Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Dana Girls Guide

We have been waiting for the Dana Girls Guide for around 20 years.  Finally, it will be available in early November.  Please visit SynSine Press for ordering information.  

If you think you will ever want to have a guide to the Dana Girls series, then you need to go ahead and purchase the guide.  The guide will most likely not remain in print.  If you miss this opportunity, then you will have trouble ever finding it in the secondhand market.  Past SynSine Press publications like A Guide to Judy Bolton Country are desired by many who never had the chance to order when available, and those publications almost never come up for sale.  When they do, they are usually expensive.  Don't miss this opportunity.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Series Collector Obituaries

We have lost several series book collectors this year.

Collector Tim Sampson passed away back in the spring.  He was active on Facebook.  He collected many very obscure series and often shared photos of them on Facebook.  Below are a couple of pictures he shared of some of his books.

We lost Joe Slavin in May from Covid-19.  Joe was a well known collector of series books.  You can read Joe's obituary here.

In September, we lost Carolyn Stewart Dyer, who organized the first Nancy Drew conference in 1993.  Read Carolyn's obituary here.

A shocking recent death was that of Bob Williams this month.  Bob passed away from a heart attack.  Bob was actively buying and selling books and had made quite a few recent posts on Facebook about some outstanding series book finds.  Read about Bob's life here and here.

Below is a screen capture of Bob's Etsy shop from right about when he passed away.

I am saddened by these losses.  

Saturday, October 17, 2020

A Group of Books Purchased Locally

In my September 6th post about book hunting, I explained how I hunt for books these days. 

For a number of years now, I have done only targeted book hunting.  I only go to places where I often make good finds.  That way, I'm not wasting much energy.  My pattern prior to March was to check those select places around twice per month.  During this pandemic, I will check those places around once every four to eight weeks.

That was six weeks ago, and I finally made my next visit to just a few select locations where I am more likely to find books.

I purchased some Three Investigators, Nancy Drew, and Trixie Belden books.

The Three Investigators book was priced lower than it should have been.  The Ghost of Blackwood Hall is the first picture cover printing.  It was priced about what I am usually willing to pay, which means not cheap but not too high for me to be able to sell it.  

I purchased the square Trixie Belden paperbacks just to rescue them from the store.  I have mentioned in previous posts that paperback books are almost always priced at $2.00 and up here in Oklahoma.  I continue to be astonished that people can actually purchase books nowadays for as low as $0.10.  Around here, those days are long gone.  The Trixie Belden paperbacks were $2.00 or higher.  I truly was just rescuing them, since I find that buyers prefer the oval Trixie Belden paperbacks.

I found three Dean Trixie Belden hardcover books from the UK.  Those don't show up in the United States very often, so that was a decent find.  The books were not cheap, but they were worth purchasing.

I also purchased some vintage teen books from the 1990s.

The books had been in the store for a number of months.  I posted a picture of the books as seen in the store in September in the Vintage Teen Books group.  There was enough enthusiasm from members that I realized that I should rescue the books.  Some of the books were $2.00 and others were a bit higher.  I don't think I will be keeping them, so the price was a bit steep to me, which is why I hadn't already purchased them.  However, the low price of the Three Investigators book balanced out the cost.

I still am not planning to sell any books online before May 2021.  The books will be shelved, and they will be waiting for the day when I finally open my stores again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A Trio of Nancy Drew Books Signed by Harriet Adams

I recently looked at a bulk lot of Nancy Drew books on eBay, only because the title mentioned that two books were signed by Harriet Adams.  The below photo was taken from the listing.

I didn't need the books, but the idea of two books being signed by Adams was interesting.  The price was low enough that the books were worth purchasing, especially if two were signed.  I also enjoy purchasing bulk lots, because they are my source of tint variants, which cannot easily be found by viewing online photos.  Online photos tend to distort any tint variance that is present.

The books arrived yesterday.  I started looking inside each book, searching for the signatures.  I expected the signatures to be on the inside front cover, which was Harriet's usual location.  I finally found a signed book, but the signature was on the title page.  I then started over and looked again at the books I had already checked.  I found a signature in one of those.  

I didn't stop there, since I couldn't be certain whether just two books were signed.  I continued through the set and found a third book.  I then checked all books again (and some for the third time), but I didn't find any additional signatures.  So I was sure that I had found all of them.

