Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Boarded-Up House and The Sapphire Signet by Augusta Seaman

In The Boarded-Up House, Joyce and Cynthia are neighbors, separated only by an old boarded-up house.  The girls frequently play on the property.  When a neighbor's cat gets inside the basement, the girls follow it and explore the house.  They keep their exploration a secret and try to piece together the story of who the former occupants were and why they left.

The girls discover that the dining room table is set with dishes, and the chairs are awry.  A dinner party must have broken up abruptly, and the girls find partially packed trunks in an upstairs room.  Joyce and Cynthia speculate about what might have happened, and finally, they come up with an idea of how they might find out.

This book was published in 1915 and is set in 1905.

The story is quite simple but plausible and interesting to read.

In The Sapphire Signet, twins Bess and Jess have a sister, Margaret, who is stuck at home in her invalid chair due to a bad back.  Bess and Jess bring home a new girl from school, Corinne, who quickly becomes friends with Margaret.

Corinne loves antiques, so the twins take her up to the attic, where she discovers a journal hidden under the false bottom of a trunk.  The journal is written in code.  Margaret suggests that the girls form a secret society that is dedicated to uncovering the mystery.  Corinne cracks the code, and the girls spend hours deciphering the meaning of the journal.  After some research, the girls follow clues found in their own neighborhood as they search for the sapphire signet.

This book is fascinating because it seems impossible that the girls could track down the sapphire signet or the Bermuda family to which it belonged.  They only have the diary, which was found in two parts in different locations.  The original house no longer exists.  Nobody knows what happened to the girl.  I read quickly, wondering how this would all get pieced together.

The backstory has to do with the plot to kill George Washington.  So this story is kind of historical fiction.  I enjoyed this book.

Wide Variety of Series Books Listed on Etsy

I broke up more of my bulk lots on eBay and moved the books to individual listings on Etsy.  The price per book ends up a little higher, but the buyer is not forced to purchase all of the books. 

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

I have some May Hollis Barton books listed.  When I purchased my books a year ago, few good copies were available.  I had to purchase some books in really rough shape.  Since then, several collectors have let go of their sets, so I have been able to get better books.  Some of the books I purchased last year are now on Etsy.  The books are rough, but they are the copies I read, so I can confirm their readability.  The May Hollis Barton books are quite good and will appeal to readers who enjoy the Blythe Girls series.

I broke up my bulk lot of Hardy Boys Digest books in hardcover library bindings and now have the books listed on Etsy.  This is a great chance to acquire some of the books in hardcover bindings.  They are not easy to find.

I am allowed only 20 categories in my Etsy shop, so I have to combine some books together into more general categories.  Be sure to check the Old Boys' Series, Old Children's Series, and Old Girls' Series categories to see those books.

In addition to what I have already mentioned, I have listed vintage Scholastic editions, Tom Swift, Jr., Carolyn Wells, Lone Ranger, Hunniwell Boys, Golden Boys, Ranger Boys, and Capwell Wyckoff.

On Etsy, I have an active promotion effective during July 2018 for free shipping on orders of $35 or more. 

I also have books listed on eBay.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Friday, July 13, 2018

Introduction to Augusta Huiell Seaman

Most of us have probably seen the Scholastic Book Club editions of books by Augusta Huiell Seaman, including The Mystery of the Old Violin and The Riddle of the Lonely House.  I never gave them much thought, since I am not very interested in Scholastic editions.  In the last five years, several series book enthusiasts have mentioned the books of Augusta Huiell Seaman.  The books have been universally praised.

Many of Augusta Huiell Seaman's books do not look like the typical series book, so I ignored the praise at first.  By outward appearance, many of the books look like the average old fiction book written for adults.  By 2016, after reading more commentary, I realized that I should look into Augusta Seaman's books, but I still wasn't that motivated.

In June 2017, I finally read The Riddle of the Lonely House, which is one of the Scholastic reprints.  I enjoyed it and decided to begin purchasing Seaman's books.  I kept quiet about my plan, since I did not want anybody else to get started at the same time.

Here is a list of Augusta Seaman's mystery books for girls.

The Boarded-Up House, 1915*
The Sapphire Signet, 1916*
The Girl Next Door, 1917*
Three Sides of Paradise Green, 1918*
The Slipper Point Mystery, 1919*
The Crimson Patch, 1920*
The Dragon's Secret, 1921*
The Mystery at Number Six, 1922*
Tranquility House, 1923
Sally Simms Adventures It, 1924
The Edge of Raven Pool, 1924
Bluebonnet Bend, 1924
The Secret of Tate's Beach, 1926
The Adventure of the Seven Keyholes, 1926
The Shadow on the Dial, 1927
The Disappearance of Anne Shaw, 1928
A Book of Mysteries: Three Baffling Tales, 1929
The Charlemonte Crest: A Mystery of Modern Haiti, 1930
The Brass Keys of Kenwick, 1931
The House in Hidden Lane: Two Mysteries for Younger Girls, 1931
The Stars of Sabra, 1932
The Mystery of the Empty Room, 1933
Bitsy Finds the Clue: A Mystery of Williamsburg, Old and New, 1934
The Riddle at Live Oaks, 1934
The Figurehead of the 'Folly', 1935
The Strange Pettingill Puzzle: Two Mysteries for Boys and Girls, 1936
Voice in the Dark, 1937*
The Pine Barrens Mystery, 1937
The Vanderlyn Silhouette, 1938*
The Mystery at Linden Hall, 1939*
The Curious Affair at Heron Shoals, 1940*
The Missing Half, 1941*
The Case of the Calico Crab, 1942
The Mystery of the Folding Key, 1943*
The Half-Penny Adventure, 1945
The Mystery of the Other House, 1947
The Vanishing Octant Mystery, 1949

*These books, and possibly others, are in the public domain.  Many of them can be found online in free digital downloads.  Some of them are not on Project Gutenberg but can be found elsewhere.

Unfortunately, most of Augusta Seaman's books are extremely scarce and difficult to find.  Most books are expensive.  I started purchasing the more common books of the ones that are not in the public domain.  I held off on the books in the public domain, simply because most of those books are available for free online.  I also held off on the more scarce and expensive titles.

I read The Disappearance of Anne Shaw and The Charlemonte Crest: A Mystery of Modern Haiti, which were the first two books I purchased.  I enjoyed them as well.  Around the same time, I found Christine M. Volk's articles about Augusta Seaman.  These articles contain a wealth of information and are well worth reading.

