9%
very good - 38 books or 31.9%
excellent - 14 books or 11.8%

I rated 43.7% of the series as very good or excellent.

I created my Hardy Boys Digest list yesterday and will figure out the percents for that series later.  So often when I compile statistics for books I have read, the end result is inconclusive.  Even if that occurs, I will make certain that I do not draw any incorrect conclusions based on faulty memory.

The Hardy Boys Digest overview will be published once the last Hardy Boys Digest review is published, which will probably be around the beginning of August.

In the meantime, I am currently reading the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series and will finish up my Hardy Boys reading experience with the Hardy Boys Adventures series.  Currently, I am not planning to read the Hardy Boys Casefiles series, since I am not willing to commit to 127 more Hardy Boys books.  I will keep that series in mind, but I feel that reading a total of over 250 Hardy Boys books is quite enough for now.

This is my post where I compare the Hardy Boys Digest series to the Nancy Drew Digest series.

The Hardy Boys Digest Series Overview

Hardy Boys #131 Flaming Sword, #132 Maximum Challenge, and #133 Crime in the Kennel

In Hardy Boys #131, Crusade of the Flaming Sword, Frank and Joe work undercover at a local medieval fair.  Someone is sabotaging the event.

I was strongly reminded of the Nancy Drew book, Crime in the Queen's Court, as I read this book, and that is not good.

The book bored me at first.  The text has way too much information about medieval times, medieval armor, and other historical aspects.  The story is blatant sabotage with no clear reason at first as to why.  Towards the end of the book when the motive becomes clear, the book finally becomes interesting.  I overall enjoyed the last part of the book.

In Hardy Boys #132, Maximum Challenge, Frank and Joe are on the Bayport team that is participating in a hit television competition show.  Frank and Joe notice a string of burglaries began right after the production arrived in town, and they soon have reason to believe that someone connected with the show is responsible for the robberies.

I enjoyed the early part of the book.  The middle part of the story is less interesting.  After the boys learn the identity of the cat burglar, the book gets very interesting.  I was not expecting the plot to play out the way it does.

I overall greatly enjoyed this story.

In Hardy Boys #133, Crime in the Kennel, Iola has been fired from her job at the Doghouse Pet Motel.  A collie has disappeared from the kennel, and the owner believes that Iola is responsible.  Frank and Joe take the case to prove that Iola is innocent.

Other dogs also disappear from around Bayport, so I already knew that this book would tie the thefts in with the possibility that the dogs are being stolen for research purposes.  This does turn out to be the motive.

Frank and Joe once again own their boat, The Sleuth, in this book.

The first half of the book is very good, and the second half is excellent.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hardy Boys #128 Day of the Dinosaur, #129 Dolphin Bay, and #130 Sidetracked to Danger

In Hardy Boys #128, Day of the Dinosaur, Frank and Joe investigate what appears to be sabotage at a museum that is preparing for its grand opening.  Someone has tampered with exhibits, and prowlers enter the property after hours.

This book is not about sabotage, but the back cover synopsis describes the plot as sabotage.  Even when the plot isn't sabotage, the publisher found it easier just to call it sabotage anyway.

The museum has a outdoor exhibit of mechanical dinosaurs that can make limited movements.  At one point, one of the dinosaurs goes on the rampage, resulting in a hilarious scene.

Frank and Joe discuss the case on page 67.
"So like I said, do you think it was stolen?" Joe said.

"And as I said, I don't know," Frank snapped.
Ooh, Frank and Joe are channeling the Power Boys.  I like it.

This is an excellent book all the way through.  I read it quickly.

In Hardy Boys #129, The Treasure at Dolphin Bay, the entire Hardy family is vacationing in Hawaii.  Frank and Joe soon become involved in a mystery at the dolphin research center.  One of the dolphins has been injured, and an employee has vanished.

I noticed that Fenton is not involved at all in the case, nor does he seem even slightly interested.  In one scene, the boys have dinner with their parents and discuss the case in front of their parents.  Fenton never says a word. 

