Monday, September 4, 2017

Nancy Drew Collecting, Buying, and Selling Information

In the Facebook series book groups, quite a few members have mentioned their confusion while trying to collect vintage Nancy Drew books.  Others tell them to purchase Farah's Guide to the Nancy Drew series.  While Farah's Guide is a great resource, the best approach for beginning collectors is to utilize websites that have been created by Nancy Drew collectors.  An incredible amount of information is readily available online.  Later, Farah's Guide can be still purchased if one decides to be obsessive about collecting Nancy Drew.

Years ago, I created a website upon which I spent hundreds of hours designing pages to help those who do not own Farah's Guide and are confused about collecting.  Below you will find direct links to the most pertinent pages on the site.  Each page was designed to put the information all in front of you at the same time so that you could easily absorb it.  I am a high school teacher, and I used the same approach I use in the classroom when creating these pages.  Information needs to be easy to find and understand.

Nancy Drew Formats - This page shows you what all Nancy Drew books published by Grosset and Dunlap look like from 1930 to the present.  You can take any Nancy Drew book and quickly glance down through the page to get a good idea of how old the book is.  The outside of the book, the interior lists if present, and the endpapers will reveal the age of the book.  You can identify nearly all Nancy Drew books to within just a few years of the exact age by using this method, even when the dust jacket is not present.

Nancy Drew Original and Revised Text Books - This page explains how you can often quickly determine whether a Nancy Drew book contains the original or revised text from just the outside appearance of the book.  That knowledge makes searching online for original text books much easier, since you do not have to click on every single listing to make that determination.

Nancy Drew Values and Collecting Tips - Some of the information on this page is outdated since it was written in 2008.  However, much information is still quite useful and may help collectors who are just getting started.

Nancy Drew Picture Cover Editions - This page is one of my very favorite creations, and I fear that most people are unaware of its usefulness.  At first glance, the page appears to be a cover art gallery of Nancy Drew #1-56 in the picture cover editions. However, it is much more.  The page identifies whether every cover art contains the original text or the revised text.  That information is stated under each photo.  Most cover art variants contain only the original text or only the revised text.  By knowing which ones contain which version, you can quickly scroll online listings and know the text contained within each book without having to click on the listing or ask a seller a question.

I also have a blog, and you are reading a post in that blog right now.  I have a series of posts called "Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew" in which I mention common buyer questions about Nancy Drew listings.  The following links will take you to pages containing those posts.

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #1-2
Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #3-22
Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #23-40

The posts are listed in reverse order on the resulting pages from the above links, which is just how blogs are always displayed.  Scroll to the bottom of each page to read the posts in order from bottom to top.  These posts contain actual photos from online listings and show how you can determine age and value often by simply viewing the photos in the listings.

This blog also contains reviews of all Nancy Drew books from #1-175 plus reviews of many other vintage series books.  Scroll down the screen while viewing the right sidebar to see tags that will link to all of those posts.

In case you are not aware, my name is Jennifer White.  All of the above links are my sites.  Another Nancy Drew collector, Jennifer Fisher, is quite often confused with me. We each have Nancy Drew sites, but we are two completely different people.  

Jennifer Fisher also has a wealth of information available about Nancy Drew on her site.

Nancy Drew Sleuth - This link goes to the main page of Jennifer Fisher's Nancy Drew site.

Nancy Drew Formats - This link goes to Jennifer Fisher's formats page.

Around the World with Nancy Drew - If you are interested in collecting international editions of Nancy Drew books, Lea Fox's site will tell you everything you need to know.

Another frequent question that comes up on Facebook is how to find old Nancy Drew books.  Some collectors seem to be reluctant to purchase from sites such as eBay. Instead, they would rather purchase from local bookstores or from other collectors.

We do have two series book selling groups on Facebook.  Most of the members of these groups are people who have collections of vintage series books such as Nancy Drew.  If you want to purchase directly from other collectors, joining these groups is an excellent idea.

Sleuthing for Vintage Children's Series Books 
Series Book Swap & Sell

I find that the main people who have joined the above groups are the advanced collectors.  I offered some inexpensive original text picture cover editions in the first group linked above, and no one was interested.  Yet, in that same time period, members of a Nancy Drew group were commenting about their troubles with finding the original text books.  Why not join the selling groups so that you have access to those books when offered by members?

4 comments:

Amanda said...

Speaking as one of your many silent regular readers, I'm deeply grateful to you and to others who have helped to clarify this complicated field over the years. I'm sure it has helped many book buyers decide exactly where they want to spend their money!

There's only one tiny point that still puzzles me. Probably there's a simple answer to it in Farah or elsewhere in print, but I don't think I've seen it explained on the internet.

Some but not all of the early Nancy Drews were recopyrighted at various dates in the 1980s and 1990s. Certainly ##1-11, 16, 25-30, and 35-46 were recopyrighted; as far as I can see, most of the others weren't. The process seems to have stopped in 1997 (when ##16, 30, and 46 were done).

Does this mean that minor textual changes were made to those particular volumes at those dates? If so, what kinds of changes were they? (I think the page layout always stayed the same, so any changes must have involved only a few isolated words or phrases.)

If the texts remained exactly the same, surely Grosset & Dunlap would just have been spending money for nothing by buying new copyrights, especially after the US Copyright Act of 1992. Further, if the earlier copyrights were flawed and needed to be renewed for some purely technical reason, the company would have done the lot as a batch as promptly as possible—not 2 or 3 per year, which would leave all the remainder potentially vulnerable to piracy in the meantime.

Is there any information anywhere, either on the internet or in print, about minor textual changes to Nancy Drews in the 1980s and 1990s?

Amy Sisson said...

What a fun, useful post -- thank you!

I actually saw a Nancy Drew cover on your pic covers page that I've never seen anywhere else before, not even a graphic online. It's the revised-text-only "The Clue in the Old Album."

If I'm interpreting my (admittedly quick) look correctly, I gather only "Tolling Bell" and "Old Album" have three cover versions.

Thanks again for sharing!

Jennifer White said...

I don't have an answer for why some books were copyrighted again and others were not. There could be minor text changes, but no one has ever checked for them. The books would have to be scanned page by page and then compared to other versions in order to know for sure. Even with computer equipment, it would take a lot of work to figure out if anything was changed.

Amanda said...

Yes, it would be a nightmare. Even a tiny change to the cover is much easier to spot than a minor change to the text!