Thursday, February 24, 2022

Gatekeeping of Opinions in the Facebook Groups

Some people are extremely intolerant of differing opinions.  Just this week, I noticed two instances in the Facebook groups of people getting offended over someone's opinion and asking that the post or comment be deleted from the group.  If it's one of my groups, I'm not having that.  I'm not going to censor opinions.

I will say, before I continue, that I was put in a very difficult position after the Nancy Drew series began airing on The CW.  I allowed discussions in one group that I moderate.  The people who didn't like the show (actually just one person) made repetitive comments every single week about how much they hated the show.  They weren't even watching it!  I have gotten to the point where I just ignore everything this person says.  I'm able to do that.  It's kind of a superpower I have where I can just let my eyes skim over certain people's comments and not take in enough of the content to be annoyed.  I know who to tune out, and I do.

Other people have more trouble doing that.  I was in the middle of two factions.  There were the people who were extremely annoyed about the negative comments, and the people making the negative comments.  The people making the negative comments didn't want to be censored.  I do agree with that sentiment, but I also believe that people shouldn't be obnoxious.  So, I quite well understood the people who wanted the negative comments squelched.  It was tough having to navigate through that time.  I wrote about it in "Finding a Middle Ground to Discuss CW's Nancy Drew."

There has also been some conflict and gatekeeping this week concerning discussion of CW's Nancy Drew, but thankfully not in any group that I moderate.  In one of those groups, someone made a statement about Ace and his relationship with Nancy.  Paraphrasing, it was to the effect that Ace isn't good enough for Nancy and so they shouldn't be together.

Nace shippers became upset and wanted the comment removed because they considered it to be deeply offensive.  Other people were more rational, saying that there was nothing wrong with the comment and that it was an opinion.

Right!  I am not a Nace shipper, and their relationship does nothing for me.  I would prefer for them not to be together.  Don't get me wrong; I adore Ace.  I'm just not into the Nace thing at all.  I'd rather them just be good pals.  I am mostly staying away from the CW Nancy Drew forums because of all the fan art and sappiness about Nace. 

I keep my opinion about Nace very quiet on Facebook because the Nace shippers can't tolerate a different opinion.  I am resigned that Nancy and Ace will be together, but I was totally Team Agent Park during the third season. 

I was annoyed about that attempt at gatekeeping.  It is apparent that the Nace shippers do not believe that anyone has the right to say anything against Nace.  

I run a group about vintage teen books, like Sweet Valley High and others.  Someone posted about the book Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack!  The book is not about what it sounds like, and I think we would have been better off if Dinky had used heroin.   

I haven’t read the book, but apparently Dinky Hocker is overweight and tries to help other overweight kids, possibly trying to force them to diet.  Something like that.

What happened is that somebody looked up the book and found out about the overweight characters.  They said that the book featured fat-shaming and bullying.  Someone else responded to that comment saying that social norms were different back in those days and that the book should be read with an open mind.  The first person then went off on the second person, calling them a "mansplaining male" and saying that they were trying to explain women and eating disorders.  The first person then reported the second person's comment to the mods. 

That was when I saw the comment thread.  I was annoyed that someone was wasting my time on a comment that did not need to be removed.  There is nothing wrong with someone saying that things were different years ago and that we have to keep that in mind.  That person is entitled to say what they want.  I instead thought that the "mansplaining" comment was the inappropriate one.  I thought about removing it.  I then decided that I didn't want my time wasted having to watch over the post.  I did not remove any comments, and I closed commenting. 

I wrote this as my reason:

Members - It's apparent that we aren't going to be able to continue discussing this post.  Someone reported a comment, which expressed an opinion.  Members do have a right to their opinion, even if you think they are wrong or even if they are actually wrong.  I will not censor comments when they express a member's opinion about a book.  Comments are now closed.

A few years back in another group, a member contacted me, telling me to tell another member to quit commenting on his posts.  Say what?  I'm not touching that.  Members have a right to comment on any post.  I suggested that this member block the other member.  Wouldn't that make sense?  I didn't need to be involved.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Thin Grosset and Dunlap Nancy Drew Books

During the 1970s, Grosset and Dunlap printed some Nancy Drew books in a rather thin picture cover edition.  Collectors often mistake these books for the pirated editions from Taiwan.

