Friday, November 30, 2018

Hidden Clues #2 The Scarcity of Nancy Drew #55 and #56

Some collectors have heard that Nancy Drew #55 Mystery of Crocodile Island and #56 The Thirteenth Pearl are scarce and think that all copies of those two books are scarce.  Actually, most copies currently up for sale are very common and not worth purchasing on value speculation.

The matte picture cover editions of these two titles are scarce; the flashlight edition picture covers are quite common.  At the time of this writing, current eBay listings show 34 copies of Mystery of Crocodile Island up for sale.  29 copies are the flashlight edition, and only five copies are the matte picture cover edition.  For The Thirteenth Pearl, 48 copies are up for sale.  41 copies are the flashlight edition, and only seven copies are the matte picture cover edition.  The flashlight edition of both titles is very easy to find as compared to the matte edition.

This photo shows the front cover of the matte picture cover edition of both books.

The matte picture cover edition has a cover that is not glossy.  The books do not have a flashlight logo near the top edge.

The flashlight edition books have been in print since 1986.  #1 The Secret of the Old Clock and other lower-numbered books are probably available in slightly higher quantities, simply because people tend to buy the early books first.  However, the entire set of #1-56 has been available for 32 years in the flashlight edition.  No previous format of Nancy Drew was ever in print for 32 years.  All copies of Nancy Drew #1-56 in the flashlight edition are extremely common and are more common than any other format of Nancy Drew book.

Seen below is a scan of the front cover of the flashlight edition of Nancy Drew #55 and #56.  The books have a glossy cover and the flashlight logo near the top edge.

The flashlight edition of #55 and #56 should be purchased if you need to complete your set of flashlight editions or if you simply need a copy of the book to read.  If your objective is acquisition of a scarce book, then purchase the matte picture cover edition of #55 and #56.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Donald Price's Victory and Wyman's Other Books

In Donald Price's Victory, Donald Price wants to lumber a piece of land that he inherited from his father.  Donald has no money, and the bank will not finance him, due to an enemy who wants to make certain that Donald fails.  Donald finally secures financing at rather unfavorable terms.  If Donald does not deliver the lumber by a certain date, he will be fined each day that the lumber is late.  Donald feels certain that he can be successful, but he doesn't realize that several people are doing all that they can to make certain that he fails.

Donald Price is nearly 24 years old.  He is brash and assertive and takes risks.

On page 161 Cap'n Seth makes an appearance.  Cap'n Seth was also in The Golden Boys on the River Drive, although he is captain of a different boat.

This is a very good book.

In The Mystery of Eagle Lake, Mr. Shaw's men are building a lodge on Eagle Lake.  The work is not going well, and the men think that the camp is haunted.  Mr. Shaw has his sons, Bud and Jack, go to the camp to figure out what is going on.

This book blurs together in my memory with some of the Golden Boys books.  The plot is very similar to some of them.

This is a good book.

I also read part of The Haunted House Mystery awhile back.  I did not enjoy it.  I was thoroughly bored by halfway through the book and could not finish it.  I expected a mystery about a haunted house.  I did not expect the boys to spend all of their time traipsing about a gully and cave.  The book is not anywhere near as interesting as it could have been.

I tired to read The Battalion Captain.  I couldn't get into it at all, so I abandoned it after just a few pages.

I have not yet gotten around to reading the Lakewood Boys series by L. P. Wyman. 

I have mixed feelings about the L. P. Wyman books that I have read so far.  Some of the books like the Golden Boys series are quite excellent while others are uninteresting to me.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Hunniwell Boys #7 Caribbean and #8 Non-Stop Flight Around the World

In the Hunniwell Boys #7, The Hunniwell Boys in the Caribbean, Jim and Gordon's friend, Slim Togus, lives in Cuba.  He invites the boys down to his home.  Upon their arrival, they learn that Slim wants to dive for a sunken ship in the Caribbean.

On page 51, the boys visit a village on an island.  The village consists of a bunch of natives and a white store owner.  Slim tells the brothers, "I guess that man at the store is a kind of king here.  He's the only white man I saw in the village."  So I guess the implication is that the natives just naturally regard any white person as if a king.  Then why do the natives attack the boys at every turn?

