Monday, November 11, 2019

Judging People Who Sell Books Part 2

This is the second part of a blog post from October 28, 2015.  It was written four years ago.  I believe that I delayed publication of the post for a month or so for some reason, then it slipped my mind. 

Please read "Judging People Who Sell Books" before proceeding.


When I wrote about sellers being judged, some readers were concerned that they are being judged.  I actually do not believe that the vast majority of the collectors who sell are being judged.  I could be wrong, but I tend to think that just some sellers of series books are the ones who are judged. 

I have noticed that some collectors are rather apologetic when they sell their extras, as though there is something wrong with it.  They comment that they are not trying to be dealers.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with selling your extras.  There is nothing wrong with purchasing large lots of books to get just one or two books.*  Most collectors end up with extras when we end up finding a better copy of a book that we already had.  How else are we to be expected to get rid of those extras?  The books have to be sold.

Some sellers get judged because they have sold so much for so many years.  It can also have to do with a certain attitude they give off.  I can think of a few sellers who are rightfully judged by a small group of collectors, but it has to do with problems that those collectors have had with them.  Some sellers are very difficult buyers.  When those sellers purchase books to resell from other collectors, they make complaints to get partial refunds and also leave low DSRs in eBay feedback to try to hurt other collectors.  However, the few of us who are aware of what is really going on with those particular sellers never mention which sellers in a public forum, so the rest of you have no idea.  In fact, some of the people who should be judged by most collectors somehow do not get judged by the average collector.

The sellers who are judged are the ones who are perceived to be openly purchasing books solely for the purpose of selling them.  The point of my post was that collectors should not be so quick to condemn those particular sellers, that sometimes more is going on than is apparent.  Some collectors assume that other collectors are making this rich profit off of books purchased, when they may only be breaking even or making a narrow profit because they have to sell many books purchased years ago at a loss.

In my case, I am often upgrading books I have had for many years.  I also grow tired of books and decide to sell them.  In these two cases, I almost always have to sell the extras at steep losses.  I have no choice; the books are worth much less than what I paid for them 10 to 15 years ago.

I do use the extra books from large lots to balance that out.  It's the only way I can justify selling my older purchases.  If I can get a large lot for cheap enough, then I can sell the extras at enough of a profit to cancel out the losses from books purchased 10 to 15 years ago.  Since I use this method of reducing my losses, I assume that some other collectors are doing the same.  That's why I don't mind when collectors purchase books from me that they intend to sell in order to make a small profit.  Those collectors, like me, are also selling some books at steep losses.  That's also why I contend that collectors should keep a more open mind about people who sell series books.

Fortunately, I am not one of those collectors who paid $500 for the Judy Bolton book, The Secret of the Sand Castle, back in the early 1990s when it was impossible to find.  Imagine if you were one of those collectors and wanted to sell it now.  You'd be lucky to get even $100 for it and would probably have to take less.  That is the sort of situation that faces many collectors.  Can you blame them for trying to offset their losses?

Another reason that some collectors resent sellers is that they wish never to pay more than around $5.00 for a book, regardless of scarcity.  Since they want their books cheap, they don't like others selling them at high prices, even though other buyers are willing to pay that amount.  Furthermore, some collectors resent other collectors who are willing to pay high prices for books.

I'm not saying that everyone feels this way.  Probably most collectors do not, but since some do, it explains why those collectors have a problem with some sellers.


*Note added November 10, 2019:  There is also nothing wrong with purchasing books solely for the purpose of reselling them.  If I am in a local store and see a book priced low that is worth a good bit more, then I will purchase it.  I recall that around five or so years ago, someone in one of the Facebook groups said that series collectors should never purchase books in a local store unless the books are needed for their collection.

That practice would only work if all series book collectors avoided purchasing books that are extras.  It's never going to happen.  If I don't purchase the book to resell, then most likely another local collector will purchase the book to resell.  Why should I pass on buying the book when it can offset some of the losses from selling the books I purchased many years ago?  Not only that, but I enjoy purchasing books to offer to other collectors online.  Sometimes I might purchase a book and offer it at just a slightly higher price online.  I'm not making much, but I am helping to get the book into someone's collection.  There is nothing wrong with that.


paul binotto said...

I just upgraded the first Blythe Girls book (Helen, Margy and Rose) to an earlier printing with a DJ. I am totally going to sell my first copy.

Amanda from Seattle said...

As to buying series books cheap in local stores to resell....what I encounter, is that I travel the country and I see books all over the place. Most collectors that I know do not travel like I do so they do not get the exposure to these other bookstores. So if I find a great deal on a book in Indiana and I can match it up with a collector in Florida. I am going to do that. I live in Seattle and regularly visit the used books stores in my area.

Jon Boi said...

Add to that, if you do not buy them, and nobody else buys them, the store will stop carrying them and they will get thrown out. They need to sell to create a demand that your local store feels it needs to fill. Use it or lose it.

Kathleen said...

How do you know that people you think are sellers are not, in fact, collectors too? And is there some unwritten code regarding the sale of used collectible series books? One cannot sell just for profit? There is a great deal of overlapping. The important thing is not judging other sellers as much and focusing on what you yourself are selling. Might be best to show others by example.

The essence of a good seller is someone who sells nice items at reasonable prices and the buyer receives what he/she is suppose to receive. I see it happening entirely too often that that is not the case. Prices get jacked up and are listed as something they are not. Books are sent out in poor condition. Despite EBay’s guarantee, just try getting your money back. This is especially true of mega sellers who know exactly what they are doing. Those are the ones that make me angry. They are guilty of fraud. Period. On a massive scale!

Kathleen said...

That’s very interesting what you encounter, Amanda! I sure wish I could do that! But my health sorta precludes it.