Taiwanese Nancy Drew Books

The first photo seen below shows some Nancy Drew picture cover books, which are all the actual Grosset and Dunlap books.  Some of the rather thin Grosset and Dunlap books were placed in the middle of the group.  The thin books are #6, 34, 52, and 52 in about the middle of the photo.  These four books are about the thickness of the most thick of the pirated books.

You will need to click on the image in order to see it clearly.

This next photo shows the pirated books from Taiwan.  Most of them are noticeably different in appearance from the Grosset and Dunlap books.

Some are close in appearance to the Grosset and Dunlap books.

The following photo shows the four thin Grosset and Dunlap books to the left followed by the five thickest of the pirated books, which are the ones that look the most like Grosset and Dunlap books.

The thickness is about the same, but the yellow on the pirated spines looks to be a bit washed-out.  Most notably, the spine symbols of the pirated editions are a good bit smaller.  All of the print is smaller on the spines.  The vertical edges of the spines of the pirated editions are more flat and less rounded than the Grosset and Dunlap editions. 

Being aware of these differences will help those searching for the pirated editions from being tricked by thin regular editions seen in online listings.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Girl Scouts in the Ozarks by Nancy Nance

I have owned Girl Scouts in the Ozarks for three years.  I wanted to try it before selling it, but I had not been motivated enough to follow through.  Since I have had trouble enjoying most books in recent months, I decided to give the book a try. 

I first ran an online search, where I saw that Kirkus Reviews declares the book to be "a much better girl scout book than the average run."  I know better than to trust Kirkus Reviews, since the reviews tend to offer the opposite opinion of what I think about most books, but I was nevertheless swayed into trying the book.

The characters are not described at all except for one girl who is more timid and another who is adventurous.  The reader learns nothing about the girls' lives, hair color, personalities, or anything else.  Having eight girls rapidly introduced without any description makes a book hard to start reading.

Depending upon what one wants in a book, the book could be considered good to very good.  I am not the target audience, which is girls who are interested in scouting.  I found some stretches of text to be interesting while others bored me.

The reader gets a heavy dose of Ozark lore, fishing, frog-hunting, squirrel-hunting, bird-watching, folk song lyrics, cooking, dialect, and identification of flowers and trees.  This is excellent content for those who want a book about scouting and all that it entails.  I did find some of it to be interesting; however, I would rather just read about a great adventure.  The two protagonists do experience an adventure towards the end of the story when they are held captive by moonshiners.  

I dislike the illustrations.  Interestingly, I found a review shown on a page about scouting books where the illustrations are said to be "striking in their woodcut simplicity."  

While the illustrations are striking, I still don't care for them.  Like with anything, it's a matter of personal taste.  I mentally compared these illustrations to the ones from the Nancy Drew books of the 1970s.  Those are considered awful by most collectors, but I would rather see illustrations like those in a book.

The same review says that the dialect is handled skillfully.  While that may be true, I hate reading dialect in books.  I don't enjoy having to sound out the dialect to figure out what is being said.  In this book, "b'ile" means "boil."  I kept pausing each time it came up.  By halfway through the book, I was used to it and knew immediately what it meant.

I skimmed some of the dialect, and I skipped the song lyrics and some of the information about bird species and tree identification.

I found some parts of the book to be very good and other parts not very interesting.  The book contains some really good information about life in the Ozarks during the early 20th century.  I do have a generally positive opinion of this book.  The book might be very good, but for me personally, it is overall just good.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Facebook's Problematic Approach to Groups

Facebook is the cause of most all problems I have with the groups.  Actually, just one group is a big problem, Collecting Vintage Children's Series Books.  Last month, I wrote about the problems in that group

The root cause is that Facebook promotes the groups to random people.  My experience last night proved this to me, even though I was already certain.  Before I get to that, I want to mention my news feed.

Facebook continually places posts in my feed that are not even slightly of interest to me.  Sometimes what is chosen is close enough that I find the content to be of some interest.  But they also place really odd stuff in my feed, and I wonder what I did to trigger the algorithm to choose me for that content. 

Just a few days ago, Facebook placed multiple posts in my feed featuring Black social justice content.  It was a random selection, yet somehow not since I saw posts from multiple Facebook pages featuring similar content. 