These are the signed books.  Remember that you can enlarge any photo by selecting it.

When I looked for the signatures, I also checked the back cover lists and set aside any books that looked interesting for any reason.  I found three such books.

The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk interested me because of the nice condition and how clean the cover looks.  The book has no soiling, and the sky is very light.  The book turned out to be a tint variant, seen third in the below photo along with two books from my collection.  I will be keeping it.

The Ghost of Blackwood Hall is in nice shape.  It is not the first revised text printing, but it is in nicer shape than my first revised text book.  It is seen below to the right of my first revised text book.  I will be keeping it.

The Secret of the Wooden Lady looked to be a tint variant, and it is, seen third in the below photo.  I'm sure that I have seen other copies tinted as dark, but this one is from 1971, earlier than others.

I will be keeping it as well.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

A Brief Update to "An Unexpected Wet Package"

Original post:  "An Unexpected Wet Package"

I finally took the time to place the water damaged Nancy Drew books in the book press.  I wanted to wait a couple of days to make certain that the books were completely dry, but a couple of days became nearly two weeks.

First, I had to extract the forgotten fanzine from the book press.  

I purchased this issue of The Mystery & Adventure Series Review quite a few months ago, probably sometime in 2019.  It was mailed in an envelope without being enclosed in plastic.  That's what most people do with what they mail.  The envelope arrived in the rain, so the issue was wet and damaged.  I dried it with the hair dryer, then I placed it in the book press.  I forgot about it.

You can see the wrinkled part on the upper left part of the back cover.  The front cover was not damaged at all.  Pages 32 through 56 had varying degrees of water damage.  I don't have a "before" photo, but the issue definitely did not lay flat after it was first dried.  It is better now.

You can see some of the slight waviness of the pages that were affected.  The pages are wrinkled, but they lay pretty flat, except when the issue is held loosely like I did to take the above photo.

The Nancy Drew books are now in the book press.  

I will try to remember to check on them in around a month and will update.  If I forget, then some months from now I will update when I finally remember the books.

This is probably the only post you will get for the next week.  I am uninterested in writing posts, except for ones like this.  

P.S. I still hate the new Blogger interface, as I mentioned a week ago.  This post took me at least five minutes longer because of the problems I encountered while writing it.  No wait... the entire post is indented.  Why?!  How did that happen?!

P.P.S.  That took 10 minutes.  I couldn't get the indent to go away using the features provided by Blogger.  I had to copy the text into WordPad to strip it of the HTML code.  I deleted everything from the post.  I pasted it back in after I preselected that I wanted my text to be left-justified.  I then added the photos again.  Thanks, Blogger, for wasting my time.

This blog may just go on a hiatus until fall break.  This isn't fun.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Wishing Star #8 Katie and #9 I Don't Want to Be Your Shadow

Wishing Star #8 Katie, Deborah Aydt, 1980

Katie can't seem to fit in anywhere!  Her mother promised she'd never remarry... until she met Ben Baxter!  Her best friend, Bessie, is always talking about her great boyfriend, but will never let Katie meet him!

And then there's Robert.  Katie really likes Robert, but she isn't ready to be so serious.  If only he wouldn't expect so much!

At least her diet is really working.  She hardly has to eat anything anymore... It's so easy, and it's her own private secret.  Her mother is so involved in her upcoming marriage she hasn't even noticed—until the terrible accident when Katie winds up in the hospital!

This is a very good book.

Wishing Star #9, I Don't Want to Be Your Shadow, Deborah Aydt, 1981

Jon was a powerful force in my life, as powerful as my mother had been before.  Jon and my mother were both suns—when I differed to one of them, I became a shadow.

Blake has always lived in her mother's shadow.  Her mother holds an important job in the art world and expects Blake to follow in her footsteps.  But what Blake wants is a warm, quiet home life, and a mother who's always there.

When she finds it with Jon Purcell's family, she's delighted.  And she's even more delighted when she finds herself falling in love with Jon... until she makes the disturbing discovery that she's as much Jon's shadow as she was her mother's.

Blake wants to be herself.  But how?  Must she stop loving Jon?

The first problem is that this book begins in the future with Blake looking back on her relationship with Jon.  It is apparent that the relationship is in the past.  Why should I care?  I already know the ending.