Nancy Drew for Smart Kids: Mysteries by Augusta Huiell Seaman
Creating an Augusta Huiell Seaman Collection
Augusta Huiell Seaman Checklist

The articles took away my final reservations.  I decided to go for it, purchasing all books that I could find, whether in the public domain or not.  This endeavor required much careful searching, a good bit of luck, and a lot of money.  The scarcity of these books cannot be overstated.

Most amazing is that some of these books read just like the early Nancy Drew books, yet many were published in the 15 years before Nancy Drew debuted.  Think about what that means.  The typical girls' book of the 1910s only has the slightest hint of mystery, with the books detailing average life.  The publication of the first Nancy Drew book in 1930 is considered the beginning of the juvenile girls' mystery book genre.  However, girls' books had already been gradually changing towards mysteries during the previous two decades, and Augusta Huiell Seaman led the way.

In Augusta Seaman's books, teenage girls find hidden compartments in trunks, discover secret passageways, explore abandoned houses, find and decipher cryptograms, outsmart spies, find lost inheritances, and do everything that Nancy Drew would later do.

Augusta Seaman's books usually involve a mystery from the past that needs to be solved.  Sometimes the mystery is completely fictional, while other times the mystery is based on actual historical figures.  I typically did not enjoy the books that use historical figures quite as much, since I prefer for my fiction to be completely fictional.

Since the books tend to be expensive, I suggest sampling some of the books that are available online to see if they are appealing.  I recommend The Girl Next Door as a good one to try.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Ranger Boys #3 Border Smugglers, #4, Timber Thieves, and #5 Their Reward

In The Ranger Boys #3, The Ranger Boys and the Border Smugglers, Garry, Dick, and Phil are sent to the town of Hobart on the Canadian border to work undercover in search of smugglers.  The boys soon learn that their nemesis, Jean LeBlanc, is working with the smugglers, so the boys have a dangerous task ahead of them.

In this book, La Belle teaches readers how to make a lean-to and how to make stew.  La Belle also includes a complete biscuit recipe!

I enjoyed the inclusion of Ruth in the story, who is a strong female who likes adventure.

This is a very good to excellent story.

In the Ranger Boys #4, The Ranger Boys Outwit the Timber Thieves, Mr. Boone is having trouble with his timber business.  Equipment keeps breaking, and work is moving much slower than it should.  Garry, Dick, and Phil are sent to the lumber camp to try to figure out who is working against Mr. Boone.

I really like the setting of this story where the mystery and action occurs in and around a lumber camp.  I always enjoy books the most when the characters have adventures in a localized setting.

This is an excellent book.

In the Ranger Boys #5, The Ranger Boys and Their Reward, the boys return to Hobart to investigate who keeps stealing checks out of the mail.  Meanwhile, Ruth and her father receive threatening messages, and the boys soon realize that both cases are connected.  Before the case is solved, the boys will have one last showdown against their arch enemy, Jean LeBlanc.

On page 63, a man insults the boys by calling them a "parcel o' dime novel reading boys."

I enjoyed the inclusion of Ruth in a couple of the books in the series.  Unfortunately, the author makes a sexist statement on page 176.  "Ruth let him free her, and then stood erect for a moment, and being only a girl, dropped over in a dead faint."  Ugh.

This book ties up a few loose ends from the beginning of the first story.  One of those loose ends was something mentioned at the very start of the first book that I had forgotten and didn't think about as I read through the series.

This is an excellent story.

The entire Ranger Boys series is set in the state of Maine.  The boys are in Maine for the entire duration of the series except for when they briefly cross the border into Canada.

This is an excellent series, and I greatly enjoyed reading the books.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Books Listed on Etsy and eBay Observations

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

My enthusiasm for Etsy is increasing.  I have risked listing some scarce books and books that have not typically been known to do well on Etsy.  Enough have sold that I feel comfortable further increasing the number of listings that I have on Etsy.  I now have more listings on Etsy than on eBay.

I do believe that something is wrong on eBay.  I feel like my eBay listings are mostly stagnant.  I continue to lower the prices of bulk lots, and it's like they are invisible.  I have ended two more bulk lots and moved many of those books to Etsy.  When I do this, the price per book goes up, but buyers are able to purchase the books individually at what is still a reasonable price.

I have written recently of some irritating eBay changes.  Another one is how eBay has changed the manner in which feedback is left.  The new process takes more time than the old process.  I have to submit every feedback individually and wait for it to save instead of filling out all of them before submitting.  Even worse, on the new page the transactions are listed in a somewhat random order.  I prefer for my transactions to be listed chronologically instead of randomly.  Exactly who has eBay set loose in programming and design?

Since the eBay interface has become significantly harder to use in the last few months, I suspect that eBay has also tampered with Best Match search and has probably made items harder to find.  This does not affect me as a buyer since I always change the sort to newest first or ending first.  However, buyers who are not aware of eBay's many problems are likely missing out on great purchases.  This is why I believe my eBay sales have plummeted.

My sales on Etsy have been higher in the last two weeks than my eBay sales.  I have a promotion for free shipping on Etsy orders of $35 or more.  I am getting some good results from that promotion.  It's also helping tremendously that I have increased my Etsy listings and have listed many harder to find books on Etsy.  I will continue to do so.  I expect to list additional books on Etsy in the next few days.

One drawback on Etsy is that I am allowed only 20 categories in my shop.  Since this is too limiting, I am having to place some books in general categories.  I have created three categories for general children's, girls', and boys' books.  Make sure you check those categories since I cannot give an individual category to every series.

I have recently listed some books by Capwell Wyckoff and L. P. Wyman.  I have also listed many Hardy Boys picture covers and Hardy Boys Digest library editions.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Ranger Boys #1 Rescue and #2 Find the Hermit

The Ranger Boys series was written by Claude A. La Belle and was published by A. L. Burt.

1.  The Ranger Boys to the Rescue, 1922
2.  The Ranger Boys Find the Hermit, 1922
3.  The Ranger Boys and the Border Smugglers, 1922
4.  The Ranger Boys Outwit the Timber Thieves, 1922
5.  The Ranger Boys and Their Reward, 1922

These books are scarce but not anywhere near as scarce as the Bailey Twins series.  These books were printed years before the Bailey Twins books, so these books went through more printings.

In the Ranger Boys #1, The Ranger Boys to the Rescue, Garry Boone and Dick Wallace plan to attend a military academy in the fall.  Their friend, Phil Durant, cannot afford military school, so the chums will be separated.  In the meantime, Mr. Boone hires the three boys as rangers to watch over his vast property in the woods of Maine.  The boys' job is to watch for wildfires, but they soon have to watch for Jean LeBlanc, who is a criminal.