Awhile back, Facebook spent around a week presenting me with various recording artists, all of whom were completely unknown to me.  Presenting me with random stuff makes no sense.  The algorithm is apparently designed with the goal of creating growth by throwing random content at users.  All it does is make me want to flee.

Facebook does present me with posts from some Facebook pages run by Queen fans.  This at least is logical since I am a member of several Queen groups.  However, when the posts are presented to me, they are disconcertingly numerous.  Facebook is trying to force me to like one certain page in particular.  Enough!  

I find it curious that I have never once seen anything featuring the Bee Gees.  I am not a member of any Bee Gees groups.  I find a large percent of Facebook content to be frustratingly inane, so I am wary of the Bee Gees groups.  

I also don't follow the official Bee Gees page.  I'm not interested in the kinds of posts made by that account.  I choose venues other than Facebook for Bee Gees discussion. 

Still, it doesn't make sense why I haven't triggered Facebook's algorithm.  I created a Bee Gees blog and Facebook page in December, which I have not followed up on yet, so nobody follows either one.  Google knows I did this, since Google knows everything.  Google even owns Blogger.  That aside, Google shares its search information with Facebook almost immediately.  I can use Google to find a certain website, and then I'll be on Facebook a short time later seeing an ad for that site.  

Just the existence of the Bee Gees Facebook page tied to my account ought to trigger the algorithm.  Despite all the technology behind Facebook, the site is woefully inept.  Facebook's algorithm is too flawed to see what should be obvious.  Instead, it suggests recording artists not remotely connected to anything I have seen in my entire life.

I am placing a link to the Bee Gees blog and Facebook page here just to see if Google will begin to index them.  This blog of mine should have a high enough Google ranking to help the situation.

My World of the Bee Gees Facebook page

My World of the Bee Gees Blog

My idea is to post photos of all of my Bee Gees stuff, and the Series Books for Girls blog is not the place for that.  That content needs to be somewhere else, so that's my plan once I feel like taking the time to execute it.

Going back to the series book groups, I don't enjoy most of them very much.  This is because of the troublemakers and people who try to use the groups as their own personal playgrounds.  It is hard to handle these people, and it is hard to know when to finally say enough.

I do like my own private group, Jennifer's Series Books.  I have one membership question:  "Why do you want to join this group?"  Prospective members who are the ones I want will have no problem answering this question to my satisfaction. 

I mentioned my group on my Facebook page last night.  I had a few people request to join who answered the question fine.  I approved them.

I had a few people who were probably okay due to which groups they were already in, but the question was not answered.  I declined and told them that I required the question be answered as a formality.  A couple of those people promptly answered and were approved. 

I also had a few people ask to join who appeared to have no connection to any of the series book groups.  Those people did not answer the question.  I declined, saying that the question needed to be answered.  So far, those people have not tried again.  Hmm...

I do believe Facebook suggested my little group to a few random people last night.  Gee, thanks Facebook.  Quit doing that. 

Requiring an appropriate answer to the question prevents the random people from joining.  The questions have also been added to the series book groups that I manage.  Just yesterday, someone answered, "I LOVE BOOKSSS!" to the question.  Based on that vague response and my intuition, I declined the request.

It's too bad that Facebook didn't have the membership question feature 10 years ago, because the series book groups would not be in such a mess if we had been able to approve only the people who truly fit.

Jennifer's Series Books Group on Facebook (The membership question must be answered!)

The group is basically for people who follow my Facebook page, this blog, or me in some aspect.  Posts will often mirror the posts from the Facebook page, although sometimes I post something in one place and not the other.  Posts will usually be about series books but also sometimes vintage teen books or other books that I have read.  I will sometimes mention buying and selling topics.  I will occasionally mention when I have listed a bunch of books for sale.  I don't do that very often since I dislike promoting myself.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Nancy Drew Diaries #23 The Blue Lady of Coffin Hall

In Nancy Drew Diaries #23, The Blue Lady of Coffin Hall, Nancy helps Ned investigate a haunted library, which he plans to feature in his podcast.  The spirit of Harriet Coffin, known as the Blue Lady, is said to be haunting the tower room of Coffin Hall.

The ghostwriter of this book is well-versed in series book lore.  Easter eggs are scattered throughout the text.  The tower room in the library and the librarian's name, Irene, are obvious nods to the Judy Bolton series.  The name Harriet is a nod to Harriet Stratemeyer Adams of the Stratemeyer Syndicate.