The second problem is that I do not like Jon at all.  I partly skimmed the book and did not enjoy it.  I found it boring.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

I Hate the New Blogger, the New Facebook, and 2020

Blogger changed the editing interface for those of us who have blogs.  I was forced into the new version this weekend where I can no longer go back to the legacy Blogger.  I hate the new Blogger. 

I hate it so much that I wish to abandon this blog immediately.  

OMG.  This is not easier to use.  It is harder.  Hitting "enter" does that stupid double space that Microsoft Word does.  I hate it.

Blogger, why are you indenting the very first sentence of each post by one character when I don't want that?  Just let me type the way I want.  You are making me delete that space at the beginning.  It looks stupid for the first sentence to be indented by one character when the others are not.  I don't want that.

The manual save button is gone!  The post autosaves, sure, but I want to be certain by hitting the button.  This is stressing me out.

My blog queue is ruined.  I set dates for when I want posts to publish.  I want to see those dates in the queue.  But no!  Blogger only shows me the date on which I last edited the post, not the date to which I have changed it.  Most of my draft posts are dated "September 20" because I edited the dates on those posts today.  I think if I change the posts from draft and set them to publish, then the dates will change.  But the posts aren't finished!  I don't want to set them to publish in case I forget to finish them!

I hate this so much.  

I am already quite unmotivated to write future posts.  This may end it for me.  I am not kidding.  I do not like this.  Given some time, I expect I will get over this, but the new Blogger is not an improvement.  It's always been clear to me that the people who do the programming for sites do not actually use them.  They have no clue.

Tell me about other blog services.  Are they less stupid?  This is actually a serious question.

And don't get me started on the new Facebook.  I hate it, too.  The new Facebook looks attractive, but I do not like it.  There is information hidden on the new Facebook that was not hidden before.  Facebook is still letting me change back to the classic version, but that will change very soon.  I will not be happy when I am finally stuck in the new Facebook.  

Facebook is also stupid, period.  For instance, we use questions that prospective members of groups must answer to be admitted into the groups.  Do you think Facebook shows mobile users those questions?  Of course not!  And everyone uses their phone for everything.   Granted, some people may see the questions, but I know for a fact that others don't see them.  I didn't see them when I checked on my phone.  Pfft.

Oh yeah, and mask usage is decreasing in local stores.  It may be about time for grocery pickup again.  

Just add Facebook and Blogger to the very long list of things gone bad in 2020.  What else will get ruined in the next few months?  

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

An Unexpected Wet Package

Late this evening, I found a wet package on my porch.  I didn't even know what was in it, since I wasn't supposed to get anything from FedEx.  Regardless, a wet package is never good, since my packages usually contain books.  It should be noted that my porch is dry, and it hasn't rained in days.  The package did not get wet here.

The darker brown lines are where the box was wet.  I opened the package to find some Nancy Drew softcover books that I purchased from the United Kingdom.  Ah.  I didn't expect my UK shipment to come via FedEx from California.

Well, this is unfortunate.  I have had international packages arrive wet before.  It's very disappointing, since international shipments contain difficult to find international editions.  I hate it when the books arrive damaged.

One corner of the box was pretty wet inside, and the stack of books in that corner was also wet.  The books seen in the center of the below photo with the outside page edges facing out are the wet books.  The wetness can be seen at the top corners.

The books have dark spots on the wet areas that might be mildew.  That's just splendid.  I believe that these books had been wet for a while.  Is it asking too much for packages not to be dropped in water?  I suppose it is.  This would not have been a problem if the books had been wrapped in plastic.  Always wrap books in plastic before mailing them.  This situation shows why.

I immediately took the books that were wet and dried them with a hair dryer.  It took around 15 minutes.  The books are not completely dry, but at least the wetness isn't still festering like it was.  The below photo shows the wet books after I got them mostly dry with the hair dryer.

The books will be placed in front of a fan to finish drying.  I will then place them in a book press to flatten them somewhat, since the pages are now wavy.  The pages will not go back to the way they were before, but I can make them better than they are now.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Blogs with Series Book Reviews

I've stated several times that my vintage series books reviews are pretty much done.  I am a bit overwhelmed at this point in my life due to what is going on with school and due to some other concerns.  I'm not interested in reading old series books.  I will eventually reread some old series, but I won't be reviewing them if I have already reviewed them.  I'm done.

Consider following the other people who are reviewing old series books.  You might also consider doing some reviews yourself.

