Friday, September 30, 2022

Getting Back into the Routine of Selling

I sold my first listing: a bulk lot of Pike and Stine books.  I have to get back into my routine; I'm a bit rusty.  I was starting to pack the books, then I remembered that I'm going to run out of blank packing paper before too long.  I stopped packing and made an order.  I started again, and then forgot an important step.  I had to start over and took this picture as I neared finishing with getting the books packed inside the box.  

This isn't a good time for me to be selling again, since I had more dental work done a week ago.  The dental work caused a fairly significant autoimmune flare, which is still affecting me.  Additionally, my mental attitude regarding school isn't great due to problems caused by the pandemic.  We are trying to claw our way out of a deep hole.  It's probably going to take a few years. 

I'm selling the Pike and Stine books only because of the upcoming Netflix series based on Pike's books.  Otherwise, I wouldn't have anything for sale.

Parent/Teacher Conferences are one night next week and one night the following week, so those days will be exhausting.  It's for the best that I don't have very many listings at this time.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay (with just Pike and Stine books plus a Zorro Halloween costume pattern)

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Laying the Groundwork for My Christopher Pike Listings

I have laid the groundwork for my upcoming Christopher Pike listings.  I photographed every extra Pike book that I have and created listings two at a time.  Each book was listed for sale briefly, since I wanted the listings to appear in with my ended listings in my account.  I did two at a time and then ended each pair of listings so that they were ended before they were indexed. 

I have 61 Christopher Pike listings ready.  I doubt that I will activate all 61 Pike listings at first, since many are duplicates.  I will start with one of each title plus the few small bulk lots that I created.  I also plan to active my 28 R. L. Stine listings when I activate the Christopher Pike listings.  While Pike and Stine fans are two distinct groups, there is some overlap between them.  I figure that the publicity of Pike's Netflix series could cause a slight increase in sales of Stine's books.  I want my Stine books to be available just in case.

Sales of Christopher Pike's books have already increased over what they were a few months ago.  While I don't have a record of daily Pike book sales from a few months ago, I'm pretty sure that more of his books are selling daily than did back during the summer months. 

Prices have increased somewhat, most noticeably so for The Midnight Club, upon which the new series is based.  The Midnight Club used to sell in the $7 to $10 range but now tends to sell for between $20 and $40 for vintage softcover copies.  The book also has been reprinted and is available new.  The new copies are selling for around $10.

Today I learned the titles of the episodes in The Midnight Club series.

'The Midnight Club' Netflix Series Episode Titles Revealed

101. "The Final Chapter"
102. "The Two Danas"
103. "The Wicked Heart"
104. "Gimme a Kiss"
105. "See You Later"
106. "Witch"
107. "Anya"
108. "Road to Nowhere"
109. "The Eternal Enemy"
110. "Midnight"

This is exactly what I needed to know.  The episode titles reveal that the books The Wicked Heart, Gimme a Kiss, See You Later, Witch, Road to Nowhere, and The Eternal Enemy are among the books used for source content.  I expect that those titles will spike in price similar to what has happened with The Midnight Club.

I anticipate that I will activate the Pike and Stine listings sometime on Thursday.  By waiting until Thursday, my first trip to the post office will fall on Saturday morning should any books sell quickly.  I hope that I can sell off most all of the extra Pike books within the next two to three weeks.

Depending upon how everything goes once I have the Pike and Stine books available, I will make a decision about the rest of my listings.  If all goes well, I could consider reopening.  If I'm not up to it, then I could end up waiting for two or three months.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay (Pike and Stine books to be listed beginning Thursday, September 29)

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Book Finds: Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Dana Girls, Trixie Belden, and Oz

I found these books on September 9.  Click on the images in order to view at a higher resolution.

Bungalow Mystery, Tapping Heels, and Old Attic are first picture cover printings.

Secret of the Caves is the first picture cover printing.

I found these books on September 16.

Broken Locket has double oval endpapers.

I also found Captain Salt in Oz in an early edition. 

I know very little about Oz and the values of the books, but I am confident that this book is worth more than I paid for it.  The book is copyright 1936 and looks to be from 1941 based on the last title listed on the dust jacket.  I feel like it was a pretty good find.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Nancy Drew 1940s Style Library Binding #1 Old Clock and #3 Bungalow Mystery

This is some old news that I never wrote up.  Early this year, two more examples of the Nancy Drew 1940s Style Library Binding surfaced.

Back in January, a copy of Nancy Drew #1 The Secret of the Old Clock in the 1940s Style Library Binding surfaced on eBay.  Fortunately, I saved a screen capture of the listing for whenever I felt like finally writing up a post.  The book was listed as an auction with a starting bid price of $500.  It closed at $580.