This book sets the stage for the rest of the series.  It is a good to very good book, but the rest of the set is even better.

In the Ranger Boys #2, The Ranger Boys Find the Hermit, Garry, Dick, and Phil must again watch for Jean LeBlanc, who has escaped from jail and now seeks revenge against the boys.  The boys also look for their hermit friend who continues to leave them cryptic notes.

Over the years, people who have disapproved of series books have always stated that series books are not worth reading and have little of substance in them.  Those people never read any of the Ranger Boys books.  La Belle made these books educational and in a way that is very interesting.  In this book, La Belle teaches readers how to build a log cabin, how to make a fireplace out of a barrel, and how to climb a tree with the use of a wire loop.

This is a very good book.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Declining Interest in Nancy Drew and Collector Negativity

Our series book collecting hobby is in a decline, and unfortunately, Nancy Drew is leading the way.  Within five to 10 years, the hobby will be in deep decline unless a rejuvenation of interest occurs.

Significant drop in traffic to Nancy Drew website page

I am more aware of the decline than others because I sell series books.  Series books have become harder and harder to sell.  In my current inventory, the only series that are not hard to sell are Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, the Dana Girls, the Three Investigators, and possibly Trixie Belden.  Of those five series, the Three Investigators series is the only one where values have held fairly steady.  The other four have decreased in value and continue to decrease.  Almost all series outside of these five have decreased sharply in value, and some series are now impossible to sell.

The popularity of the major series is what guides people into collecting the minor series.  The reason that minor series no longer sell is because fewer people are collecting the major series.  I did not realize how interest in Nancy Drew has declined until I viewed the website traffic.  Since interest in Nancy Drew has decreased, interest in all other series will also decrease.

This concerns and saddens me.  We need something to revitalize interest in series books, something that will bring new collectors into our hobby.  We need something like... a movie.

And amazingly, unbelievably, a Nancy Drew movie is currently being filmed.

The movie came out of nowhere.  When I first heard about it, I didn't give it much thought because most projects don't come to fruition.  Then confirmation came that the movie was in production and being filmed.  Say what?!  So you would think that fans would be thrilled, right?  After all, this is what we need.  

But no, fans are criticizing the movie based solely on the actress' physical traits and manner of dress.  This bothers me.  We have what we need in the works, because a new Nancy Drew movie will advertise our hobby for us.  However, fans do not appreciate what the movie will do for Nancy Drew.  Instead, they complain that this Nancy Drew is not their Nancy Drew, but nobody has read the script!  For all we know, this might end up being an accurate portrayal of Nancy Drew with an excellent story.

Collectors got riled up over Sophia Lillis' publicity photo, which appears in the news releases about the movie.  Her hair isn't blonde, and her hair is short.  First off, the photo is the actress herself, so fans criticize the actress for how she looks in real life.  That has nothing to do with the movie and is also a bit rude.  It has been confirmed that Nancy Drew's hair will be short in the movie, but even so, we should not judge an entire movie that we have not yet seen on such a superficial feature.

A photo was seen of Nancy Drew skateboarding in the movie.  This was also declared inappropriate by fans.  I'm not sure how it would be wrong for a movie set in the present day to depict Nancy Drew on a skateboard.  Nancy Drew has been pictured in similar activities on the covers of some books, like The Door-to-Door Deception, which was way back in 1997.

The movie is based on The Hidden Staircase, which is one of the excellent early Nancy Drew books.  Sophia Lillis is sixteen, the exact age that Nancy was in 1930 in that same book.  This is a win right here and much better than the bizarre idea that CBS had for a Nancy Drew television series.  In that series, Nancy would have been in her thirties and struggling because Bess was either murdered or committed suicide.

Nancy Drew must have only the following traits.
  • She must be young.
  • She must be strong and determined.
  • She must be interested in solving mysteries.
  • She must be good at solving mysteries.
Nothing else matters.  I did not like the idea of the CBS series because Nancy was not going to be young.  That was the deal-breaker for me.  I don't want an older Nancy Drew who has problems.  So long as Nancy is young, strong, and good at solving mysteries, I'll take her.  I do not care what race she or her friends are, what color her hair is, how she dresses, or what kind of activities she enjoys.

In one of the threads where the movie was being criticized, a couple of us began defending it.  I wrote the following statement.
No matter how Nancy is portrayed, she won't match anyone's mental picture of her.  This is because we are Nancy when we read the books.  A movie cannot do that.  The Nancy Drew games do, which is why they have been so successful.

I see this production as positive.  It will get Nancy Drew's name out in front of people again. It will keep Nancy Drew from being forgotten for just a little longer.  Nancy Drew is in danger of being forgotten, in case you haven't realized that.  In order for Nancy Drew to remain viable, the franchise needs publicity.  This movie will do just that.  We might even get some cool collectibles.  Wouldn't that be grand?

Let's not pick this apart.  We haven't seen it yet!  This movie will remind people of how much they loved Nancy Drew as a child.  People will join this group.  We will make new friends!  This is going to be good.  I'm kind of excited.
I noted that of the 13 people who reacted positively to my comment, none of them were the complainers.  It disappoints me that many Nancy Drew fans would rather have nothing than have a project that will breathe new life into the franchise.

Of course, the problem is that fans want a movie set in 1930 where Nancy Drew looks exactly like Russell Tandy's cover art and acts exactly like the Nancy Drew written by Mildred Wirt Benson.  Anything other than that is never going to be good enough.  The problem is that a modern movie will be aimed at current children and teenagers, since the movie studios will not make enough money on a movie aimed at older Nancy Drew collectors.

Here is a statement I wrote on another thread that was full of negativity about the movie.
Nancy Drew has always been a contemporary series, and for that reason, any movie will be contemporary.  It is only the collectors, like us, who don't see Nancy Drew as contemporary.  Today's girls, even if reading the Grosset and Dunlap books, probably picture Nancy as modern.  Even when I read books from 100 years ago, I don't picture the characters in the way the author intended.  My mental picture has modern characteristics, because that's my point of reference.
That comment was ignored.

Let's fast-forward to next year and consider what will happen after the movie is released.  The Nancy Drew fans will be busy in the Facebook groups complaining endlessly about how horrible everything about the movie is.  Meanwhile, some (hopefully many!) young people will love the movie and will decide to join the Nancy Drew Book Fans group on Facebook.  What will they think when they join the group and read endless negative comments about the movie?  I wouldn't be surprised if they leave the group.