The Blue Lady has a glowing dress, which reminds me of the revised text version of The Mystery at Lilac Inn.

The reader learns on page 45 that Bess has started carrying poetry books around with her.  She reads her favorite lines to her friends.  This reminds me of Wilma in the Kay Tracey series.

I also noted some names, words, and phrases that loosely reminded me of various series books: weird blue light, automatic ghost-alert system, and hoaxers.  They could be just coincidence, but I believe that the ghostwriters who place series book lore into their stories also use words and phrases that they know will make the readers think of certain books and stories.  One ghostwriter placed words referring to the original 56 Nancy Drew books all through one of the Nancy Drew Girl Detective books.

The cover art pays homage to the Nancy Drew television series from The CW.  Nancy wears a scarf, carries a shoulder bag, and is wearing a locket.  Take a look at this press photo from episode 3.01 of CW's Nancy Drew in which Nancy can be seen with the shoulder bag and scarf.  She is also wearing the locket, but it is almost completely hidden by the scarf.

Whether Harriet Coffin's ghost is real is left unresolved.  This is similar to The Kachina Doll Mystery.  It could also be considered a nod to CW's version of Nancy Drew, which has leaned hard into the supernatural, unlike any past version of Nancy Drew.

The culprit is quite predictable.  Without getting into the specific details, something gave it away early in the book, so I knew the identity of one of the culprits from near the beginning.

The characterization of Ned is off.  He's depicted as a bit too scared.  That said, the inconsistency with Ned fits in with the continuing inconsistency of the entire Nancy Drew Diaries series. The tone and characterization change with each book since the series apparently has quite a few ghostwriters and little oversight from the editors.

I found the ending to be odd and a bit confusing.  After I finished, I couldn't figure out exactly what the deal is with the culprits.  I also couldn't decide if this book is sabotage.  I would say that this book is not true sabotage, but it could be interpreted as having a sabotage aspect.  There is other stuff going on.

I make note of whether the Nancy Drew Diaries books are sabotage because it has been an overused plot device for many years and has gotten old.  This book doesn't come across as true sabotage, so it isn't tiring like the blatant sabotage books.

I felt that this was a pretty good book right after I finished reading it.  I must say that now that some time has passed, I feel that the book is just good.  It's like I have a somewhat negative feeling about the book even though I enjoyed reading it.  This has happened to me before with some of the Nancy Drew Diaries books.

Each time the Nancy Drew Diaries series is mentioned on Facebook, someone asks if the books are good.  That question is impossible to answer.  I certainly can't give a blanket rating of "good" to the series.  Some books are good, some great, some stupid, and one is the worst Nancy Drew book ever

Fans also ask if the books are like the old Nancy Drew books.  The series cannot be like the old Nancy Drew books because it is in first person.  Aside from that, a few books are similar in a modern fashion, but the series is all over the place.  It cannot be compared to any of the older Nancy Drew books.  The set is inconsistent.  Quality control is needed, although recent books have been a great improvement.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Moonstone Mystery Romance #6 When Darkness Falls by Barbara Corcoran, 1985

Keeping tabs on a pack of ten-year-olds isn't the easiest job Julie's ever had, but working as a camp counselor has its rewards, too.  Like meeting Mark, the tall, blue-eyed hiking counselor who seems as nice as he is good-looking.

But then Pat, one of Julie's campers, suddenly disappears, and Mark turns cold and distant.  He's hiding a sinister secret behind that charming smile, and it might have something to do with Pat.  If only Julie can discover what Mark is up to - then she can be sure that Pat, and her own heart, are safe. 

I mentioned in two of my other reviews that I looked for anything that could refer to Nancy Drew or other series books as I read through this set, since the title of the series appears to be a nod to the Nancy Drew book, The Moonstone Castle Mystery.

I found several names in this book that might or might not mean anything.  Bungalows are mentioned.  Some character names are Dana, Joe, and Aunt Harriet.

This is a suspenseful and very good book.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Moonstone Mystery Romance #5 Something Out There by Leslie Davis, 1985

This is by far the easiest title to acquire in the series since it was reprinted as an Especially for Girls book club edition hardcover.  Unfortunately, the book club edition is the only one that can be found without a lot of trouble.  The original paperback is a bit hard to find, just as all of the other books in this series are hard to find.