I enjoyed this book from the opening page.  It's great to find a story interesting from the very beginning.  My enjoyment of the text decreased slightly towards the end, but overall I greatly enjoyed this book.

Hardy Boys #130, Sidetracked to Danger, is so boring!  Frank and Joe get to see a collection of model trains, but then the collection is stolen.  The theft might have something to do with another person's attempt to get a building condemned.  Or it might not.  I don't even remember.  I didn't care, and the story is boring.

I didn't like this book.  I have nothing else to say.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hardy Boys #125 Makatunk Island, #126 Racing to Disaster, and #127 Reel Thrills

In Hardy Boys #125, Mystery on Makatunk Island, Frank, Joe, and Chet are staying on Makatunk Island.  The island is a tourist attraction and a haven for artists, but the island's economy is being threatened by a saboteur who is trying to drive people away.

This is yet another typical sabotage book, and I had trouble getting into it at first.  Once I finally did, I enjoyed it.

Page 132 states that Fenton Hardy is "a high-ranking police detective back in Bayport."  This makes it sound like Fenton is a Bayport police officer, and he is not.

The book has one huge flaw.  The main villain is too obvious.  I guessed the villain's identity on page 15.  The author probably wanted the incident to be a minor clue.  Rather, the way the character reacts to the Hardys is so obvious that I immediately knew that this person is the villain.

Despite that flaw, this is an excellent book.

In Hardy Boys #126, Racing to Disaster, Joe is participating in a mountain bike race.  Someone is sabotaging the race!  How shocking!

On page 23 we learn that the Hardys are from Bayport, New York.

The Hardys convince the woman in charge of the race that she should not notify the police because it would put the saboteur on guard.  On guard to what?  That they know there is a saboteur?  The saboteur had just sent them a warning note, so I think the saboteur already knows about the investigation.

Each time this book has a race, a bike malfunctions due to sabotage.  It is so predictable and boring.  The races are described in great detail with all of the moves and turns.  Whoever the Hardys want to have win is about to win, and then... sabotage.  Some part of the bicycle fails.  I was so bored.

The book lost me by page 50.  The book has too many characters, and I couldn't keep them straight.  I skimmed at least half of the book.  I did not enjoy this book

In Hardy Boys #127 Reel Thrills, film producer Mort Tannenberg has asked the Hardys for assistance.  Tannenberg is known for his surprise endings, but someone is staging crime scenes using the surprise endings to films that have not yet been released!  Tannenberg wants the culprit caught before his career is ruined.

This is the typical sabotage on a movie set plot that I have read several times before.  It does get old.  I overall enjoyed this book, but it could have been better.

Chet's line on the last page of the story made me laugh, but not in the way the author intended.  Chet has an idea for a movie.  He starts to explain, "It's all about three detectives who—"

Of course, Chet means Frank, Joe, and Chet.  The funny part is that I instead immediately thought of Jupiter, Pete, and Bob of the Three Investigators, since two films have been made based on the books.  Three detectives in a movie?  They must be the Three Investigators!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hardy Boys #122 Carnival of Crime, #123 Robot's Revenge, and #124 Dangerous Beat

In Hardy Boys #122, Carnival of Crime, Frank and Joe go undercover to investigate who is sabotaging a carnival in Bayport.

Major Bowman's daughter, Susan, is in charge of the carnival.  Susan is 18.  I was amazed on page 23 when Joe suggests that she is too young for such responsibility.  Joe is younger than Susan.  Consider the type of experiences the Hardys have had, and Joe dares to suggest that someone older than him is in over her head.

This is the typical sabotage book that does not have a particularly imaginative premise.  I greatly enjoyed the early part of the book, but the story began to lose me around halfway through.  I overall enjoyed the last part of the book, even though I began to have trouble keeping a few of the characters straight.

While I enjoyed this book, I don't think I would want to read it again.