This story consists of the boys looking for the sunken ship, then dodging natives who keep attacking them.  The cycle repeats over and over until the story mercifully ends.  The story is not bad, but it is also not very interesting.  Also, there's that problem of Bill's name still being Jim for some unknown reason.  I still cannot deal with it.

In the Hunniwell Boys #8, The Hunniwell Boys' Non-Stop Flight Around the World, Jim and Gordon decide that they want to be the first people to fly all the way around the world non-stop.

The Hunniwells' plane is once again named the Albatross after being the Falcon for the last two books.  However, Bill is still Jim, and this is still a deal-breaker for me.

The book is good, and I enjoyed it more than the previous two books in the set.

The Hunniwell Boys series is very good to excellent up through #5 in the set.  #6 through #8 have the name changes, and I struggled with all three books.  So for me, the Hunniwell Boys series ends with five books, since the last three do not feel authentic to me.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Extended! 10% Discount on eBay and Etsy

I decided to extend my eBay and Etsy sale through Tuesday evening so that it would last until the day after Cyber Monday.  I have had pretty good results and am pleased that a few stagnant items have sold.

All of my listings are discounted 10% on both eBay and Etsy through Tuesday evening.  If you read this post after the sale ends on November 27, 2018, the offer will be null and void.

The Etsy promotion for free shipping on orders of $35 or more is still active.  Many items on both sites have free shipping with no minimum purchase required.

It's worth running some searches on Etsy right now.  Some Etsy sellers are really desperate and are running crazy Black Friday sales.  I purchased a small bulk lot of books that had a nice discount and free shipping.  

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Hunniwell Boys #5 Longest Flight and #6 Gobi Desert

In the Hunniwell Boys #5, The Hunniwell Boys' Longest Flight, Mrs. Green's son, Fred, left a year ago for Australia in hope of mining for gold.  Mrs. Green is heartbroken.  Bill and Gordon decide to fly to Australia to find Fred.  Along the way, the boys rescue a few people and encounter various adventures.

The aviation feats of the Hunniwell Boys are quite improbable, but for the most part, I simply ignore it.  I had to stop and think about it when the boys' plane climbs to 14,000 feet on page 17.  The oxygen level is thin at that altitude; additionally, the temperature is only 9.1 degrees Fahrenheit.  Nothing is mentioned about lack of oxygen or the cold.

This book contains many highly judgmental statements about the Aboriginal people of Australia.  I find these kinds of judgmental statements to be very offensive.  On page 169, Fred tells the Hunniwells that the natives are "hardly human they're so feeble-minded."

Indigenous peoples who live off the land in various parts of the world, even though they may not be in contact with the modern world, are intelligent and capable people.  They just have a different lifestyle, and there is nothing wrong with that.  In fact, they are much more intelligent about living off the land than modern-minded people are.  I hate reading judgmental comments about people who are different.  Just because someone is different doesn't make them stupid.

On page 194, Gordon observes, "These fellows may be lazy and all that but, take it from me, they know their stuff when it comes to springing a surprise."  Right, which means that they are not stupid.  They are knowledgeable about what is important to their way of life, which is simply different from ours.

This is a very good story.

In the Hunniwell Boys #6, The Hunniwell Boys in the Gobi Desert, Jim and Gordon Hunniwell fly to the Gobi Desert in their plane, the Falcon, to find a missing professor.

Did you catch that?  Inexplicably, the two brothers are now named Jim and Gordon instead of Bill and Gordon.  Not only that, but the Hunniwells' plane is now the Falcon instead of the Albatross.  Needless to say, the series pretty much lost me at this point.  I am not at all forgiving of sudden illogical name changes, especially when the series was supposedly all written by the same person with none of the books ghostwritten.  This makes no sense!

The book appears to have been written by Wyman as far as I can tell.  Certain phrases and colloquialisms are present, just like in his other books, but why did he change Bill to Jim?  UGH!!!