At home on beautiful Massachusetts Bay, Chips is enjoying the best summer ever.  Her sailing school is a big success, and so is her romance with gorgeous soccer star Ryan Kennedy. 

So why does Chips also get a crush on Jeff, the boy her parents have hired to guard their house?  And why is he acting suspiciously?  Is he involved in the robberies that have frightened everyone in town?  Suddenly, lots of scary things are happening fast.  Soon Chips is awash in real danger - stranded at an abandoned lighthouse in a raging storm, face to face with a rescuer who may be a deadly foe!

I believe that this series was named as a nod to the Nancy Drew book, The Moonstone Castle Mystery.  This book mentions Nancy Drew multiple times.  Chips' boyfriend calls her "Nancy Drew" to tease her about being suspicious of certain events.

From page 83 of the Especially for Girls edition:

Chips settled into the couch, looking up from her book only occasionally whenever a June bug butted against the screen in an effort to reach the lighted room.

She had scanned Melissa's old collection of Nancy Drew mysteries and had chosen one about a lighthouse.  Maybe, she thought with a smile, it would tell her how to recognize clues or convince doubting boyfriends to take her seriously.

Skimming the pages, she found herself engrossed in the story and laughing at the heavy weather, foggy nights, and strangers in the shadows.  When the scratching began on the screen, she didn't look up at first because she thought more bugs were flapping against the mesh.

There are some things about Chips' behavior that I find annoying, but aside from that, this book is quite enjoyable.  I consider it to be overall very good.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

The Drina Ballet Series

I love buying books online.  I would not have most of what I own if not for online shopping.  But online shopping has its limitations.  I must know exactly what I want in order to find books online.  I cannot just browse randomly and find books that are new to me.  That is, not usually.  In a rare case of the stars aligning, I discovered the existence of the American Adventure series one evening in early 2020 via my eBay feed.  That sort of experience seldom occurs.  I am so grateful for when it does.

Since finding new books to read online is difficult and often impossible, brick-and-mortar bookstores remain important.  Nothing can replace seeing shelves of books in person, holding and examining them, and reading the first few pages to see if the books are of interest.  

In July 2021, I chanced to see two of the Drina Ballerina books in a local bookstore.  Actually, I saw them, reflected on how attractive they were, and then left the books behind.  There was no way I would ever want to read a book about a young dancer.  I've tried reading some of the Wildfire and Sweet Dreams books about dancers and found the books full of extensive detail about dancing that is uninteresting to me.  I wasn't going to make the mistake of buying the books.

The next time I was in the store later that month, the Drina Ballerina books beckoned to me.  I couldn't leave the books behind a second time even though I thought that I could never read them.  The books were so pretty!  I purchased them.

In around October 2021, I decided to try the first book, Ballet for Drina.  The book was really good.  I made it to page 52, then I made myself quit.  I needed all of the books in the set.

I discovered that the first six books in the series were published in the nice hardcover Collins edition in the United Kingdom during the 1970s.  The set was given the name "Collins Ballet Library."  Unfortunately, the rest of the series was not published by Collins.  Those books are, in my opinion, not very attractive books in comparison.  They are fine, but the Collins editions are exquisite.  

The Collins editions are actually reprints of the first six books, since they had previously been issued in hardcover with dust jacket.  I decided that I wanted to get the first six books in the Collins edition, and then I would settle for softcover editions of the remaining titles.

The Drina Ballerina series was written by Mabel Esther Allan under the pseudonym Jean Estoril.  The set consists of the following titles.

 1.  Ballet for Drina, 1957
 2.  Drina's Dancing Year, 1958
 3.  Drina Dances in Exile, 1959
 4.  Drina Dances in Italy, 1959
 5.  Drina Dances Again, 1960
 6.  Drina Dances in New York, 1960
 7.  Drina Dances in Paris, 1962
 8.  Drina Dances in Madeira, 1963
 9.  Drina Dances in Switzerland, 1964
10.  Drina Goes on Tour, 1965
11.  Drina Ballerina, 1991

I decided not to purchase #11.  Online reviews indicate that it doesn't read the same as the other books since it was written decades later.  I did manage to procure all of #1-6 in the Collins edition (with great difficulty!) and the remaining titles in relatively inexpensive softcover books.