We could be driving away future Nancy Drew collectors with the negativity, and we desperately need young people to join the hobby.

In light of how important the upcoming Nancy Drew movie is to Nancy Drew's continuing longevity, I hope that collectors will consider making fewer negative comments about the project in the Facebook groups.  Certainly, many collectors will not be interested in the movie or will not like it, which is fine.  However, consider softening some of those comments, or perhaps not make the complaints in the groups.  A person's own Facebook profile page is the perfect place to air complaints about a project.

Members of Facebook groups exhibit crowd behavior.  When one member makes a strong statement, especially a strong negative statement, other members immediately agree with the statement and take it even further.  The negativity then builds, becoming worse and worse.  I fear that this will happen when the movie is released next summer, and the result will be disastrous.  We will cause the movie not to bring in the new fans that are sorely needed in our hobby.

We have exactly what we need in the works to keep our hobby going just a little longer.  Nancy Drew is contemporary, and that will never change.  The year is 2018, and Nancy Drew is 16 years old.  She's hip and modern, and she's not going to be driving an old roadster.

When young people watch Nancy Drew in theaters, they'll think about how much they enjoyed reading the books when they were young.  Some of them will start collecting the books.  Those books might be the modern softcover books or might be the Grosset and Dunlap editions.  Regardless, we will make new friends, so long as we don't let negativity take control.  Let's not blow this great opportunity.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Bailey Twins #3 Summer Camp, #4 Philippines, and #5 Secret Code

In the Bailey Twins #3, The Bailey Twins at Summer Camp, the Farnham Hall cadets attend summer camp on an island in the middle of a lake.  The Bailey Twins pull a man out of quicksand, and he gives them a password, "Potomac."  The boys are never to help anyone unless given the password.  Later, the boys learn about a group of men who are hiding out nearby.  Seeley and his cronies continue to cause trouble for the Baileys, and when the boys learn more about the plot of the men hiding nearby, Seeley thwarts their plans.

I skimmed the swimming competition since I never find lengthy descriptions of sporting events to be interesting.

Page 50 has an appalling scene where Ted greets an Indian with "How?" and the Indian replies, "Ugh."  The two continue to speak to each other in guttural tones as Ted takes the Indian to Captain Brooks' tent.  The author redeems himself later when the Indian comes out of the tent and states, "Ah, Captain, indubitably these young gentlemen have assiduously perused numerous paperbound volumes purporting to describe Indian life and customs in the old wild and woolly west.  Their greeting was quite in the best tradition of Young Bill, the Terror of the Western Plains."

Ouch.  During the rest of the book, the Indian continues to greet Ted with "Ugh" in order to make fun of him.  Ted is said to be embarrassed each time this happens, so Ted ends up getting what he deserves.

This is a very good book.

In the Bailey Twins #4, The Bailey Twins in the Philippines, Fred's uncle in Manila has passed away.  Fred needs a guardian, so Mr. Bailey and the lawyer agree to share the duty.  The Bailey family travels to Manila with Fred.  Tom Fernald joins the Baileys during their trip.  Fernald plans to dive for a ship that was wrecked in the Philippines.

The Bailey Twins made an enemy of Ah Quon during their adventure at summer camp, and Ah Quon follows them to the Philippines.  The boys must use all of their wits to avoid being captured by Ah Quon.

This book is very interesting at first, but gradually the travelogue aspect takes over too much of the story.  By two-thirds of the way through the book, I felt that the book consisted almost entirely of explanation and information.  I felt the story had slowed almost to a stop, and I was quite bored.  I skimmed and skipped over the last one-third of the story.

In the Bailey Twins #5, The Bailey Twins and the Secret Code, the Bailey Twins prepare to sail home from the Philippines.  They plan to tour Japan, but they soon find trouble.

This book starts out okay, then I encountered a lengthy legend.  I was already bored from the slow pace of the previous volume, so I had little patience.  This book contains a very detailed description of shooting the rapids in a canoe and a detailed explanation of jiu jitsu in addition to detailed explanations of other topics.  I ended up skimming or skipping over a large portion of the story.

This is a good book for people who love travelogues and lengthy explanations, but it did not do much for me.

The first three books in the Bailey Twins series are quite good and stand up well against most other series books.  I do not care for the last two books in the set, although some series book enthusiasts might find the travelogues to be quite interesting.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Bailey Twins #1 Farnham Hall and #2 Farnham Cadet Corps

The Bailey Twins series was written by Claude A. La Belle and was published by A. L. Burt.

1.  The Bailey Twins at Farnham Hall, 1930
2.  The Bailey Twins and the Farnham Cadet Corps, 1930
3.  The Bailey Twins at Summer Camp, 1930
4.  The Bailey Twins in the Philippines, 1930
5.  The Bailey Twins and the Secret Code, 1930

Four years ago, I saw Bailey Twins #3, 4, and 5 in a used bookstore.  The books were priced at $10 each.  That might seem high, but I had never heard of the Bailey Twins series and knew that many A. L. Burt books are quite scarce.  I purchased the books, intending to try them eventually.  Some months later, I found Bailey Twins #1 locally for $2.

It took me until 2017 to get around to reading the first book.  I enjoyed it and was fortunate to find #2 online at a reasonable price.  I was very fortunate, since all other copies of all of the books were priced high.  So for those who might think that $10 each was a high price to pay in a store, just check the online listings for the Bailey Twins.  The books are not worth what sellers are asking for them since very few people want the books, but at the same time, $10 is below value and is quite a reasonable price.

In the Bailey Twins #1, The Bailey Twins at Farnham Hall, Bob and Ted Bailey begin their first term at Farnham Hall in New Hampshire.  The boys are identical twins and dress exactly alike.  They enjoy playing tricks on others with their identical appearance.

Soon after the twins arrive at school, they make an enemy out of John March.  March is the head of a secret society known as the Black Knights.  The Bailey Twins manage to bring down the Black Knights, and the secret society is ordered to disband.

On page 40, the author notes that the twins have many housemates, but the reader will be introduced to them gradually as they become important.  Wise move!  Some authors make the mistake of throwing out lots of names at the reader all at once, which causes information overload.

On page 67, Bob sets the Black Knights' cabin on fire as a distraction so that he and Ted can escape.  They lock the Black Knights in and drive the Black Knights' cars back to the school.  This surprised me, since all of the Black Knights could have died in the fire if they had not escaped.  Of course the Black Knights survive, but the twins would have been guilty of homicide if the other boys had not escaped.