I had trouble enjoying the book.  In fact, I really didn't like it at all.  It partially bored me, and I skimmed towards the end.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Hunniwell Boys #3 Secret Service and #4 Platinum Mystery

In the Hunniwell Boys #3, The Hunniwell Boys in the Secret Service, Bill and Gordon enter a contest to see which plane can fly to San Francisco and back the fastest.  Naturally, the boys win.  As a result of the contest, they become friendly with Rogers, who works for the government.  Rogers requests that the boys help him figure out who is smuggling liquor across the border into the United States.

This is an excellent book and is a good detective story.

In the Hunniwell Boys #4, The Hunniwell Boys and the Platinum Mystery, Rogers enlists the boys' help in finding a lost cache of platinum in Hawaii.  The lost cache is on land once owned by Rogers' family and was left there by one of his forebears.

I noticed that the electric cell is now called a battery.  It's about time.

This story consists of several unrelated mini-adventures that occur while the boys look for the platinum.  Gordon even jokes about the mini-adventures on page 185, remarking, "Probably we'll see a ship on fire or a whale with a sore toe."

The racism present in the Hunniwell Boys books bothers me due to the overtly judgmental basis of it.  The boys become friendly with a "Jap" after a rough start.  On page 194, Gordon speaks positively of him, saying, "He's a regular fellow if his skin is a bit on the yellow shade."  He's saying that the man is okay despite his skin color.

For the duration of this book, no villains are after the platinum, which makes the story more realistic than most series books.  It's not necessary always to have somebody who knows one's intimate plans.  The boys run into plenty of trouble without having anyone privy to their plans.

This is an excellent book.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Hidden Clues #1 The Judy Bolton Revisions

This is the first post in what I hope will become a continuing series.  I have chosen the name "Hidden Clues" as a nod to the Society of Phantom Friends and their newsletter, "The Whispered Watchword."  The Phantom Friends took its name and the name of its newsletter from two Judy Bolton titles.  I have taken "Hidden Clues" from the Judy Bolton title, The Hidden Clue.

The purpose of "Hidden Clues" is to clear up common misconceptions and to share information that those of us who have been collecting for 20 or more years take for granted.  We know this information, and 20+ years ago, everyone collecting knew it.  That information is still with us, but we have been remiss about sharing some of these facts with people who have joined us since the heyday of the Yahoo! groups.

It is fitting for the first installment of "Hidden Clues" to feature a forgotten fact about the Judy Bolton series.  Did you know that the first four Judy Bolton titles were revised and condensed?

The Vanishing Shadow was actually revised twice.  It is available in three distinct texts from 1932, 1964, and 1967.  The 1964 edition removes Judy's actual abduction but keeps the part where Judy is held captive in the shack.  The 1967 edition also removes Judy's captivity in the shack so that the abduction never occurs at all.  The 1967 edition also adds a scene with Horace that is not present in either of the previous editions.

The Haunted Attic, The Invisible Chimes, and Seven Strange Clues were revised slightly for the 1967 and 1968 editions.  Some short phrases were changed to be politically correct, and some short passages were removed in order to reduce the length of each book.

From left to right, the picture below shows the original text picture cover of The Vanishing Shadow followed by the 1964 picture cover and the 1967 Tempo paperback.

These next pictures show the original text picture cover of each book followed by the revised text Tempo paperback.

Some people will say that The Haunted Attic has three different texts.  In a sense, this is true, but the difference between the first two versions is just three words on one page.  The very first printing from 1932 mentions Judy's birthday on her invitation on page 160.

The second printing and all subsequent printings omit mention of Judy's birthday.

While the removal of Judy's birthday on page 160 is technically a revision, I consider it simply a first printing point.

The 1964 edition of The Vanishing Shadow is more scarce than the original text, but it can be found without difficulty.  The Tempo paperback editions from 1967 and 1968 are very hard to find and cannot be found easily.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Hunniwell Boys #1 in the Air and #2 Victory

The Hunniwell Boys series consists of eight books written by L. P. Wyman.