Vintage Girls Books:  Recent reviews include Whitman books like Annie Oakley, Dorothy Lamour, Troy Nesbit, and Nancy Craig.  There are also reviews of a variety of series books including Mildred Wirt Benson, Nancy Drew, Ginny Gordon, Arden Blake, Judy Bolton, and much more.

Bargain Sleuth:  This blog reviews all types of books, but a number of Nancy Drew books are also represented.

My reading was a means of coping through certain situations.  The high reading output made it easy for me to have more than one post per week.  I am now on a different trajectory, and I am not reading like I was.  If I were to try to post like I did, I would cause myself tremendous stress.  I will not do that to myself.

My blog output was such that some people have taken me for granted, which is why I have received comments telling me to get back to reading and reviewing vintage series books.  There are other blogs, linked above. 

This is what you will still get from me.

I will be reviewing vintage teen books and modern young adult dystopian novels.  I will continue to review each new Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Tom Swift book as it is released.  I will no doubt continue to complain about the Nancy Drew Diaries series.

I will write the occasional post about collecting series books.  I will continue to write about the pandemic since it's rather a big deal right now.  I will keep you updated on when I might sell again.  I will also write about eBay, Etsy, and other sites whenever I have news to report.

The reviews that are being published to this blog currently are being played out very slowly.  I have very few posts written, and I am not interested in writing posts.  The blog could very well begin to have larger gaps between posts, like what is normal for most other people.  I'm just not into writing reviews at this time. 

If you know of other blogs that feature recent reviews of series books, please let me know so that I can add them to this post.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Wishing Star #6 Too Much in Love and #7 Don't Look Back

Wishing Star #6 Too Much in Love, Patty Brisco, 1979

Holly and Jeff are so much in love... Then Holly tells Jeff that she's going to have a baby.  What can they do?  Their parents are furious and can't agree about anything.  Jeff is so confused he hardly seems to care what happens!  Holly doesn't know which way to turn, so she runs away to find her own answers—and a decision she can accept with her heart.

This was the first Wishing Star book that I read, just to see if I would like the books.  I read the book very quickly, because I was intensely curious to see which solution would be chosen.

This is a very good book.

Wishing Star #7 Don't Look Back, Audrey P. Johnson, 1981

When she wrote in her journal, the words flowed effortlessly as she told of meeting Gabe.  What did it mean, this quickening, this awareness of a boy she had just met today?

Ellen could so easily fall in love with Gabe!  But their relationship is never smooth.  It's up and down, easy and hard...

Life is tough for Ellen.  Her father is dead, and she is determined to keep their farm going, but her mother and sister don't care.  They'd rather move to town.  Ellen is terrified of losing the farm... and Gabe.  Can she manage alone?  Or will Gabe be at her side to help?

Ellen is at the beginning of her senior year in  high school, so she is probably 17.  What's up with the "girl" on the cover of this book?  The "girl" looks rather old for 17.

On page 150, the flu epidemic of 1918 is mentioned.  I wonder if the 2020 pandemic will be mentioned in as many future books as the 1918 flu was mentioned in past books.

I skimmed a few parts of the book, but it is overall very good.  I have a slightly negative view of the book due to my astonishment about the cover picture.  The cover picture messed with me the entire time I was reading the book.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Book Hunting, Simplifying My Life, and Amazon's Commingled Inventory

I no longer like hunting for books in person.  Driving around to various locations on a mostly fruitless search is a waste of energy.  I don't have as much energy as most people, so I can't waste any.  Read about the spoon theory if you want to understand how that works.

I no longer go to antique shops.  They depress me due to the lack of changing inventory.  I very often find nothing in antique shops, so they are a downer both physically and mentally.

Prior to March, I only went to estate sales when I actually saw a photograph of series books for sale.  Now that I wish to avoid exposure to the virus, I no longer look at the estate sale photos.  By not looking at the photos, I avoid knowing about any good books and will not risk exposure by going.  The idea of being in a house with lots of people coming and going, any of whom could have the virus, is rather unappealing to me.

For a number of years now, I have done only targeted book hunting.  I only go to places where I often make good finds.  That way, I'm not wasting much energy.  My pattern prior to March was to check those select places around twice per month.  During this pandemic, I will check those places around once every four to eight weeks.

I checked one of those places yesterday.  I was pleased to find some books.