In Hardy Boys #123, The Robot's Revenge, Frank enters the Teen Inventor's Club competition in Chicago with Phil Cohen as his partner.  Soon after the boys' arrival, their robot is stolen!  Other inventions have also gone missing, and it soon becomes apparent that somebody is tampering with the competition.

This was one of the very first Digest books that I read.  As a result, I wasn't sure about this book at first, but I enjoyed it and found it interesting.  This is another example of the typical sabotage book.  The last part of the story is quite thrilling.

In Hardy Boys #124, Mystery with a Dangerous Beat, Frank and Joe are hired to protect famous rock star Brian Beat, lead singer of the Funky Four.  Beat has been the victim of several accidents and has received threats.

I noticed very quickly that the boys and all the other characters keep saying "no problem."  The expression is way overused in this book.

The members of the band all blur together like they are the same person.  They were introduced too quickly and did not make an impression on me.

The villain isn't that hard to guess.

Despite the flaws, I enjoyed this book.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Hardy Boys #119 Coyote Canyon, #120 Cosmic Kidnapping, and #121 Old Mine

In Hardy Boys #119, Trouble at Coyote Canyon, Mike Preston asks Frank and Joe to find out who is sabotaging his business, Teen Trails West, which takes teens on a horseback ride through the Colorado mountains. 

The beginning of this story mentions Doug Newman of Hardy Boys #96 Wipeout.  Doug recommended the Hardys to Mike Preston.  I've noticed that when a certain past book is mentioned that it usually means that the same author wrote both stories. 

I very quickly noticed that this story has a similar plot to both #96 Wipeout and #168 The Castle Conundrum.  All three stories feature a group of teenagers who are either in a competition or are partaking in an event together.  All three books feature more than one villain, and each villain is working alone for their own purposes with no connection to the other villain or villains.  This book has a hidden tape recorder being used to scare others, which also occurred in The Castle ConundrumAs previously mentioned, Wipeout and The Castle Conundrum share specific plot elements. 

So, all three books have more than one saboteur with different motives.  In all three books, it is hard to keep the young people apart from each other in my mind.  In all three books, the characters are introduced very rapidly, and I had keep flipping back to the beginning so that I could remember them.

Despite that flaw, this is an excellent book.

In Hardy Boys #120, The Case of the Cosmic Kidnapping, Chet works as a cook at a burger joint that is losing money.  One night, the owner, Fred Hawkins, is abducted by a UFO in the parking lot outside of his business.  Frank and Joe witness the event.  The boys don't believe that an actual UFO was involved and wonder if Hawkins disappeared on purpose since he owes a large amount of money.

I tend to find UFO books interesting, since they are always hoaxes, and I am always curious to find out how it was done.  That is, UFO books are almost always hoaxes, since that is not the case in Nancy Drew #58, The Flying Saucer Mystery.

This book is thoroughly engaging from start to finish.  It is excellent.

In  Hardy Boys #121, The Mystery in the Old Mine, the Hardys' friend, Garth Trimmer, has been warned that his sister has been kidnapped.  Frank and Joe travel to Ridge City, Pennsylvania, to search for her.  Ridge City is a dying town due to the dangerous fumes from the mine fires.  The boys soon learn that Garth's sister and the mayor have a difference of opinion about what is best for the town.

It's interesting that just a few days before reading this book I read about Centralia, Pennsylvania, a town that has been condemned because of the mine fires. I recall actually thinking that Centralia would make a great setting for a series book.  I had no idea I was about to read one.

This is a very good book with no boring parts.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

One Month on Etsy

On May 6 and 7, I moved all of my Bonanza items to eBay and Etsy due to a lack of sales.  While I want to say that I had no sales on Bonanza, this is not true.  I did still have some sales, but I had such low traffic that I did not feel it worthwhile to continue on Bonanza.  The site is like a ghost town, and I don't see the owners doing anything to change that.

In the spirit of full disclosure, these are my sales on Bonanza in the final five months my booth was open.