Since I first read the book last year, I had to read it again in order to refresh my memory before reading the rest of the set.  The second time I read this book, I skipped all the athletic competitions and the hunting scene.  Those parts do not interest me.  Aside from those passages, this is a very good book.

In the Bailey Twins #2, The Bailey Twins and the Farnham Cadet Corps, Farnham Hall has been turned into a military school.  Meanwhile, the Black Knights society has been resurrected with a new leader, Seeley.  Seeley first gets one of the Baileys' closest friends to turn against them, then Bob is cheated out of winning the position of major of the cadet battalion.  The boys also learn that John March is still around and is the cause of much of the trouble.

This book is absorbing from the start and is very engaging.  I did have to skim or skip several athletic competitions, simply because they were too detailed for me.  Otherwise, this is a very good book.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Declining Interest in Series Books and Especially Nancy Drew

I recently stated that I believe that interest in series books is on the decline.  I see less interest in the books I sell, and I must price them lower and lower to get them to sell.

I looked at the traffic statistics to series-books.com for the last 10 years.  I took screen captures of the graphs of total monthly traffic to the main page of the site and to some of the major series sections.  Some sections were added to the site years later, which is why some graphs show nothing towards the left side.  Click on any image to see a larger version.

Main Page of Series-Books.com

Nancy Drew Section

The main page of the Nancy Drew section has had a sharper drop in traffic than any other page on the site.  This actually surprised me, especially the drop that has occurred in the last six to seven months.  Look at the right edge of the graph.  This is deeply concerning.  I have been correct to be worried about the future longevity of Nancy Drew.

I find it curious that the drop in interest began at about the time that the Nancy Drew Diaries series debuted.  In my opinion, the mismanagement of the Nancy Drew Diaries has damaged the Nancy Drew franchise.  The last new Nancy Drew game was released in 2015, and the lack of new games has also caused a decrease in interest in Nancy Drew.

Beverly Gray Section

Cherry Ames Section

Connie Blair Section

Dana Girls Section

Page with List of Nancy Drew Titles

People still need to look at lists of Nancy Drew titles, so this page has not seen a sharp drop.


Judy Bolton Section

Kay Tracey Section

Nancy Drew Formats Page

People are still selling vintage Nancy Drew books, so the formats page is still popular.


Nancy Drew Picture Covers #1-56

Nancy Drew Dust Jackets

Penny Parker Section

Three Investigators Section

Trixie Belden Section

Nancy Drew Values

People are continuing to sell Nancy Drew books, so they are still looking for information about value.


Vicki Barr Section

Most of these images show a decline in traffic, which implies a decrease in interest in series books.

I also checked on this blog, which is the blog you are reading right now, which at first glance appears to show a different trend.

Series-Books.Blogspot.com

Two to three new posts are added to the blog each week.  The blog currently has just under 1,800 posts.  As the number of posts continues to increase, the total traffic to the blog should also continue to increase.  Notice that the current blog traffic is actually not much different than it has been for years, yet the blog has far more posts than it did years ago.  This also implies an overall decrease in traffic and interest in series books.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

More Books Listed and More eBay Grievances

I have increased the number of listings in my Etsy shop to where I have as many listings as on eBay.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

I have listed some really good books on Etsy, including some high-numbered Rick Brant books.  I have a nice variety of Nancy Drew international editions and many nice Dana Girls and Cherry Ames picture cover books. 

I also have some books that I have been trying to sell for several years, but for some inexplicable reason, nobody will purchase them.  Why will nobody purchase desirable first printing Judy Bolton books?  This is in part why I have grave concern that our hobby is dying.  The lack of interest in nice books, even when priced low, is shocking.

I have four first printing Judy Bolton books.  Originally, they were listed on Etsy at around $50 to $60 each.  I decided to try them on eBay after some months with no success. I changed to a bulk lot of four books on eBay and kept reducing the price all the way down to $44.99, which is too low.  The books should be worth $35 or more each, even in the current market.

I went back to my original Etsy listings but lowered the prices to $19.99 for three of the books and to $14.99 for the remaining book.  I hope the Judy Bolton books find a home, because they are nice books. 

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

I need to move some books out.  I have many bulk lots, and I recently reduced the prices of some of them yet again.  The lack of interest is quite disturbing.

I have two Augusta Seaman books on eBay that might sell once my reviews start. 

Look at the lovely Norwegian Connie Blair book seen at the right, which is up for sale on eBay.  It is extremely hard and typically expensive to find Norwegian series books.  I have this extra because of a purchase made in 2015.  I do not understand why nobody will purchase it.  I have raised and lowered the price back and forth several times, but it stays unsold and unloved.  The interest is no longer there.  It's a shame.

I have some May Hollis Barton books in a bulk lot on eBay.  The books are in rough shape, but they are quite readable.  They are great stories!  The books need a home.

As always, I have a large variety of different series books listed on both sites. 

Now for my eBay grievances, which is probably why you made it this far.  eBay is now also annoying me as a buyer.  I get eBay Bucks for my purchases.  I just noticed a message in my eBay messages about an offer to get 8% back on eBay purchases for two days only, starting June 26.  Argh!  I made a big purchase on June 26.  But, because I did not activate the offer two days ago since I did not know about it, I only received the usual 1% back.

Why does eBay only send the offer through its own message system instead of also to the buyer's personal email?  I would have known about the offer if it had been sent to my email.  It's like eBay didn't want everyone to get the offer, but then isn't that counterproductive?  The point of the offer is to increase sales, but sales will not increase when buyers do not know about the offer.

eBay is so inept.

My other grievance is that eBay is removing the ability of people to see sold listings almost immediately.  The sold listings still show in search, but when someone clicks on the sold listing, eBay informs them that the listing is no longer available.  Instead of showing the listing, eBay helpfully shows one that is currently for sale.

@#$&*&*(%^$!!!!

I used sold listings to get an idea of how to price listings.  The condition matters, which is why I want to see the listing.  I can't do that with this latest nonsense. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Mercer Boys #9 Air Cadets and #10 Steamboat Riddle

In the Mercer Boys #9, The Mercer Boys with the Air Cadets, the Mercers recently graduated from Woodcrest Military Institute and wish their time at the school was not over.  The boys receive a letter from the colonel that informs them of the new flying course that is open to graduates of the school.  Don, Jim, and Terry immediately sign up for the course.

Back at Woodcrest, the boys find their instructor, Sergeant Crispy, to be very difficult.  Crispy takes a strong disliking to the Mercers and their friends.  Meanwhile, the boys learn about the Hawk's Nest, the hideout of a group of outlaws based in the vicinity of Woodcrest.  The outlaws wish to destroy Woodcrest's flight school, so the boys take turns guarding the planes while they seek out clues.