My eBay and Etsy stores will remain closed indefinitely.  I do have an agreement with a couple of you to purchase books directly from me when I am ready.  I will probably take care of those transactions around fall break, so that will be around October 15th.

My hands are full right now.  With school, we try Plan A.  When Plan A has unexpected unpleasant consequences, we go to Plan B, and so on.  Everything is in flux.  It's a steep learning curve for everyone as we navigate this strange new world.

I cannot handle anything extra at all right now.  That's why I had to simplify my life.  I had to quit selling on eBay and Etsy indefinitely, because some buyers can take away most of an evening with their questions or how they handle transactions.  Read this post for several examples from early 2019, including the one where a buyer purchased 32 books in 32 separate transactions.  By keeping my stores closed, I avoid the time-wasting buyers.

I also put my Facebook groups on moderation, which is something that I resisted for a long time.  I knew that I would do it once I decided that moderation was less work than retroactively reacting.  With school starting during this pandemic, I finally reached that point.

At least now, people won't be able to post their off-topic books and topics.  The posts get shut down before they reach the groups.

I also want to touch on how this pandemic has permanently changed my behavior.  I used to go to the grocery store at least five days per week.  If I wanted something on a whim, I went to get it.  I now only go once per week, on Saturday mornings.  If I wish I had something else to eat during the week, I do without.  I find something, even if I don't particularly want to eat it.  Any food is good enough.

The other big change is my dealings with Amazon.  It had become my go-to place for most everything.  When people switched to online shopping in March, Amazon was so flooded that shipping dates were a month out.  I didn't want to wait that long, so I started purchasing from Walmart.com, Chewy.com, and occasionally Target.com.  All the other companies ship faster than Amazon without me having to pay an extra fee (i.e. Amazon Prime).

Walmart does pack in terribly flimsy boxes, however.  If I want something like boxes of cat food, then Chewy is a much better option.  Chewy uses sturdy boxes.  Walmart is great for lightweight items, but heavy items show up falling out of the half-destroyed boxes.

I had already quit buying certain products from Amazon for another reason: the commingled inventory.  Let's say that two people sell a certain supplement.  One seller offers the genuine product, and the other seller offers a counterfeit product.  Both sellers use Fulfillment by Amazon.  They ship their products to Amazon, and Amazon commingles them by tossing them in the same bin.  We can no longer trust anything coming from Amazon. 

I had purchased a medical-grade air purifier for my classroom.  I wanted to go ahead and purchase the replacement filter so that I would have one on hand months from now.  I went to Amazon, where I could buy the genuine filter from the manufacturer or cheaper ones from other sellers.  I wanted the genuine filter.  I quickly decided that I could not risk purchasing from Amazon.  I went to the manufacturer's website and purchased the filter directly from them. 

I don't know for sure if I have ever ended up with fake product from Amazon, but I am suspicious about some Post-it Brand Notes that I purchased from Amazon last year.  The packaging appears to be real, and the notes look real enough.  However, they barely stick to anything. 

3M's Highland Notes are its cheaper alternative to its Post-it Notes.  These Post-it Notes that I purchased from Amazon are the least sticky notes I have ever used and are far worse than Highland Notes.  Either 3M has trashed its quality of product, or I purchased a counterfeit product.  Regardless, I will never purchase Post-it Notes from Amazon ever again. 

Even when the product says "shipped from and sold by Amazon.com," it cannot be trusted to be genuine because of the commingled inventory.  The fakes get tossed in the same bin as Amazon's genuine product inventory.  The bottom line is to be very careful when purchasing anything from Amazon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Wishing Star #5 Francesca, Baby

Wishing Star #5 Francesca, Baby, Joan L. Oppenheimer, 1976

She hears the cry in the night... Francesca?  Baby?... and thinks, My mother is a drunk.

Together Francesca and her sister manage to survive a mother who is rarely sober, a father who is seldom home.  But resentment, anger, guilt, and hopelessness still build up in Francesca.  Even her new-found love for Bix can't solve her problems.  There has to be help somewhere.  But where?

The book pictured is an earlier Scholastic edition not packaged for the Wishing Star set.  Due to the use of stock photos online, this book is hard to locate in the Wishing Star version.