In April, collector Austin Stanley was very fortunate to find a copy of #3 The Bungalow Mystery in the 1940s Style Library Binding for $5.

This is my updated list of the known examples of this binding.  

  #1 two (mine and one sold on eBay in Jan. 2022) 
  #2 three (mine and two others)
  #3 two (mine and one that surfaced in April 2022)
  #4 one (mine)
  #5 two (mine and one that I sold years ago)
  #6 one (mine)
  #7 one (mine)
  #8 one (mine)
  #9 one (owned by someone else)
#10 two (both owned by someone else)
#11 one (mine)
#13 one (owned by someone else)
#15 two (one that sold on eBay and another owned by someone else)
#16 two (both owned by someone else)

I have mentioned before how rare these books are, and the scarcity does warrant the use of the word "rare."  Only 22 books ranging from #1 to #16 have surfaced in the 18 years that I have been aware of these books.  Consider how many of the books have just one known copy.  None of the books have more than three known copies.  Only a small number of people have ever laid hands on one of these books.  Most of the books known to exist are owned by just two people.  I have nine books, and another person has eight books.  Only five books are in the hands of others. 

A recent post on Facebook saw another person proclaim that they must find these books.  I can see where the value could climb even more.  I hope someday that I stumble across a stack of the ones I still need.  I live in hope.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Selling Hiatus Continues for Now

I do not expect to reopen my online stores anytime soon with one exception:  I will be selling Christopher Pike books on eBay beginning around October 7.  The Netflix horror series, The Midnight Club, which is based on Christopher Pike's 1994 young adult horror novel, will drop on October 7.  The Netflix series will also feature content from some of Pike's other books.  I fully expect a run on Christopher Pike books to occur as a result of the show's premiere.    

The Midnight Club: The Strange Story Behind Netflix's New Thriller

I have quite a few extra Christopher Pike books that I would like to sell.  The best time to be selling those books will be when the new series drops, whether I feel like selling books or not.  I will make sure that every extra Pike book that I have is available for sale by October 7.

I definitely am not ready to begin selling again and do not plan to sell anything else anytime soon.  If selling the Christopher Pike books turns out to be manageable, then I could reopen sometime later in October.  Going by how I feel mentally at this time, I don't expect to reopen until either Thanksgiving break or winter break.  I also could stay closed until at least January or February.  I am not even slightly interested in selling books currently.

I have some Nancy Drew library editions that I don't feel comfortable selling in fixed-price listings.  I have been selling my extra library editions at too low of prices for the last few years.  I don't want to price the books high without seeing exactly what people are willing to pay.  I want to test some of the books in auctions, pricing moderately and then letting the bidders decide if the books are worth more than that.  

The Nancy Drew library editions seen in the above photo are my current extras.  The three at the left edge are patterned bindings.  Most of the books are the Cameo binding.  I have two green APC editions, and the last book on the right is a BTSB edition.  The BTSB edition will not be auctioned since I have a firm grasp of its value, which is not high.  The rest of the books will likely be auctioned a few at a time in individual listings.

Since I don't know when I will be fully reopening, I don't know when I will feel like running the auctions.  My current thinking is that I could keep my stores mostly closed until at least the end of the year.  I could run auctions between the middle of October and the end of the year as I feel like it.  I could also end up waiting until early next year.  

I have thus far managed to avoid having to box up extra books.  I am moving perilously close to needing to do that, but I think that some rearranging of my extra unlisted books will help me to avoid boxing up books for a bit longer.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Tom Swift and His Mind-Boggling TV Show

The Tom Swift television series is an example of what not to do when creating a new project.  The show could have been good, but every possible mistake was made that ultimately guaranteed that the show would fail.  

The writers of the Nancy Drew series from The CW wanted to do a spin-off series.  They went to a lot of trouble to adjust the Nancy Drew storyline so that Tom Swift could be introduced.  The organization known as "The Road Back" was built into the Nancy Drew series solely as a means of creating the Tom Swift backdoor pilot.  This is why The Road Back is no longer a part of the Nancy Drew show.  It's a shame, since The Road Back worked quite well in Nancy Drew.

The Road Back is a scary organization.  The idea was that they would go up against Swift Enterprises and would sabotage new projects, since they are against technological advances.

So far, so good, right?

Tom Swift was introduced in a season 2 episode of Nancy Drew.  Tom helped Nancy investigate the building where the The Road Back originated decades ago.  I had forgotten about the plot of the Tom Swift backdoor episode, and now that I remember, I am mystified about the complete disconnect between the groundwork that had been laid in Nancy Drew and what ended up being the content of the Tom Swift spin-off series.  It truly is "mind-boggling."