1.  The Hunniwell Boys in the Air, 1928
2.  The Hunniwell Boys' Victory, 1928
3.  The Hunniwell Boys in the Secret Service, 1928
4.  The Hunniwell Boys and the Platinum Mystery, 1928
5.  The Hunniwell Boys' Longest Flight, 1928
6.  The Hunniwell Boys in the Gobi Desert, 1930
7.  The Hunniwell Boys in the Caribbean, 1930
8.  The Hunniwell Boys' Non-Stop Flight Around the World, 1931

In the Hunniwell Boys #1, The Hunniwell Boys in the Air, Bill and Gordon Hunniwell have built their own plane, the Albatross.  They have borrowed some electric cells from their friends, Bob and Jack Golden, who are currently in Europe.  The Hunniwell brothers use the cells to power their plane.  Soon after the plane is ready, the boys fly to Newfoundland to search for some lost fliers.

The Hunniwell Boys live in the same town as the Golden Boys.  Bob and Jack Golden never appear in this series, but they are mentioned at the start of most of the books, since the Hunniwells use their electric cells.

This is a good book.

In The Hunniwell Boys #2, The Hunniwell Boys' Victory, Bill and Gordon add a second propeller to their plane.  The propeller is placed on top of their plane and can lift the plane vertically.  The boys call the propeller the "elevator" and use it to land and take off from tight spaces. 

Mr. Golden requests that the boys survey some land in the Maine woods.  The land is disputed, and Mr. Golden wants the boys to verify that his information is correct.  The job proves to be very difficult.  The boys end up under attack and must use all their wits to complete the survey.

This is a very good book.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Golden Boys #9 Chamberlain Dam and #10 On the Trail

In the Golden Boys #9, The Golden Boys Save the Chamberlain Dam, three men try to blow up the Chamberlain Dam, and Mr. Golden fears that the men will make another attempt.  Bob and Jack travel to the Chamberlain Dam and stay in a nearby cabin, watching for the culprits.

I enjoyed the first part of the story, then I gradually became bored.  The story is a bit repetitive, and I skimmed towards the end.  The story consists of the boys seeing something strange, investigating, maybe getting attacked, and sometimes not.  The events cycle and repeat throughout the story, and I am sure this is because A. L. Burt was more concerned about the length of the story than the quality of content.

I partially enjoyed the book.

In the Golden Boys #10, The Golden Boys on the Trail, young Tommy Betts has been abducted, presumably for ransom.  Bob and Jack follow the trail, which eventually leads them to a ship.  The boys believe that Tommy may be held captive on the ship.  Jack goes for help, but Bob gets shanghaied and travels to Bermuda on the ship.

It is interesting that Bob gets separated from Jack halfway through the book and has his own solitary adventure in Bermuda.

This is a very good book.

The Golden Boys series is generally a very good series.  I enjoyed some books more than others, but overall, I have a very positive view of the set.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Golden Boys #7 River Allagash and #8 Haunted Camp

In the Golden Boys #7, The Golden Boys Along the River Allagash, Rex Dale's father has had a large sum of money stolen from him, enough to ruin him.  The money appears to have been stolen by a man named Stebbins, and Stebbins is believed to have gone to a certain lake.  Rex, Bob, Jack, and Kernertok hike to that lake hoping to find Stebbins and recover the money.

Someone tries to scare the boys by making strange tracks that appear to be from a large creature.  They also make strange sounds that are meant to scare the boys.  In most series books, at least one of the characters will become frightened and act like everything is real.  In this story, all of the boys calmly state from the beginning that somebody is just trying to scare them.  They never consider there to be a real creature, unlike what would happen in most books.  I found this to be a refreshing change, and having no one scared did not decrease my enjoyment of the story.

This is an exciting book and is interesting from start to finish.  The story is excellent.

In the Golden Boys #8, The Golden Boys at the Haunted Camp, Mr. Stokes owns a camp at Chesuncook Lake in Maine.  He requests that Bob and Jack stay at the camp to solve a mystery for him.  The camp has a reputation of being haunted.  Mr. Stokes hires Bob and Jack to pose as boarders as they search for the secret behind the haunting.

I like how the boys know that ghosts aren't real and never pretend that they might be.  They simply work on finding out who is responsible for the mysterious events.

Certain characters are under suspicion during the story, and the plot involving them was left unresolved, which I found strange.