On page 46, Bix ponders the career choices of girls.  "Why do so many girls want to be a nurse or a teacher?  I mean, are that many girls that much into those two careers?  Or do they just think there's a better chance in those two fields?"  Bix continues, "Isn't it possible there might be something else they'd like a whole lot more, some field they hadn't even considered, hadn't dared try?"

This resonated with me.  Like the girls mentioned by Bix, I never considered any career choices other than nurse or teacher.  I was just that unimaginative.  I assume that the people around me had conditioned me to believe that those were the only two career choices possible.

I recall a career bus at my high school when I was in the 10th grade.  We each had to sit in front of a computer and read about career choices.  The young man who was in charge asked each of us what we wanted to do.  When he asked me, I said that I wanted to be a nurse or a teacher.  I could tell that he didn't like my answer.  He replied, "If that's what you want to do."  He moved to another student and did not interact with me again.

He failed at his job that day.  He should have asked me about my strengths and interests in order to give me some other ideas.  Of course, I probably would not have helped him.  I never had any thoughts about any possibilities other than nurse or teacher.  I was like a robot programmed to do one or the other. 

In spite of that, I don't regret becoming a teacher.

This is a very compelling story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I do feel that the problems were resolved a bit too easily, but with this type of book having a limited length, the author cannot make the story completely realistic.

This is an excellent book.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Library Editions, Reading, and School

Some of you might have been dismayed by my recent post concerning Nancy Drew library editions.  After all, if you are now seeking them out, you hardly want people like me to advertise that they have become quite collectible.

Despite how collectible the Nancy Drew library binding has become, I continue to find examples of books that I need at reasonable prices.  I strongly suspect that my 20 years of ardently collecting them means that I know how to find and spot them easier than anyone else.  I'm not bragging.  I just know that this must be true since I can still locate them online for reasonable prices while others struggle.

Library editions are always upfront in my mind.  Here's an example.  A woman was selling her deceased sister's collection via the Facebook groups.  She posted spreadsheets with the books listed.  There were no pictures.  I went through the spreadsheets line by line and selected all of the library editions as well as anything else that caught my eye.  I was not the first person to purchase books, but I was apparently the first person to consider the library editions.  Collecting Nancy Drew library editions had become quite popular by early 2019 when I purchased those books, yet I was the first one to do so in that opportunity.  Read my post about the neat library editions I purchased in that transaction.

I think also that I search far more often than most people do.  Since I search more often than most people, I see more of the books than others do.  I saw a really neat Hardy Boys library binding the other day and purchased it.  This motivated me, so I went searching somewhere else online where I hadn't searched in some time and found a neat Nancy Drew library edition there.  The books are out there, and you have to take the time to look for them.  Searching online can be just as fun as in local stores.  I enjoy stumbling upon hidden treasures in my online searches.

I did pretty well reading at the start of the month.  I then went back to work and completely lost interest.  I didn't read anything for 2 1/2 to 3 weeks.  This weekend I wanted to read again, but the two books I was trying to read are no longer of interest.  That has been my problem all year.  Nothing much interests me.

I found a young adult dystopian series to read yesterday.  The series is The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak.  In The Harvesting, a flu-like virus causes a pandemic.  Those who get the virus die, are reanimated, and then try to eat everyone else.  So basically, they become zombies.  I'm okay with that.  Covid-19 does not cause people to become zombies, so I don't mind reading about this sort of virus.  I just needed a thrill, you know?

The books aren't perfect, and there are parts that could definitely have been written better.  However, I find the story engaging.  In addition to zombies, the books also have vampires, forest spirits, and other creatures who can shapeshift into animals.  So there seem to be five different factions, including the regular humans who have not been infected.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

The Covid-19 pandemic is such a consuming event on multiple levels that in my present state of mind I want my media to be just as consuming.  That's why I am once again reading a dystopian series.

This school year is just as consuming as the pandemic itself.  We have to convert all of our tests to fully digital versions.  All lessons must be digital.  I have to field many questions through email, and must help my students troubleshoot their problems with the various sites that we are using.  This is quite a different experience.

I do see each group of students twice per week, but that's really not enough.  It makes the entire experience quite challenging.  I do like being at school on Wednesday without students.  It gives me a chance to catch up a little.

My medical-grade air purifier finally arrived.  I purchased the Medify MA-40 Air Purifier.  Everyone is buying them these days because of the pandemic, so they are backordered and can take a few weeks to arrive.  I purchased it for my classroom.  It will be able to purify the air in my classroom every 30 minutes.