December 2015:  3 orders with a total of 7 items sold
January 2016:  5 orders with a total of 22 items sold
February 2016:  4 orders with a total of 9 items sold
March 2016:  5 orders with a total of 9 items sold
April 2016:  2 orders with a total of 10 items sold

So yes, I did still have a few sales.  The problem is that on Bonanza four to five years ago I was accustomed to 30 to 40 orders per month with over 100 items sold per month.  That's why I see the above sales as nothing.

eBay has been rather slow the last few months, meaning that eBay has been slow as compared to how eBay usually is.  That was probably mostly my fault, since I was not listing new items in my store.  I get higher sales when I consistently add new items.  It's such a simple concept, and it works!  Even with my lack of effort at listing new items, I have still had around 30 items sold per month on eBay.

I did get back to listing new items on eBay at the end of May.  As a result, I have sold 20 items on eBay in just the last week.  In a good month, I can easily sell 80 to 100 items per month on eBay, just like I used to do on Bonanza when Bonanza was the only place I sold.

So you can see why selling 10 or fewer items on Bonanza per month seemed a waste of effort.  I'd list some really good books on Bonanza at bargain prices, and nobody would even look at them.

It's like my Bonanza booth had a force field around it which prevented anyone from looking at the items.  Or like someone sprayed repellent on the Bonanza site, keeping everyone way.

In recent months, I continued to promote my Bonanza booth here and on Facebook, although I'll admit it was halfheartedly.  My Bonanza booth showed little traffic increase each time.  Something was preventing people from even wanting to take a look at the Bonanza booth.  My theory is that something about the Bonanza site turns people off, such as the verbiage used in Bonanza's message system.  For instance, who really wants to receive a message that opens with "Huzzah!" when one makes a purchase online?   It could be that a number of people have been turned off by that over the years and finally decided not to look at my booth anymore.

It could also be that a number of people have been victims of glitches.  The Bonanza site is riddled with glitches, so perhaps more people than I can realize have been turned off by that.  Regardless, something about Bonanza was repelling site visitors.  By that I mean that they wouldn't follow my links to Bonanza!

I knew keeping my Bonanza booth was pretty pointless by late 2014.  That was when I registered on Etsy and went halfway through the shop setup.  It took me until one month ago to finally have the courage to let go of Bonanza.  After all, I loved that booth for at least five years, and I hated letting it go.  But it was time.

Most of those Bonanza items that I moved to eBay and Etsy would have gone unsold on Bonanza.  Not including January, I was selling no more than 10 items per month, and my booth traffic continued to drop.  Within a few more months, I was probably going to sell no more than a couple of items per month.  So, how did those items do on eBay and Etsy instead of remaining stagnant on Bonanza?

I moved a total of 121 items from my Bonanza booth.  58 items were moved to eBay, and 63 were moved to Etsy.  One month later, 26 of those items have sold on eBay, and 12 have sold on Etsy.  Nearly half of the items moved to eBay sold in just one month.  Overall nearly one-third of my former Bonanza inventory has sold in the last month on eBay and Etsy.  That's pretty good and better than if the items had stayed on Bonanza.

On eBay, I pay a monthly subscriber fee for my eBay store, which is worth it for the interface that eBay provides to store owners and for the ability to set up store categories.  I do not pay a fee to list my items since I get 250 free listings per month.  I can usually float a higher number of items on my 250 free listings since eBay runs extra free listing promotions on a regular basis. 

I get a 20% discount in final value fees on eBay since I am a top-rated seller.  That takes final value fees down to 8% from the usual 10%, but with the store subscriber fee, the overall fees are equivalent to a 10% final value fee.

The big concern with Etsy is that I have to pay $0.20 to list each item, although each listing is good for four months.  $0.20 per item adds up very fast.  However, I have sold 28 items on Etsy in the last month, which has brought in enough revenue to cover my listing fees for all items including current unsold listings. 