I enjoyed this passage from page 11.
"Look how the automobile opened up this country and revolutionized modern living.  You can go anywhere on good motor highways.  Air lanes are going to make it unnecessary to build roads and all that sort of thing and all important traveling in the future will be that way.  Think what flying will do to bring the whole world together."
This book was published in 1932, long before commercial flight became common.  The above passage is prescient, accurate in most of its predictions.  Wyckoff was only wrong about how it would be unnecessary to build roads.  Roads are still quite important 86 years after this book was published.

This is an excellent book.

In the Mercer Boys #10, The Mercer Boys and the Steamboat Riddle, the Mercers and Terry visit Vench on his family's farm in Kentucky.  Soon after the boys' arrival, their horses are stolen, and they are left stranded in an old mill during a storm.  Once the boys finally arrive at Vench's farm. they learn that the locals are quite superstitious.  The superstition has been fueled by sightings of devils and mysterious figures dressed as Robin Hood and pirates.  The boys see someone dressed as a cat, and the man accidentally leaves the head behind, which came from a professional costume made many years before.

The boys learn that a group of men is searching for the loot from a bank robbery.  Meanwhile, three old steamboats rest abandoned in the nearby river, and mysterious figures are seen roaming on the steamboats at night.  As the boys investigate, some of them are captured by the outlaws.

Plot elements of this story loosely remind me of the Nancy Drew book, The Haunted Showboat.  The stories are completely different but do share some commonality.  Some examples are the people in masquerade, singing heard at night on the river, and a man on the steamboat acting out the role of captain.  The Haunted Showboat ends with a Mardi Gras parade, and this book has a parade of sorts near the end when the steamboats float away in a flood.

This is an excellent story.

The Mercer Boys series is excellent.  I am so glad that I was able to purchase all 10 books.  They are well worth reading.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Outboard Boys #3 Pirate Beach and #4 Shark River

In the Outboard Boys #3, The Outboard Boys at Pirate Beach, the boys sell their boat and purchase a houseboat.  When an acqaintance, Mr. Stevens, is abducted, the boys set out in the houseboat to find him. The boys cross paths with the suspected culprits, and they themselves get captured as well.  Meanwhile, a crazy man roams around in the area, and the boys' houseboat is said to be haunted. Indeed, the boys hear a strange wailing sound and cannot identify the source.

The wailing sound in the houseboat is quite mysterious and intriguing.

The boys end up getting captured with two of them in the culprits' boat and one in the houseboat with one of the culprits.  Warren tricks his captor into singing in order to distract him.  This is hilarious.

Lewisson is the man who is crazy.  His behavior is amazingly entertaining and is also plausible.  Mental illness ran in the Garis family, so Roger Garis was quite capable of pulling it off.  I have read Leslie Garis' book, The House of Happy Endings, and it is apparent that Roger Garis himself suffered from mental illness.

This book is quite entertaining and is my favorite book in the set.

In the Outboard Boys #4, The Outboard Boys at Shark River, the Outboard Boys decide to purchase a racing boat.  They rescue a racer, and he helps them get the boat.  Jake Lawson also plans to compete in the boat races.  A man named Max Reba offers to help train the boys.  Max offers a lot of good advice, and it's clear that he is knowledgeable about racing. On one trial run, the boys figure out that Reba is trying to sabotage their boat.  They cut ties with Reba, and Reba begins training Jake Lawson.

While preparing for the races, the boys also investigate mysterious events in an old building.

This is my least favorite of the four books.  I was bored towards the end of the story and skimmed the last several chapters.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

eBay Problems and Seller Dissatisfaction

I am very annoyed with eBay right now.  I am also frustrated and angry.  The eBay site has been riddled with glitches for at least the past month.  On June 13, I had trouble purchasing an item due to a glitch.  On that same day, I could not view my own listings due to another glitch.

eBay has a promotions manager for eBay stores.  It's supposed to work, but it often doesn't work.  I have heard that the promotions manager works great for high volume sellers but not for people like me.

I have sometimes had to edit and launch a promotion five or more times before I could actually get it to appear in my store.  This has caused me to waste a large amount of time.

Sales are down.  It's not just me.  Many sellers are reporting lower sales, and some sellers believe that their items are being hidden.  I actually think our hobby is dying, but that's a discussion for another day.

Today I tried to launch a promotion.  The promotion was not visible, and I tried multiple times, changing the terms of each successive failed offer.  I finally scrolled around far enough to see that the promotion actually was listed, but way at the bottom of the item page where nobody would ever see it.  That's it.  eBay has now made me angry.  What is the point of a promotion that no one will ever see?  The promotions used to show at the top of the page.  Why move it to the bottom?

That aside, this would be salvageable if the offer were to actually show in eBay search like it always has in the past.  Of course it doesn't!

I ran a search for the Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Wooden Lady, so that I could view one of my listings in the search results.


I have highlighted the visible promotion from the high volume seller.  My listing is underneath with no visible promotion.  Every previous promotion I have ever done has shown in search.  This is unacceptable.

The "FAST 'N FREE" does show, but that is only because I am in the same zip code as my listing and would receive the item fast if it were to be shipped to me.  eBay is so stupid.

The only reason I am messing with eBay this weekend is because I have a store subscription and need to use the rest of my allotted listings for the month.  If I could get sales on Etsy to pick up more, then I would consider leaving eBay again like I did in 2009 when I went to Bonanza.  I believe my eBay store subscription expires at the end of August, so I need to do some serious thinking about whether to continue.

I do have one funny story to tell about the mess from today.  I have been in the "new" eBay store experience for quite some time, and I wanted to revert back to the old store awhile back but eBay wouldn't let me.  I thought that the old storefront had been removed.

I decided to check again today, since I recalled that the old storefront was more compact.  I have never understood why sites spread information further apart when they update, causing much less to show on the screen.  So I went into my store settings and saw the link to revert to the old storefront.  I decided to try again and was absolutely dumbfounded that it worked.  I am speechless.  Wow.

Here's the deal.  Not only do I have my old storefront back, but I also have my old pages back that give links to this blog and my website.  I thought that eBay was supposed to delete those.  I don't think I am supposed to have them anymore, but they are still there and in the old storefront that eBay let me revert back to today.  I am still speechless.

