Sunday, July 31, 2022

Shipping Charge Update + Store Hiatus

In February in my post "A Postage Dilemma + Many Books Listed," I explained that I take a loss on postage when I sell books.  I have left my postage charge for a single book at $3.95 since 2008.  That amount has been inadequate for years.  Early this year I wanted to raise my postage charge to $4.95 but decided against it, since most sellers were charging just the base rate of $3.19 in their listings.

The USPS raised rates again this month.  I mailed out several packages this week, and the media mail postage increase grabbed my attention.  The one-pound rate is now $3.49.  I cannot continue charging just $3.95 for the first book.  That is over.  

I also mailed out a Three Investigators book that went at the two-pound rate for $4.16.  This means that I charged only $3.95 to mail a book for $4.16, and my packaging costs added at least $1.50 to the postage charge.  

I immediately went into my listings and changed my postage charge to $4.45 on listings for books that will go at the one-pound rate.  Heavier books like the Three Investigators now have a postage charge of $4.95.  My charges of $4.45 and $4.95 are still inadequate, but I want to increase gradually and not go all the way to $5.95, which is what I should be charging to mail one book.

For now, I have left the combined shipping amount at $0.60 for each additional book.  I still have the free shipping promotion for purchases of $35 or over.  I will have to assess whether the free shipping promotion should change to a higher minimum order amount, but that is a decision for later in the year.

My listings will be deactivated by the end of the day on Wednesday, August 3.  I may even pull them the night of August 2.  I expect my listings will be down for at least a few weeks.  Beyond that, I have no idea.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Late July Pandemic Update: Covid Continues

The pandemic isn't quite over, even though most people think that it is.  This month really brought that home to me.

I have had a busy summer.  I have quite a few additional responsibilities that are taking up a lot of my time.  I won't be free from all of those additional responsibilities when school starts soon.  

I was tremendously stressed in May and June.  As a result, I had missed the important development that our vaccines no longer protect us well from getting Covid-19. 

On the morning of July 14, I was trudging into Walmart, feeling not that great.  I noticed that both arms, both legs, and both feet were aching a lot.  While it seemed a bit much, I concluded that my autoimmunity was acting up.  I didn't think anything else of it.  In the early afternoon, my nose became runny.  I still didn't think anything of it, but I became rather tired.  I decided to lie down.

I woke up around 7 PM, and my skin was hot.  My temperature was 102.5 degrees.  I knew then that I had a virus.  I get autoimmune flares where I will have a transitory fever of up to 100.5 degrees, but a temperature of 102.5 degrees is not from an autoimmune flare.  

I initially refused to consider Covid-19 and wondered if the flu were still going around.  I laugh when I think about it, but I had read in June that the flu was still active.  It wasn't an impossible idea.  I checked the CDC's flu watch page and learned that the flu is still circulating at low levels. 

(Note:  The CDC typically quits tracking the flu during the spring months, but this year, they have continued to update their page due to continued flu activity all summer.  The flu season never ended this year.)   

At the same time, I knew that I was grasping at straws.  I had to face the truth.  

I spoke to my mother, who complained that she had felt off all day long.  I asked if it could be a virus.  She said that it was a possibility.  We took rapid tests, and both of us tested positive for Covid-19.

It got me.  I avoided Covid-19 for 30 months, and it finally got me.

On July 15, my father tested positive.  Before that, he was also in denial.  He had wondered if my result could have been a false positive since the test was slightly expired.  I replied, "My sense of smell is 90% gone.  This is covid."

All three of us are vaccinated and had gotten the first booster shot.  None of us had gotten the second booster shot, but I doubt that it would have prevented the infections.  The vaccines are based on the original Covid-19 virus, and the current Omicron variants are evading the vaccines.  

Fortunately, my sense of smell rapidly returned.  I more than halfway lost my sense of taste, and I also lost my appetite.  Now two weeks later, both have mostly returned.

My symptoms were mild.  I was not right for around four to five days with general malaise and tiredness.  I never got shortness of breath and never had a cough.  My parents also had mild symptoms overall.  My father did get a mild cough.  My mother took longer to clear the virus and had a more severe loss of appetite and tiredness.  

I am certain that the vaccines prevented us from getting more severe symptoms.  All three of us are at high-risk for serious complications of Covid-19.  We are fortunate that we are vaccinated and that we were able to avoid complications. 

I was chagrined that I got the virus, since I had not been wearing a mask in June and early July.  I felt at first like I could have avoided getting the virus if I had been more careful.  However, I was continuing to stay away from people in stores and was being cautious even though not wearing a mask.  I feel that I would have gotten the virus anyway since the vaccines no longer offer good protection against infection.  Omicron BA.5 is extremely infectious.  

As I have done the last two years, I will be shutting down my eBay and Etsy stores in advance of the beginning of the upcoming school year.  I go back to work on August 5, so I anticipate that I will deactivate all my listings no later than August 3.  I like to let everyone know as a courtesy in case anyone is interested in a listing and wants to make a purchase before the listings are deactivated.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

I do not know how long the listings will be deactivated.  It depends upon how everything goes.

I expect that this school year will have a very rocky start.  The last two school years were very difficult with last year far worse.  I teach Algebra 2, and my students from last year were in Algebra I during the 2019-2020 school year, which was a mostly normal school year.  However, those students lost the last nine weeks of their Algebra I course during the pandemic school shutdown in spring 2020.  Last year was a mighty struggle since my students missed the most important Algebra I topics during the shutdown.  It took us most of last school year to overcome that skill loss.

The students I will have this coming school year took Algebra I during our blended learning school year, 2020-2021.  For three-fourths of that school year, they attended school in-person only two days per week.  During that year, students became experts at cheating with Photomath (an app that solves any math problem photographed by the app's user, showing all steps).  The students learned very little during blended learning since they did their homework at home by using Photomath.  This year's students might have even larger skill deficits than last year's group.

Compounding the problem is that Covid-19 is running rampant in Oklahoma right now.  School will likely be a bit chaotic as it starts.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

June 2022 Book Finds

My June 2022 book finds were very similar to my April 2022 book finds including one big book find.

In early June, I purchased these books.

Nancy Drew #32 The Scarlet Slipper Mystery is a book with double oval endpapers.  I purchase any copy that I find that is in nice shape with good quality paper.  Collectors should keep an open mind about these books.  When they have very light wear and good quality paper, they have a certain appeal.  I have grown to like them a lot, and a few other people do as well.

I was one of the very first people to collect the Nancy Drew library editions, and I was the most enthusiastic of the very few who did.  Now I'm one of the very few people to decide to collect the double oval editions.  Will collecting the double oval editions catch on someday?

Nancy Drew #46 The Invisible Intruder is the first printing.

I purchased the Knightmare books because similar books from the 1980s are not easy to find.  

In late June, I found this Oz book in dust jacket.

I found more Hardy Boys Wanderer edition paperbacks.

I purchased a Phyllis Whitney book, a tweed Nancy Drew book, and two Choose Your Own Adventure books.

And then I found a bunch of Three Investigators books.  In April, I was startled when I found quite a few Three Investigators books.  This time, I wasn't surprised.  Why wouldn't I find more of them?  

14 of the books are trade edition hardcover books.

Six of the books are Gibraltar library editions.  The Gibraltar editions have a higher-quality binding than the trade editions.

Two of my three best-ever Three Investigators finds have occurred this year.