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.