The promotion still shows at the very bottom of the listing pages.  However, the old storefront is more compact, so buyers are somewhat more likely to see the promotion.  I am going to keep the old storefront for now.  I doubt that eBay will leave it that long, since they are getting rid of all the old storefronts.

My promotion, the third and final variant I tried today, is for buying one book and getting the second book at 20% off.  I don't know how long I will leave the promotion, so take advantage of it while it lasts.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay via the Old Storefront

I am putting much more effort into Etsy.  Keep in mind that several other prominent series book collectors are also listing on Etsy.  You should make it one of the places you check when you look for books.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

I have recently listed many Cherry Ames and Rick Brant books.  I have also listed many Nancy Drew international editions and will be listing more of them.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Mercer Boys #7 First Classmen and #8 Indian Gold

In the Mercer Boys #7, The Mercer Boys as First Classmen, the Mercers and their friends begin their final year at Woodcrest.  After a football game, Don overhears a strange conversation about whether a man has well water.  He recalls the conversation later after the city's water supply is jeopardized when the dam is blown up.  Don and his friends search for the men who had the conversation as more acts of sabotage occur.

This book is not compelling.  I didn't care about whether the dynamiter was ever caught, since the acts of sabotage never cause any real damage.  Nobody's home or business gets flooded badly, and nobody goes without water for very long.  It never mattered at all to me.

It's silly how one or more of the boys get locked up by the culprits three different times during the story.  The plot truly does go in circles.

This is still a good book, but it is nowhere near as interesting as the other books in the series.

In the Mercer Boys #8, The Mercer Boys and the Indian Gold, Dr. Morgan is seeking the lost treasure vault of the Ozarks.  In the days of the Spanish expeditions, the Spanish took over the Indian mines in the Ozarks.  The mines contained a central storage area, a vault full of priceless gold treasure.  When the Spaniards learned that the French were entering the Mississippi valley, the treasure vault was sealed.  Nobody knows the present location.  One man had clues, but he is believed to be deceased.  Dr. Morgan was told the clues before the man's death, and Dr. Morgan plans to search for the vault.  Don, Jim, and Terry join Professor Scott and Dr. Morgan on a treasure hunt in the Ozarks.

Gaither Mountain is mentioned in this story, and one of Capwell Wyckoff's stand-alone books is titled The Mystery of Gaither Cove, which is set at Gaither Mountain.

I find it fascinating how modern these old books sound at times.  In this passage on page 157, Terry's usage of "cool" doesn't sound odd to a modern reader until he explains the context to Jim.  He sounds ahead of the times when he first uses the word.
"He may be some special friend of Ralph Plumley's," Terry observed.  "Anyway, he's something of a shady doctor, and they are engaged in a shady game.  So the whole thing ought to be cool!  See the point, Jim?"

"No!" said Jim coldly.  "I don't see any point."

"Shady doctor, shady game, the whole propsition is a cool one!  In the hot summer time people go in the shade to get cool, see! So—"

"Any joke that has to be explained as elaborately as that one is a total failure," said Jim, crushingly.
This is an excellent book.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Outboard Boys #1 Mystery Island and #2 Shadow Lake

Roger Garis was the son of prolific series book writer Howard Garis.  Roger was also a writer and even published his own magazine for a time.  Roger wrote the Outboard Boys series which was published by A. L. Burt.  Some Burt advertisements refer to the series as the Outboard Motor Boys series.

1.  The Outboard Boys at Mystery Island, 1933
2.  The Outboard Boys at Shadow Lake, 1933
3.  The Outboard Boys at Pirate Beach, 1933
4.  The Outboard Boys at Shark River, 1934

The original Burt books are quite scarce.  Modern reprints are available for purchase at Lulu.com.  Additionally, the text of the books can be found available online for free via online searches.

In Outboard Boys #1, The Outboard Boys at Mystery Island, Terry Blondel, Warren Finn, and Martin Hazzard decide to purchase a boat.  They would also like to purchase an outboard motor for the boat, but they do not have enough money.  The boys learn about an essay contest where the winner will receive an outboard motor.  Martin wins the contest, and the boys get their boat ready.

The boys decide to explore Mystery Island, which is an island that attracts lightning due to a heavy content of metal ore.  Unfortunately, the boys' enemy, Jake Lawson, is staying on the island with a man who acts crazy.  Soon, the boys learn that the man is at the center of a mystery, and they work on solving it.

The book starts out a bit slow, but then it gets good.

The size of the island as compared to the lake confused me.  The lake is large and is said to be around five miles wide.  Many islands are scattered all over the lake. Mystery Island is said to be five to six miles wide. The island sounds like it is about as big as the lake!

In Outboard Boys #2, The Outboard Boys at Shadow Lake, the boys learn about Shadow Lake, which is said to be haunted and contains some kind of large creature.  While at a circus, the boys learn that the circus wants to find a new curiosity for its sideshow. The boys tell the men about Shadow Lake, and the boys are hired to capture the creature for the circus.

Jake Lawson is hired by a rival sideshow and will also attempt to locate the creature.  Jake and his accomplices sabotage the Outboard Boys' efforts in finding the creature, and the boys must work fast in hope of being successful.

On page 129, Warren is lost in the woods. While trying to find his way, he witnesses a lion killing a deer.  Later, Terry and Martin are looking for Warren and view the scene from a cliff.  They see the carcass and at first think that it is what is left of Warren.  How gruesome.

I noticed that "swell" is used often in this book.  I think of "swell" as a word that was used more towards the 1950s, but clearly, it was already in use during the 1930s.  I do not recall seeing "swell" used in other series books of this age.  In any case, I feel like Roger Garis was a little ahead of his time.  As I read the books, I also was struck by how intelligent he was.  For instance, in one passage in one of the books, the binomial theorem, which is a theorem in mathematics, is mentioned.  That's not something that most juvenile series authors would have included in a book.

This is a good book.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Mercer Boys #5 Beach Patrol and #6 Summer Camp

In the Mercer Boys #5, The Mercer Boys on the Beach Patrol, Woodcrest Military Institute closes down temporarily after a dam breaks, and the school is flooded.  The Mercers and Terry receive an invitation from Harry Douglas to come visit his family on the coast of Massachusetts.  After the boys' arrival, they get an opportunity to help the coast guard patrol the coast looking for ships in distress.

The boys learn that the Douglas family lost their original estate years ago when a man named Odell presented what appeared to be the deed to the property.  The boys learn that the deed was fake and that the real deed is missing.  The Mercers and their friends try to find the real deed.

This book is good until around page 100 when the mystery of the missing deed is revealed.  From that point, the story is excellent and very engaging.  I greatly enjoyed reading this book.