I liked the Tom Swift backdoor episode well enough, while some other fans didn't.  I'm not a Tom Swift fan, so I had no expectations one way or the other.  I thought it was great that another Stratemeyer series was going to be on television.  I was just going along for the ride, regardless.

This is my summary of the entire Tom Swift series.  My summary spoils the cliffhanger ending, which will never be resolved.  I doubt that anyone will mind the spoiler, since I'm thus far the only series book fan who has admitted to watching all 10 episodes.  Apparently most viewers were unable to get past the first one or two episodes.

Tom builds a spaceship to send his dad to Saturn.  All goes well, until the ship is sabotaged.  Tom learns that his father is alive and lost in space.  A capsule containing important information is sent back to Earth, but the capsule breaks apart.  Tom has to find the capsule pieces so that he can rescue his father.  But wait! 

The main story gets sidetracked repeatedly while much time is devoted to making sure that viewers understand that Tom is gay and that everyone knows the definition of words like "pansexual."  All of Tom's acquaintances are gay, bi, or trans, and viewers learn about all of that as well. 

The show makes it easy to know who the villains are.  The main villain is the only white character.  The secondary villain is an Asian woman.  The rest of the cast is black.

Tom cannot control his anger and resentment, which causes him to get into petty fights at dinner.  Tom slowly finds some capsule pieces, while constantly being distracted by everything else.  The capsule pieces don't seem that important, after all.

Tom learns about The Road Back.  They want to slow down technology by sabotaging Swift Enterprises, but Tom mostly ignores the threat.  Tom's mother doesn't get along with Tom and doesn't seem to like him, but she suddenly decides that Tom will help her build a black utopian society either in the mountains or on another planet.  Strangely, Tom and his mother promptly forget about that plan.

Tom's adoptive brother Lino suddenly develops superpowers!  He can break through steel and do pretty much anything.  No time to think about that since Tom learns that his father used anti-gay gummy vitamins on him when he was young.  Tom is now done with his dad and doesn't care if he gets rescued.  Tom's friends race to find the last capsule pieces and somehow find them right before the end of the series finale.  Tom reluctantly decides to help bring his father home after a plea from his mother. 

Just as the mission appears to be a success, a traveler from the future sabotages the rescue.  Tom is told that his dad has passed through a wormhole into the year 2096.  The series ends, leaving Tom's dad forever lost in the future.  

The first episode is weak, and the second episode is bad.  The show improves with the third and fourth episodes.  For the remainder of its run, the show flounders between good content and utter stupidity.

Admittedly, I was not in the target audience, so I frequently didn't understand the humor.  I did learn some new vocabulary, like what a "side hoe" is.  I feel enriched.

The show missed many opportunities.  The show is classified as a mystery drama series, but it is so stupid and silly. 

Tom is depicted as a stereotypical gay person played for laughs.  Since it's apparent that the showrunners wanted to make a statement with this show, their depiction of Tom worked against their purpose.  Tom is wealthy and a gifted inventor.  The show's purpose would have been better served to have had Tom more serious but still gay.

The show suffered from too many different plots.  The idea of building a black utopian society is mentioned partway through the series and then the idea is dropped.  What was the point?  

Why go to so much trouble to embed The Road Back in the Nancy Drew series (quite a few episodes with a major character murdered by them) and then have Tom act like the organization means nothing to him? 

I thought that the Tom Swift series would have the same tone as Nancy Drew.  If it had, it would have been so much better.

The show failed to attract series book collectors.  It was a mistake making Tom not white.  Allow me to explain.  Series book fans are very particular that the characters in filmed versions must look exactly the same as the characters were depicted on the covers of the books.  

Around 20 years ago, a contentious debate about Nancy Drew's hair color occurred in a Nancy Drew discussion group on the now-defunct Yahoo! Groups.  In the discussion, race was never mentioned, and it was a given that Nancy was white.  The debate had nothing to do with race.  Members became quite heated as some insisted that Nancy should have blonde hair, while others insisted that Nancy should have red hair.  As for me, I watched the debate unfold, puzzled as to why everyone was so upset.  After all, Nancy's hair has been both blonde and red on the covers of the books.  Why was it such a big deal?

I have no doubt that Tom Swift fans wanted to see a Tom Swift with blond hair and blue eyes.  Some might call it racism, but it is really just the fact that they want the character to appear just like on the books.  The character was white on the covers of the books.

The Nancy Drew series on The CW kept Nancy Drew white and with red hair, which is one of the hair colors.  While many fans do not like the premise of the Nancy Drew show, nobody has complained about the physical appearance of the actress.  The show has a diverse cast, which has been accepted well. Tom Swift would have had a better chance if the primary character had looked like the books and been surrounded by a diverse cast.