This book is very good to excellent.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Golden Boys #5 River Drive and #6 Rescued by Radio

In the Golden Boys #5, The Golden Boys on the River Drive, Bob and Jack Golden spend their vacation at their father's lumber camp in the Maine Woods.  The men are preparing for the river drive, and the boys assist.  A rival camp attempts to sabotage Mr. Golden's lumber contract by causing log jams as the logs float down the river.  Bob and Jack work on the river drive for a time but later leave to search for a missing friend.

I notice that many of the books published by A. L. Burt have subplots within the stories.  The subplots often have nothing to do with the rest of the story.  I am pretty sure that the subplots were inserted into the stories in order to lengthen them.  As mentioned in this post, A. L. Burt wanted the stories to be a certain length and was less concerned about the quality.

Even though the story meanders a bit, it is excellent.

In the Golden Boys #6, The Golden Boys Rescued by Radio, Bob and Jack invent a set of short wave radios that they can use to communicate over a distance of many miles.  Meanwhile, Jim Carson, a revenue officer, asks the boys for them to help him find a group of men who are smuggling liquor across the border from Canada.  Bob and Jack get to work on the case, finding the men to be elusive.  Strangest of all, the men stay in a cabin that can vanish in minutes, reappearing somewhere else.

I love the part about the vanishing and reappearing cabin.  I wish the title of the book had mentioned the vanishing cabin.

This a very good to excellent book.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Golden Boys #3 Maine Woods and #4 Lumber Jacks

In the Golden Boys #3, The Golden Boys in the Maine Woods, Bob and Jack find a coded message.  They decipher the note and discover that it is a clue to a treasure that might have been hidden in a cave in a nearby mountain.  The boys obtain the assistance of their Indian friend, Kernertok, and his dog, Sicum.

Early in the summer I read the first two Golden Boys books and had to pause until this book arrived.  I had already started Augusta Seaman's books and had to read several more of them while waiting for this book.  Once this book arrived, I tried reading it and was uninterested.  I skimmed through the book and found it utterly uninteresting.  I went back to reading Augusta Seaman.

Once I finished with Seaman's books, I decided to resume reading this series, but couldn't remember where I left off.  I ended up trying this book again and was still bored.  I skipped it and read #4, 5, and 6.  I enjoyed all of those books.  Hmm.  I then tried this book again.

I was able to read a good bit more of it than on the previous two attempts, since I had just read three books in the series.  However, I still did not enjoy it.  Deciphering the code is a bit too intensive and boring for me.  Much of the story consists of the boys hiking near and on the mountain.  I still find most of it boring.  I do not like this book.

In the Golden Boys #4, The Golden Boys with the Lumber Jacks, Bob and Jack visit their father's lumber camp.  Problems plague the camp.  The first one is that the deed to the property is missing, and a rival company claims to have the true deed to the land.  Additionally, the camp is said to be haunted, but the boys suspect that the rival company is responsible.  Bob and Jack work on clearing up the problems as they search for the deed.

This book is very good.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Pricing of Digital Books Compared to Reading Copies from High-Volume Sellers

High-volume booksellers are often criticized.  The criticism usually comes from format collectors, buyers who want a specific edition, and buyers who expect the book to meet certain condition expectations.  I caution buyers who have specific expectations never to purchase from the high-volume sellers.  You will usually be disappointed.

On the other hand, the high-volume sellers are perfect for buyers who just want cheap reading copies where condition does not matter.  For modern books, I prefer digital copies.  Unfortunately, digital copies are very expensive and cost a lot more than cheap used copies.  From around 2010 through 2014, I preferred to purchase digital copies of all modern books.  I now tend to go with cheap reading copies.  I will use my most recent purchase as an example.

I already owned a copy of The Giver by Lois Lowry.  I decided that I wanted to purchase the remaining three titles in the set.  If I were to go with digital copies, the entire set of four purchased in one file would cost $32.96.  I could also just purchase the three titles needed at $7.99 each for a total of $23.97.  I didn't want to pay that much, especially since I sometimes do not enjoy books as much as I think I will.

I instead found paper copies of the three books I needed at $3.59, $3.59, and $3.60 from three different high-volume sellers.  All three books had the generic description about how the book might or might not have writing inside and might or might not be a library discard.  Whatever.  I have reasonable expectations and know that the books will probably be a bit rough around the edges.  Sometimes the books show up looking great, and sometimes they look pretty awful.  So long as the book can be read and is not missing pages, I will be satisfied.