I have now read the first book and have barely started on the second book.  The first book is excellent.  The second book begins four days after the first book ends, so the books do need to be read in order. 

I scanned the beginning pages of the first book so that you can sample it.  This is allowed under fair use.

You will have to click on the images in order to read the text.  

I hope that I continue to enjoy the books.  I have have a number of bad experiences with series where I enjoy the first book and then the series goes downhill.  Hopefully that is not the case with these books, especially considering how hard it was to build the set.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Moonstone Mystery Romance #4 Fatal Secrets

I had purchased all of the Moonstone Mystery Romance books but couldn't find #4 Fatal Secrets when I decided to read through the set.  I knew I had ordered the book, but it was nowhere to be found.  I finally figured out where I purchased the book.  The seller had marked it as shipped with no tracking number.  That always makes me wonder if the book was ever shipped.  I realized that I had never received the book and sent a shipping query.  The seller responded, saying that the book was mailed right after it was purchased but that it had apparently been lost in the mail.  I received a full refund.

I really had to wonder whether the book was ever mailed.  The seller still had it up for sale on a different site.  Did the seller still have the book, or was the listing a phantom listing?

I found exactly one other book for sale online, from a seller of whom I am wary since this person sent the wrong edition of a book the last time I ordered from her.  I decided to give it a try.  The seller cancelled the order, saying that she couldn't find the book.  How splendid.  Also, not helpful.

No copies of Fatal Secrets were available, other than the phantom listing mentioned above.  I have this obsession where I must have every book in a set while reading the set.  I needed the book immediately.  So, I looked into downloads.  The book was on some shady sites that required a credit card number.  I wasn't about to give away a credit card number.

I then found that the Internet Archive had the book scanned.  I love it when the actual book has been scanned and not reformatted.  I signed up for a free membership and was able to borrow the book for one hour.

It took me 35 minutes to screen capture all of the scans and save them to the cloud.  I was then content, since I had all six books, even if one was digital only.  

#4 Fatal Secrets by Linda A. Cooney, 1985

"Run, Kate!"  David yelled.  But the powerful older man grabbed David viciously by the front of his shirt and shoved his gun under David's chin.  I was unguarded, but afraid to do anything that would cause him to pull the trigger.  

He dragged David across the lab.  Tying David's wrists to a pole with the wiry twine, he spewed out a horrifying set of orders.  

"As soon as I've got him tied, I'll get the girl."  Then, he said to his partner, "I want you to turn on every gas jet in this dump.  Turn them on high.  I see on the shelf they've got kerosene in one of those chemical vats.  That'll make a great lighter.  We're going to make a little kerosene bomb..."

I believe that "moonstone" in the name of this series is a reference to Nancy Drew, since one book in the Nancy Drew series is titled The Moonstone Castle Mystery.  For that reason, I have looked for anything that could refer to Nancy Drew in these books.  In this book, a character is named Bess and another one is named Carolyn.  A bungalow is mentioned.  This could just be coincidence, but Nancy Drew is directly mentioned multiple times in the next book in the series.

On page 71, I was appalled that high school students had open access to a chemical shed with dangerous chemicals including sulfuric acid.  Wow.

This is an excellent book.  It's too bad that it's impossible to find.  Thank goodness a digital copy is available online.

Friday, February 4, 2022

A Postage Dilemma + Many Books Listed

I have a lot of time right now for listing books since we had a snowstorm Wednesday and Thursday.  School was closed beginning on Wednesday, resulting in an unexpected five-day break.  

I have listed quite a few books on eBay.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

I am in the process of listing many books on Etsy.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

I really need to raise the postage I charge for a single book.  I have been charging $3.95 postage since 2008.  $3.95 does not cover my cost even for lighter books like a Grosset and Dunlap picture cover.  I take on even more of a loss when the book is thick, since the weight ends up at over one pound.

I ought to raise the amount to $4.95, and I took the time to think about this thoroughly yesterday.  The problem is that many sellers continue to charge under $4.00 for postage.  I ran a search for "Nancy Drew" yesterday and looked at listings that offered a single book for sale.  Many of the listings have just $3.19 as the postage charge.  This is the one-pound media mail base rate that is charged by the post office.  These sellers aren't even charging for their own supplies, such as tape, an envelope or box, paper for the postage label, and ink to print the label.  This makes no sense!  Sellers need to quit undervaluing themselves.  