Will it keep me from getting the virus?  No.  My motto is the following line from The Hunger Games.  "May the odds be ever in your favor."

My goal is to reduce the possibility of acquiring the virus.  I do everything I can to reduce my chances while not worrying too much about what I cannot control.

I do know that I will be nervous if I catch any kind of virus this winter.  How will I know if a sore throat is just a common cold or Covid-19?  These are scary times.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Surprising Rise of the Nancy Drew Library Edition

In around 1999, I decided that I wanted to own Nancy Drew #57-78 in the hardcover Wanderer edition with dust jacket as issued by Simon and Schuster.  As I searched for those books, I noticed all of the hardcover library bindings of Nancy Drew #79 and up that were for sale online.  I began purchasing those books in order to acquire hardcover copies of those books, which were only published in softcover.

As I began building my set of hardcover copies of Nancy Drew #57-175, I then noticed all the library bindings for Nancy Drew #1-56 that were for sale online.  I was quickly hooked and began working on multiple sets of the library editions.

Nearly all collectors scorned them, actually hated them.  As best I can understand, there are two reasons for the traditional overwhelmingly negative opinion of the library binding.  First, the books are library discards, and collectors have always hated any kind of library discard.  After all, a trade edition without library markings is infinitely better than a trade edition with library markings.  That's a given.  Second, a book with a library binding has been rebound, that is, bastardized.  The book was taken apart to be put back together with a substitute binding.  So it's understandable why almost nobody wanted them, and very few people thought otherwise during the 2000s.

I can think of exactly two other people who also wanted the Nancy Drew library editions during the first years in which I purchased the books.  I was able to purchase dozens of bulk lots containing some or many library editions during the 2000s.  In the early years, I typically first offered the extra books to those two people.  Whatever was left that they didn't need went on eBay in bulk lots.  I had to sell the extras for cheap, since nobody else wanted them.

It was discouraging, in a way, although at the same time I was fortunate that everyone else ignored the library editions.  That's why I own over 1,000 library editions, many of which are extremely scarce.  Some of them can be considered rare, and that's a word that I tend to avoid.  I believe that a few of my library bindings are unique examples in which my book was the only one ever bound that way.

It was incredible to have a collection of rare or unique books in a widely collected series and to know that my rare or unique library editions were unwanted by nearly all other collectors.  I typically paid around $2 to $4 for the average library edition back in the 2000s, although I sometimes had to pay significantly higher prices in the few cases in which someone bid aggressively on an eBay auction.

I mentioned my library editions in discussions during the 2000s, and the response was always a certain statement.  It went like this:  "I like the way those books look.  However, the only way I will ever buy a library binding is if I can get one in excellent condition that was never used in a library."

So those strict limits kept everyone away.  99% of library bindings were used in a library, and probably at least 75% of the books have moderate to heavy wear with library markings everywhere.  That's just how it is, so no one wanted them.

Somehow, the tide has turned, and this has taken me by surprise.  It was suggested to me recently that I had a lot to do with the change in opinion.  I undoubtedly played an important role, but other factors came into play.  I don't understand exactly what they were, but I can mention what could have influenced people.

It has been since 2010 that the interest has increased.  I think I sold a lot of library editions in individual listings on Bonanza beginning in 2009.  Bonanza was such a pretty site.  (The site still exists, but it doesn't have the charm it did in 2009.)  My Bonanza booth did attract a lot of attention via Google search and my relentless promotion of it in this blog.  It might be that people began to notice the library editions through my individual listings, which might then have sparked an interest.

I might be wrong about that, but something had happened by 2010.

In 2012, some of my library editions were featured in Country Living Magazine.  Perhaps the magazine's endorsement of the library binding and my mention of the article in this blog influenced a few people.

On August 5, 2013, the Nancy Drew Book Fans group and the Collecting Vintage Children's Series Books group were created on Facebook.  On that auspicious day, a collector commented on Jenn Fisher's Facebook timeline, suggesting that we needed groups in which to discuss Nancy Drew and other series books.  As a result of that comment, Jenn Fisher created the Nancy Drew group, and I created the series book group.  As I recall, I created the series book group, then I added Jenn and a dozen or so other people to it.  Immediately thereafter, Jenn created the Nancy Drew group, and she added me and some others.  The two groups were created within an hour or so of each other.  And off we went!