Over the course of one week, I gradually received my three books.  Gathering Blue was used by a girl named Jailene for school, and she took a lot of notes.

Admittedly, I would prefer not to have Jailene's name written on the outside vertical edge and for the book not to contain a bunch of her notes.  However, the book can be read just fine.  The majority of the pages are unmarked.

Messenger arrived in average used condition.  Son turned out to be a first printing hardcover with dust jacket, and this was more than what the listing promised.

Sometimes the books arrive in pretty rough shape, and other times, the books arrive in nice condition.  The key is not to expect much and to view the purchase as if one were buying a commodity.  These books are just a commodity to me and nothing more.  They will all read just fine.

My buying habits have shifted solely due to how expensive the digital books are.  I now purchase fewer digital books than I once did.  The only digital books I still purchase are ones that I think my dad might enjoy, since we can both read the book from the same account.  That cuts the price in half since two people will read the book, and he much prefers reading the digital books.

I found it interesting to learn that as my own digital book buying habits shifted that the same was happening to other buyers for various reasons.

Ebook sales continue to fall as younger generations drive appetite for print

EBook Sales Figures in Decline? Not So!

The second article linked above mentions the price of the digital books.  The article states that sales of digital books by major publishing houses are falling.  The digital books priced at under $5 are doing much better, and those digital books tend to be offered by independent authors and small publishing companies.  The problem is that major publishing houses price their digital books too high.  If the Lois Lowry digital books been priced at no more than $4.99 each, I very likely would have purchased the digital books rather than have ordered paper copies.  

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Golden Boys #1 New Electric Cell and #2 Fortress

The Golden Boys series was written by L. P. Wyman and was published by A. L. Burt.  The series consists of 10 books.

  1.  The Golden Boys and Their New Electric Cell, 1923
  2.  The Golden Boys at the Fortress, 1923
  3.  The Golden Boys in the Maine Woods, 1923
  4.  The Golden Boys with the Lumber Jacks, 1923
  5.  The Golden Boys on the River Drive, 1923
  6.  The Golden Boys Rescued by Radio, 1923
  7.  The Golden Boys Along the River Allagash, 1923
  8.  The Golden Boys at the Haunted Camp, 1924
  9.  The Golden Boys Save the Chamberlain Dam, 1927
10.  The Golden Boys on the Trail, 1927

In The Golden Boys and Their New Electric Cell, Bob and Jack Golden have invented an electric cell that they plan to use to power their boat in an upcoming race.  Their rivals, Fred and Will Jenkins, steal the electric cell, and the Golden Boys must get it back.

On page 23, Bob is at the Jenkins' home to retrieve the electric cell.  The Jenkins' dog attacks, and Bob kills it by throwing a rock at its head.  On page 62, Bob is trying to escape, and he kills another dog by stabbing it with a knife.  Both incidents rather surprised me, since series book characters do not typically kill other people's dogs.

I greatly enjoyed this book and found it pretty interesting.

In The Golden Boys at the Fortress, Bob and Jack Golden begin attending military school.  Unfortunately, Fred and Will Jenkins also have enrolled in the school.  Soon after the boys' arrival, Bob makes an enemy out of a bully, John Hill, who proceeds to cause him lots of trouble.

On page 151, the boys wonder how to spend their afternoon.  Bob remarks, "There's a tribe of Indians who live on an island in the river here, and we might go over and take a look at them."  I guess the Indians were sort of a curiosity and were viewed as a source of entertainment.

Three months after I read this book, I read through L. P. Wyman's Hunniwell Boys series.  As I read that series, I realized that Wyman had a strong negative opinion about indigenous people.  He felt that they were stupid and incapable of being civilized.  It greatly impacted my enjoyment of that series. 

In the Golden Boys series, Wyman's bias mainly comes to the surface in how he depicts the French Canadians.  On the other hand, some of the French Canadians are depicted in a positive fashion.  For that reason, I was never bothered by any of the negative statements, since the negative statements are balanced by positive statements.

I enjoyed this book.