Friday, March 19, 2021

The Popularity of the Nancy Drew Digest Series #57-175

This was intended to be a selling update, but it turned into an informational post.

It is near the end of spring break, so I will soon quit listing new items.  The eBay and Etsy stores will remain open, but new listings will be sporadic when I feel like creating them.

I have sold a large number of books in the last week, but it has barely made a dent in my backlog of books.  I will keep plugging away, and hopefully by June, the situation will be more under control.

I want to mention the current interest in and value of the Nancy Drew Digest series.  I refer to Nancy Drew #57-175.  I began collecting the softcover digests in around 1999 and the hardcover library edition digests in 2001.  

20 years ago, Nancy Drew books with dust jackets were extremely popular and sold for high prices on eBay.  Series book collectors who sold those books wouldn't have dreamed of giving a second look to the picture cover books or any other later formats.

It was around 10 years ago that I noticed some of those sellers finally listing early Nancy Drew picture covers for sale.  They had belatedly noticed that the picture covers were in greater demand than the books with dust jackets.  The demand shifts to later formats as the primary collecting group changes.  Most collectors used to be Baby Boomers.  Most Boomers now have complete collections or are downsizing.  Their favorite books, the ones with dust jackets, are no longer in great demand.

The current active collectors are primarily Generation X and Millennials.  Generation X collectors love the picture covers and may have some interest in the digests.  The Millennials certainly enjoy the picture covers and many of them are also quite fond of the digests. 

Naturally, the digests are going up in value.

The time is coming for the Nancy Drew Digest series to become the most favorite format.  The picture covers aren't going to recede in popularity anytime soon, but the digests have increased considerably in popularity.

Interestingly, I don't think most series book collectors and sellers have picked up on that quite yet.  But it has happened.

In the Facebook groups, there are the usual people who only like the books with dust jackets and speak poorly of everything else.  They typically don't get much pushback.  As always, those of us who like the later formats just stay quiet.  It's never worth it.

In my opinion, the Nancy Drew titles #57-175 are just as much real Nancy Drew books as #1-56 are.  Yes, I really do feel that way.  The titles are great.  The cover art is great.  The stories are usually good with many of them very good.  There are some stories that aren't good, but there are also some stories from the original 56 that aren't good.

The digests should not be overlooked by collectors or sellers.  The books aren't that easy to find.  The trouble is that softcover books destruct very easily.  I believe that many of them get thrown away or recycled, which means that far fewer survive than do hardcover books.

I have been listing the softcover digest books on Etsy for a few years.  The books sell very fast.  I could certainly be pricing them too low, but often, the books are not in good enough shape to justify pricing them at more than $5 to $7 each.  I'm not going to ask $15 or $20 for a book that has moderate wear.  I probably could get away with pricing the books somewhat higher, but I feel like, for the most part, I am pricing the books just fine.

I had 41 Nancy Drew Digest listings last week when I reopened my Etsy shop.  31 of them have sold.  I have now listed more of them, and I expect the books to sell fairly quickly.  Even though the last thing I need to be doing right now is buying more books, I went online and managed to source some small bulk lots of Nancy Drew Digest books.  I love helping people build their collections.  Most people don't want to mess with bulk lots since they end up with many extras, so I acquire the bulk lots and then offer the books myself.

I find that the digests are in high demand up to #128 and in moderate demand up to #159.  Take a look at this cover art gallery, and you'll see why #128 and #159 are the cutoffs.  Collectors are very influenced by formats.  I also believe that the most recent books, #160 through #175 are still quite abundant on the secondhand market, which keeps their value down.

On the subject of format, hardcover flashlight editions of #57-64 were issued by Grosset and Dunlap for a very short time.  Those books are in very high demand.  I continue to be mystified by how many people rabidly seek the Grosset and Dunlap editions of #57-64 but refuse to consider #65 and up as books worth having.  It's the format mentality.  Those people are missing out on most of the set since they are limiting themselves to one format.

Regarding value, all books up to #159 are worth more than the original cover price.  #160 through #175 are probably only worth the original cover price and some titles, like the excessively common #162, may be worth less than the original cover price.  #162 was packaged with one of Her Interactive's Nancy Drew games many years ago, which is why the book is everywhere.

Some cover art variants and some books are much more scarce.  Some second or third cover art versions for books from #57-90 are very hard to find.  #100 is much more scarce than the average title.  #113, 114, and 121 are also more scarce than most titles in the set.

And then there are the hardcover library editions.  I've blogged about them on a regular basis as I have worked on my set for the last 20 years.  Interestingly, I have had trouble selling my extras, except to just a few people who greatly desire them.  I hope that will change now that the softcover books are in such demand, especially since I currently have a large number of extras at this time.

I wrote about "The Surprising Rise of the Nancy Drew Library Edition" last year.  There are very few sales of the hardcover Nancy Drew Digest books, so it's hard to say whether interest has increased like it has for the library editions of #1-56.  I suspect that interest has increased, but there aren't enough recent known sales to have any idea.

So, I'm hopeful that I will be able to sell my extra hardcover Nancy Drew Digest listings on Etsy.  They ought to sell, since the softcover books are in demand.  The only reason I began collecting the hardcover digests was to have hardcover copies to read.  For that reason alone, the hardcover books should now begin to be very desirable since the softcover books are so popular.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

You will find an eclectic mixture of many series on eBay including some very scarce books.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

On Etsy, I focus on the Dana Girls, Nancy Drew, the Three Investigators, and Trixie Belden.  Currently, most of my Nancy Drew books are listed on Etsy. 

Since my eBay store was closed for seven months, I lost my Best Match search ranking on eBay.  My Nancy Drew books are not selling on eBay, since they are suppressed in the search results.  I do fine with all other series on eBay since eBay cannot hide my books when the search contains few results.

Since buyers can spot my Nancy Drew books easily on Etsy, I am listing most of them on Etsy for now.

1 comment:

TheBargainSleuth said...

I collect the different cover art of the original series. About two years ago I only had 5 Digest covers to collect, and a few months ago finally finished this part of my collection through one of the FB groups. The problem collectors are going to have, and my problem with obtaining that last digest, was stock photos being used on sites. I must have asked 20 different sellers about which edition they were selling, ended up buying 5 or six that were all the wrong edition. Thankfully there are other sources than eBay and some of the big bulk book sellers.