I figured up the listing fees and the final value fees so far on Etsy.  I then looked at the revenue and figured out that the fees I owe average out to 10% of my revenue so far, which is equivalent to what it costs on eBay.  If more of my items sell in the next few months, then the overall cost for Etsy will be lower than eBay.

So far Etsy looks to be a viable selling venue for me and is better than what Bonanza has been in recent months.

eBay is by far the best venue with the most traffic.  Etsy has good traffic but nowhere near the level that eBay has.  Bonanza's traffic is less than what Etsy has.

You will pay the highest fees on eBay, but you will get the best traffic and the most sales.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Hardy Boys #116 Rock 'N' Roll Renegades, #117 Baseball Conspiracy, and #118 Fourth Dimension

In Hardy Boys #116, Rock 'N' Roll Renegades, Joe becomes a DJ at Bayport radio station WBBX.  The radio station's signal is jammed for a few hours each day by a pirate radio station that broadcasts on its band.  Frank and Joe must locate the pirate radio station and take it down before WBBX is driven out of business.

In the Hardy Boys Digest books, the boys do still own their boat, The Sleuth.  In this book, I was taken aback when the boys have to rent a boat on page 87 so that they can go out on Barmet Bay.  Apparently in this book, the boys don't own The Sleuth.  More likely, the author either didn't know about The Sleuth or forgot about it.

I greatly enjoyed this book.  The ending is exciting.

In Hardy Boys #117, The Baseball Card Conspiracy, Biff collects baseball cards.  Frank and Joe attend a show with Biff, where Biff is sold a counterfeit baseball card.  Soon after, a man with red hair does everything he can to steal back the card, even following the boys back to Bayport.

At first, I greatly enjoyed this book.  The second half is not as good as the first half.  The plot is a tad convoluted, and the book has too many characters.  I began to get confused and cared less the further I read.

Overall, the book is okay.

In Hardy Boys #118, Danger in the Fourth Dimension, Fenton Hardy asks Frank and Joe to help him with an investigation at the Fourth Dimension theme park.  When the boys arrive, they discover that their father has vanished!  His belongings are found in a dumpster, and the boys realize that their father has been abducted.  Since park security did not see Fenton leave, the boys conclude that their father must be hidden somewhere in the park.

This book is much better than the cover makes it look.  Since I'm not a boy, I don't go for covers that show things like aliens and exaggerated expressions on the boys' faces.  It's made to look like a comic book. 

The entire story takes place in the theme park.  I always like books that are set in a small area without a lot of traveling. This is that kind of story.

I greatly enjoyed nearly all of the book.  The last few pages are less interesting, since the book goes into the typical question and answer session, which is always used just to fill out the story to make it a complete book.  For instance, the boys ask the villain whose idea it was for a certain character to use a certain disguise.  Who cares whose idea it was?  That's just stupid.  The author was just filling pages.

This is an excellent book, except for the last few pages.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Best Place to Sell Your Books

Rather often, I get contacted by people who want to sell their books to me.  They want me to find a good home for the books without them having to go to any effort.  The books are always ordinary books not worth my time.  Others don't want me to buy the books, but rather, they want me to tell them how to sell the books so that the books can find a good home.  The majority of these messages include a comment stating that they do not wish to use eBay.

Then they are out of luck.

I have never told any of them that, but it's a shame that the single best method to use to help an old book find a good home is the one method that none of these people will consider.  Why is that?

I suspect that one reason is the bad press eBay has received over the years.  I wrote many posts about eBay in 2008 and 2009 expressing my frustration with eBay's many anti-seller changes.  During that time, eBay made a series of idiotic moves that heavily damaged sellers' ability to conduct business.  eBay has reversed all of those changes.  None of that is true now, and those posts are no longer relevant. 

Another reason people don't want to use eBay is that they have heard of others who have been defrauded on eBay.  You can actually avoid being defrauded if you take some simple steps to protect yourself.  If you buy on eBay, be cautious about what you buy and file a PayPal claim if you don't receive the item.  You will get your money back.