In the Mercer Boys #6, The Mercer Boys in Summer Camp, the second and third classmen of Woodcrest go to summer camp.  Don, Jim, and Terry have recently advanced to the second class and will attend the summer camp.  Before the young men depart, Dick Rowen makes his intense jealousy of the Mercers known to all, and he causes them endless trouble during summer camp.

After the young men become established in summer camp, they learn that the surrounding area is said to be haunted.  True to the rumors, strange figures are seen at night, and vandalism occurs.  Dick Rowen gets Jim in trouble by blaming him for one act of mischief.  The Mercers and their friends must find the true culprit so that Jim's innocence can be proved.

I was amused as I read this book and characters keep using the phrase "go chase yourself."  I thought of what people say nowadays.

This is an excellent story.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Series Book Discussion and Sales Groups on Facebook

First, I want to remind everyone that I have books for sale on eBay and Etsy.  I have extended my promotion for 10% off all orders on Etsy.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy
I have recently listed many Cherry Ames, Dana Girls, and Trixie Belden books.  I have also listed many British and French Nancy Drew books.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay
On eBay, I have a wide variety of series books.  I also have quite a few bulk lots that are priced to sell.

Jennifer's Series Books on Facebook
I regularly post interesting links and information on my Facebook page.

We have groups for selling series books on Facebook including one new group.

Sleuthing for Vintage Children's Series Books
This first group is often mistaken as a discussion group, but it is solely for sales with no discussion.  We have had problems with people joining and not reading the rules, so the group photo now consists of rules in order to get more people to notice them.

Books for Sale Roundup
This new group with looser rules has recently been created.  This group was created by a series book fan but allows other types of books to be offered as well.

We also have series book discussion groups on Facebook.

Modern Children's Series Books
This group is for modern children's and young adult books.

Vintage Teen Books
This group is for vintage teen and young adult books.  Currently, the group is mainly focused on teen books from the 1980s and 1990s like Sweet Valley High, R. L. Stine, Christopher Pike, and other similar books.

Collecting Vintage Children's Series Books
This group focuses on juvenile series books from the 20th century.  Think Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, Judy Bolton, Dana Girls, and all of our favorites.

Nancy Drew Book Fans
This group is for fans of the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories.

Nancy Drew Game Fans
This group was created for fans of the Nancy Drew games by Her Interactive.

Trixie Belden
This group is all about Trixie Belden.

Judy Bolton Fans
Members of this group love Judy Bolton.

Vintage Stratemeyer Syndicate Series
This group is focused on the books created by the Stratemeyer Syndicate.

Stratemeyer Syndicate
This is another group devoted to the Stratemeyer Syndicate.

Maltshop Romance Roundup
This group is dedicated to teen romance books of the late 1940s up through the 1960s.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Problem of Pricing Books

Sellers often face the dilemma of wondering how to price books for which they do not know the value.  This happens to me fairly frequently when I sell books that I do not collect or do not actively follow on eBay.  In this post, I will detail two recent experiences in which I had to guess at prices.

Some sellers are paranoid about pricing and price books at consistently steep prices in order to avoid ever selling a book at below cost.  Unfortunately, this practice keeps the books away from people who would like to purchase them.  I prefer for my books to sell, even if I sometimes get less for a book than it might be worth.

A few months ago, I purchased a large number of Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) books locally.  The books were cheap, but they were also library discards in rough shape.  I was aware that CYOA is a popular franchise, which is why I purchased the books.  However, I had no idea how to price the books.

I spent around an hour researching the different sets of CYOA books.  The original set was published by Bantam Books in the 1980s and 1990s.  Random House purchased Bantam Books in 1998 and somehow let the trademark for CYOA lapse, thereby losing the rights to publish the series.  It's amazing that a modern publishing company was so careless.

One of the authors of the original CYOA series, R. A. Montgomery, gained the rights to the series and founded the Chooseco company, which has since issued multiple reprint sets and sets consisting of new titles.  The Chooseco sets are also quite desirable and sought by fans of the franchise.

I figured out that the books I purchased were a mixture of original Bantam books and books from two different Chooseco sets.  I separated the books by type, then checked eBay sold listings.  I could not list the books for as high as other listings, because mine were in rough shape.  I went with bulk lots and priced accordingly.  Here are some photos that show the rough condition and the library stickers.







All sets sold quickly within a few days of being listed.  I kept wondering if I had priced the books too low.  I don't think so.  Condition is important, and I couldn't ask as much for the books as if they had been in nice shape.  I assume that the people who purchased my books wanted to read them, and rough condition library discards read just as well as more expensive nice copies.  My bulk lots served that purpose fine and saved the buyers some money.

I am also not very knowledgeable of past Ken Holt prices.  Each time I have extra Ken Holt books, I check eBay sold listings and come up with prices.  Auction prices tend to be below value.  Fixed-price listings that have not yet sold tend to be above value.  Fixed-price listings that have sold indicate what someone was willing to pay but are not necessarily indicative of the actual value.

I look at both sold and unsold listings and come up with a price that is usually above the auction results but below the fixed-price listings that have not yet sold.  My price is also heavily influenced by the condition of the book.  Condition is important, and when books have certain flaws, they must be priced lower than books that do not have those flaws.  Most of the Ken Holt books that I listed in early May had sticker scars on the front panels and/or spines of the dust jackets.  Sticker scars reduce value.  The books also smelled of cigarette smoke, which does fade in time but is a significant flaw.






Most of my Ken Holt books sold rather fast, which is what always happens when I list Ken Holt books.  Here are the listings that have sold.






Here is another picture of The Mystery of the Sultan's Scimitar which shows the faded spine.


I would have priced the book higher if not for the faded spine.  The book sold almost immediately after being listed, and I am pretty confident that the book was purchased to resell.  I guess that means that I could have gotten more for the book, but I did not feel that a higher price was justified.

I was asked to reduce the price of The Mystery of the Plumed Serpent shortly after I listed it.  I ignored the request since my book was in a tie for the lowest price online.  The prospective buyer later purchased the book at my original price.

Two books did not sell in the first listing cycle but have sold in the second listing cycle.



During the first listing cycle I was asked to reduce The Mystery of the Invisible Enemy to just $20.  Considering how fast the other books sold, I was not about to do that.  I did end up getting my original listing price of $34.99. 

Two books, seen below, are the only ones that have not yet sold.


Even though all of the Choose Your Own Adventure and many of the Ken Holt books sold fast, I don't regret how I priced the books.