That's where my problem is.  My supplies add over $1.00 to my postage cost.  When I mail a package media mail for $3.19, my actual cost is around $4.50.  However, that is not even my total cost.  Whatever I charge for postage on eBay or Etsy is assessed a fee by the site.  Yes, I pay a selling fee on the postage charge.  This means that when I charge $3.95 postage, I'm not even getting that amount.  Factoring in the site's fees, my actual cost to mail a single book is around $5.00, if the book can be mailed at the one-pound rate.  Heavier books end up costing over $5.00.

Each year that the media mail rates increase, my loss on the $3.95 charge worsens.  Yet I cannot raise my charge when so many sellers charge only $3.19.

Actually, I could raise my postage charge.  I thought about this at length yesterday.  Some sellers do charge $5.00 to $6.00 postage for a single book.  A somewhat higher postage charge usually doesn't stop me from buying a book, at least not for a single book and certainly not for an expensive book.

I have decided not to purchase some bulk lots because of high charges.  Some sellers will only mail via priority mail.  For a heavy lot, priority mail is way too expensive.  If I see a $50 shipping charge on a listing that I know could be mailed for under $20, then I tend not to make the purchase.

Even though I usually will not back out of single-book purchases where the postage is on the high end, I believe that the average buyer of an easy-to-find book might very well back out.  I believe this because of how many people try to get me to take less for inexpensive books.  I have had people contact me trying to get me to lower a price from $5.00 to $4.00 or something similar.  Those people will balk at a $4.95 postage cost.  Of course, those people probably won't purchase from me anyway. 

I also often have people want me to break up a lot so that they can get one item.  Here is a very recent example.  

A buyer contacted me wanting me to sell just the ABBA issue.  I didn't respond, because I was pretty sure that I knew what they expected.  They probably wanted to get the ABBA issue for one-fourth of the current price, or at least for one-fourth of the current price plus a reasonable amount for postage.  From my end, that would not be logical.  It would be great for the buyer.

I am giving the four issues away as it is.  I may even take a loss.  I just want the issues gone, since they were extras in with other purchases.  I never wanted them.

I also hope that the ABBA issue sells the lot.  That's why I have that issue fully visible in the photo.  I know that ABBA is the most desirable of the artists featured.  If I sell the ABBA issue separately, then I won't be able to sell the rest.

Going back to postage, I finally decided not to raise my postage charge.  I instead will expand upon what I have just barely started doing, which is to add one or two dollars to the item price of single books to cover the postage that way.  Expect to see more and more of my $9.99 books priced at $10.99 or $11.99.  I need to cover it somehow, and that is the best way.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Moonstone Mystery Romance #2 The Shadowed Path and #3 Dangerous Beat

#2 The Shadowed Path by Barbara Corcoran, 1985

When a accident forces Phyllis to stay alone at a lake cabin, she isn't afraid - at first.  Her new friend David, a local boy, visits her every day.  And Ron, the smooth young man in the next cabin, is very attentive. 

But the sound of a helicopter landing at night, and a stranger with a gun, convince Phyllis that Ron is involved in deep trouble.  Soon she's caught in a sinister plot, a prisoner of her own suspicions.  She's seen too much - and unless help arrives at the last minute, she'll never escape alive! 

It was obvious from early in the story exactly which young man couldn't be trusted.  Even though I already knew where the plot would go, the story was still very suspenseful.  The last part of the story is more what one would expect from a boy's book with grave danger as Phyllis is held captive.

This is a very good book.

#3 Dangerous Beat by Charlotte Flynn, 1985

Jennifer loves her summer job helping the record critic of the local paper.  Through work, she meets two terrific boys - Billy, the fun-loving manager of a local rock group and Ken, the main source of information for her first big story.

But now, strange thefts haunt the newsroom; a mysterious death plagues Jen's budding story, and Ken warns her to get off the story and stay off!  Suddenly, the cub reporter is in over her head in a whirl of crime and danger where she had hoped to find romance.

Suspicion was cast on both boys in this book, but it was apparent to me from early in the story which one was the culprit.  That did not reduce my enjoyment of the book at all.  

This is an excellent story.