If you sell on eBay, follow the seller protection plan.  Always use eBay to generate the shipping label so that it contains delivery confirmation.  Always sell through one of your eBay listings and not through a private message, which is where buyers try to pull scams.  Never close an auction early at a buyer's request, because any buyer who asks for an auction to be closed early is pulling a scam.

As a buyer, I have had a few sellers defraud me, but this is only around five people out of thousands of transactions.  I received my money back in all but one transaction, which was one from 1997 or 1998 before eBay had a buyer protection plan.

As a seller, I have never been defrauded, because I follow eBay's seller protection plan. 

In short, eBay is a safe marketplace and is the best way to find buyers for your items.  Furthermore, books are the very safest item to sell on eBay.  Book collectors are much less likely to cause problems than buyers from most other categories.

Another reason some people don't like eBay is because they don't get good prices for their items.  That problem can be solved as well.  It's quite simple.  Don't use auctions.  You won't get a bidding war, and you'll sell your item too low to somebody who is buying to resell. 

I always used auctions on eBay from 1997 through late 2008.  Auctions were great through the summer of 2008.  In the fall of 2008, auctions began to fail.  Auctions for series books brought low prices, and most of my own listings did not sell.  If I remember right, each auction cost $0.30 to list at that time.  I had listed quite a few auctions in December 2008, and most of them did not sell.  I think I wasted around $6 to $10 in fees for nothing.  That was unacceptable and is why I opened my booth on Bonanzle (renamed Bonanza in September 2010).

I realized in December 2008 that my discomfort with fixed-price had caused me to keep running auctions on eBay for longer than I should have.  When I went to Bonanzle, I was forced to use fixed-priced only, but I was willing to try because Bonanzle was free.  I sold on Bonanzle/Bonanza for 4 1/2 years without using eBay at all for selling.  I became very comfortable with fixed-price during that time and became quite confident in my ability to price books correctly under that method.

As a side note, I want to mention that I never quit buying on eBay.  During the 4 1/2 years that I did not list items for sale on eBay, I bought steadily on eBay and at the same rate that I always had.  My home page in my Internet browser has been set to eBay's search page since 1997.  That should tell you something.  eBay is the best place to buy books.

In July 2013, I returned to selling on eBay in addition to continuing to sell on Bonanza.  The reason I opened the store on eBay is because sales were beginning to fail on Bonanza.  My Bonanza sales fell further immediately after I opened my eBay store and never recovered.  Apparently I had cannibalized my own Bonanza sales.  Still, Bonanza was failing, and even if I had not opened the eBay store, my Bonanza sales would eventually have vanished.

Being on Bonanza taught me how to use fixed-price listings to my advantage.  I learned about the importance of Google ranking.  I learned many things.  I also ended up exhausted by the process, since the site has poor Google ranking.  I don't have it in me to start over on another free site where I would have to bring the traffic in.  That's why I went with Etsy, a site that does have traffic.

Most important, my experience on Bonanza taught me that fixed-price is the only way to price collectible items.  As a buyer, I highly prefer auctions.  I prefer them because I get bargains.  And that's exactly the reason why as a seller I hate auctions.

Some of you continue to cling to the eBay auctions.  I understand, since that's where I was in late 2008.  It always worked before, and we want it to continue to work.  However, I would highly recommend that you consider switching to fixed-price.

First, you need to let go of the belief that you have to sell the item within a week or two.  Most of my fixed-price listings do sell.  It just takes some time.  It might take a few months.  If I'm in a hurry, then I gradually reduce the price each month until the listing sells.

Second, you have to get comfortable with pricing a fixed-price listing.  Let's say you have a copy of a book that is somewhat scarce.  You should first see if any are for sale on eBay and see how they are priced.  If there are any at a fixed price, then you will probably want to price yours slightly cheaper since theirs has not sold.  Next, look at sold listings.  The auctions are always low, so you want to price your book higher than all auctions that ended with a winning bid.