Facebook groups make it very easy to share photos.  I have shared many photos of library editions in the groups since 2013.  I believe that my images strongly increased interest in the library editions.  After all, when you see the beautiful rainbow of library bindings in the below photos, how can you possibly resist the allure of them?  The books are gorgeous when shelved together, even when they have library markings and lots of wear.

The interest further increased in around the last two to three years, especially since 2019.  A number of people who are fairly new to collecting Nancy Drew books have embraced the library binding, and their enthusiasm has influenced others.  Interest has increased so much that I am astonished.  I never thought that other collectors would ever catch up with me and share my love of all library editions.  I think library bindings are beautiful works of art.  Now others do, too!

These days, I find it very easy to sell my extra Nancy Drew library editions.  The green APC and the FLB bindings are especially in demand.

These images show recent eBay sold items.  Notice how much people are paying for individual green APC editions.  Remember that you can click on an image to see a larger version.

In the 2000s, I considered the green APC editions to be worth around $5 each.  In the last five years, I decided that they were worth around $10 each.  It's now apparent that if the books have light wear—which is the case for the books seen in the above results—that the books are worth $35 to $50 each.  Here is an image that shows two of the books that recently sold on eBay.  They are in very nice shape.

Books in rough shape are not worth as much.  Many sellers make the mistake of taking books in rough condition and pricing them like they are in excellent condition.  That's not an effective strategy.

I recently sold some green APC books that I priced at $10 to $15.  I might have gotten slightly more for some of them, but my books had some wear and tear.  I also tend to price my books on the low side.  I would rather sell the books quickly to people who want them than try to get the highest possible price.

Let's cover some of the other bindings.  Another type is the patterned binding.  One example that sold at $26 can be seen in the above eBay sold listings.

This is actually a very desirable binding, which is probably a revelation to those of you who do not collect library editions.  Country Living Magazine borrowed some of my patterned library editions for a photo shoot.  Read "Judy Bolton in Country Living Magazine" for more information.

I consider the patterned bindings to be worth $15 each if in excellent condition, but they might be worth a bit more depending on the pattern.  I have not seen enough sales results to know the actual current value.  Certainly, any book with a more striking pattern is worth more than one with a less interesting pattern.

My all-time favorite library binding is the one seen below.  I have 184 of them; yes, that's one hundred eighty-four of them.  I want every book in every color.

This binding has become difficult to find.  I have no examples of sold listings except for books I have sold and for one bulk lot shown in one of the eBay screen captures.  That bulk lot contained seven of them, but the books were in rough shape with very heavy wear.  The bulk lot was listed at $24.99, and a best offer was accepted.  The books were priced appropriately for the rough condition.

I have never sold one of these books for more than $15, but I have also never sold any in excellent condition, since I end up keeping the nicer copies when they come into my possession.  I am confident that books as nice as the ones pictured above would be valued at $35 to $50 each in the current market.

The FLB library editions have been in demand for at least five years.  Four different examples are seen below.

Nearly all of the books are pink or salmon like the one seen at the top left.  Some scattered books are blue, green, or gold, and these books are quite uncommon.  While I have seen some pink books sell at around $50 each, the value is probably more around $20 each.  The other colors would be worth a little more.  Again, keep in mind that these values are for books in excellent condition.  I do not believe that I have ever sold an FLB book for more than $10.  The books I have offered have had moderate to heavy wear.

The books seen below are from the "multi" library binding.  The covers mimic the design of the multi endpapers used inside Nancy Drew books.

I have no information on current value for these books.  I have never sold one for above $10, and I don't know how much the current buyers value them.

The Grosset and Dunlap lavender spine library edition is seen below.

The Grosset and Dunlap library edition was an official binding, so the books were not bastardized.  The collectors who scorn most library editions do want this type, but with the restriction that the books be in excellent condition and not library discards.  These books are slightly easier to find in uncirculated examples.  For all other library bindings, 99% are library discards.  For these books, probably around 80% are library discards, so uncirculated examples can be found through careful searching.  The value of uncirculated examples in excellent condition is probably $25 to $35.  That's a guess since I haven't seen many sales of them.  Circulated copies with moderate wear are worth no more than $10.

There are also other types of Nancy Drew library editions, but the above examples are the ones seen the most often.