The price range for the listing should be between the highest auction price and the lowest unsold fixed-price listing.  That is, usually.  Condition matters, so the condition of your book as compared to the other books is the deciding factor.  If your book is nicer than the unsold fixed-price listing, then in some cases your book might need to be priced higher.  It all depends.

I have had great success with using this method of pricing.  Since I started using this method, I seldom have had books bought by others to resell.  In late 2008 when I was still using auctions, a large percent of my books were getting purchased for resale, which means the prices were too low.

I actually don't care if sellers buy my books to sell at a higher price.  However, I do want to get as much as I can for myself to fund my book habit.  As long as I use fixed-price and have set a fair price, then I am not concerned with who buys my items or why.

In conclusion, eBay is the overall very best place to buy and sell collectible books.  Amazon is the #1 shopping site in traffic while eBay is #2, but eBay holds the edge due to the ease with which anybody can list items for sale. 

If you have books to sell and want them to find a good home, use eBay.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hardy Boys #113 Radical Moves, #114 Counterfeit Criminals, and #115 Sports City

In Hardy Boys #113, Radical Moves, Joe has become a skateboarding enthusiast as Bayport gears up for its first annual Thrashathon skateboarding competition.  The Hardys befriend professional skateboarder Zack Michaels, who has been plagued by accidents.  It's clear that someone is sabotaging him, and Zack thinks someone is after his skateboard, which is a prototype.

After the boys begin helping Zack, they learn that he is guilty of theft, a theft that was blamed on another person.  It is kind of odd that the person the boys are helping is guilty of theft and even stranger that at first nothing is said about him taking responsibility for his actions.  I was uncomfortable as the Hardys continue to help Zack and don't talk to him about the theft.  I was relieved when the issue is finally addressed, and Zack apologizes and promises to make it right.

I enjoyed this book.

In Hardy Boys #114, The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals, Joe's expensive athletic shoe fails during a track meet.  When Frank and Joe go to the store to return the shoe, they find a group of angry customers who have defective shoes.  The boys discover that counterfeit shoes have been sold in a number of local stores.

I did not expect to like this book.  I did not enjoy the first few pages, and I did not like the cover art.  Why would I want to read a book that appears to be set in a shoe store with an ugly thug attacking the boys?

This is a case when a reader should not judge a book by its cover.  I greatly enjoyed this book.  The suspense built as I read, which is how a good book should be.

This is an excellent book.  It's a great whodunit.  It almost has too many characters, but it turned out fine.  The book is suspenseful almost to the very last page.

In Hardy Boys #115, Sabotage at Sports City, Frank, Joe, and Chet attend the Olympics.  They soon learn of a threat against the athletes.  Someone has sent warning messages that claim that 53 people will die during the games.  The boys investigate.

This book was published to coincide with the 1992 Summer Olympics, which were held in Barcelona.  In this book, the Hardys attend the Olympics in the United States.  Since the 1996 Olympics was held in Atlanta, Georgia, I decided that this book is probably set in Atlanta.  The text does state that the Hardys are 1000 miles from home, and Atlanta is 1000 miles from New York State, which is where Bayport is located in the Digest series.

What's really interesting is that this book was written four years before the Atlanta Olympics, and that the Atlanta Olympics ended up having a bombing that resulted in one direct fatality and over 100 injuries.  It's interesting that a book written four years before the real event included threats against the Olympics 

In this book, the Olympic athletes are told about the threat, and the athletes are told to keep quiet so that the press doesn't find out.  I find it really hard to believe that none of the athletes from any of the countries would tell the press.  This is improbable.

I guessed one of the culprits fairly early in the mystery, although I didn't know for sure.  The author did a great job in spreading out the suspicion in order to keep the reader guessing.  Even though I had guessed one of the culprits, I did not guess why the sabotage and threats were happening, and that part is surprising and interesting.

I greatly enjoyed this book.