Changing Tom's appearance and completely departing from the premise of the book series caused Tom Swift fans to bail on the project.  Tom Swift is an old franchise whose fans are mostly all over the age of 50 and are predominantly white.  Those people are far outside the target demographic.  So what was the point of using the Tom Swift name?

Since this series was a spin-off of CW's Nancy Drew, fans of that series should have been interested in the show.  They didn't even care.  The below screen capture is from the Nancy Drew CW subreddit and is from the week that the Tom Swift show premiered.  

Out of 342 respondents, 261 didn't bother to watch the premiere of Tom Swift.  These people are in the Nancy Drew CW subreddit and are exactly the people who should have been invested in a spin-off series.  76% of them didn't watch the premiere of Tom Swift.  So what was the point of doing a Tom Swift spin-off from Nancy Drew?  

The Tom Swift television series was aimed at a certain demographic.  I can guess that the demographic is primarily black and overlaps heavily with LGBTQ+.  I also assume that the target demographic is fairly young.  Apparently, those people didn't watch the show, either.  Most of them probably didn't know about the show, and if they had, the name Tom Swift would have had little name recognition. 

I spent a lot of time reading reviews about the series back in June and July.  Here are some of them.

From Google:

"Nope. Too much Extra added TO the extra. Trying way too hard and failing."

"This show is extra if nothing else."

"The show is clearly aiming for a demographic (hair extension) that is not remotely like me or any series collector.  The target demographic does not even slightly overlap with Tom Swift fans."

From IMDB:

"Tom Swift is Black ... and gay.  And likes to weld bare chested."

"I tried to get through the first two episodes.  It was mental root canal."

Many of the negative reviews were removed.  Here is one from IMDB that another fan captured a few days before it disappeared.

This comment from Reddit is one of the best observations about this series that I've read:

"I couldn't exactly pin what was bugging me about it but you 100% hit the nail on the head.  Its been a long time since I have seen a pilot for a show that was so clearly a pilot trotting out way too many unnecessary an underdeveloped story beats because its not really meant to appeal to a real audience, its meant to appeal to a board of CW executives."

The showrunners tried to do too much with this show, and most of it didn't work.  

I like the main story about the capsule pieces, and I enjoyed some of the humor, at least when I could understand it.  The show is so over-the-top that I laughed at the show while I watched it.  Some of Tom's outfits are so ridiculous.  My favorite ridiculous outfit is Tom's in the below scene.  

The showrunners claimed that we would have a satisfying ending.  No, we didn't.  We don't know what would have happened with Lino's superpowers.  Tom's dad will be forever stuck in 2096.  The Road Back appears to be still active based on comments near the end of the finale.  How is this satisfying?  I was disappointed when the finale ended, because I wanted answers.

In closing, I enjoyed watching this series.  You probably expected me to say that I didn't, but I got a kick out of the experience.  It was sort of like how I have enjoyed writing some of my Nancy Drew Diaries reviews, like Heliotrope Lane.  Even though Tom has character flaws, I like Tian Richards.  I like Tom's best friend, Zenzi, and his adoptive brother, Lino.  I also like Tom's bodyguard, Isaac.  I enjoyed the main plot.  I really would like to see how the story would be resolved.  The chance of this show getting picked up on another network is nil, so I'm disappointed that I will never know.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Hulu's Hardy Boys Renewed for Season 3

This might be old news to many of you, but I was unaware that Hulu's Hardy Boys series had been renewed for its third season.  I have been worried about it.  Every few weeks, I have checked to see if any websites mentioned a renewal.  I couldn't find anything.

Reading the Hardy Boys subreddit last night led me to check again.  I finally found one page mentioning a renewal, but I wanted to make sure.  I kept digging and finally found two pages that mention that the show is about to begin filming the third season.

11 TV shows filming in Toronto this September - TV Hive 

In Production - Ontario Creates

The second season of Hardy Boys ended with some brutal cliffhangers.  I was upset after I finished watching the finale, because I was worried that the show wouldn't be renewed.  I thought maybe they knew that it would, which is why they were comfortable with the cliffhangers.  At the same time, nothing was guaranteed, so I continued to be worried.

I have checked every few weeks and could find nothing.  Finally, I quit checking, since I felt it had been too long.  I thought that the show had been canceled, and I didn't want to know.

I was so relieved last night when I learned that the third season is going to happen.

I am not in any of the Facebook groups which are most likely to share Hardy Boys information.  I would be in those groups if I were welcome.  I'm not, so I'm shut out from Hardy Boys news unless someone cares to share the news outside of those groups.  Unfortunately, people don't share that information, and I don't understand why that is.

Some Hardy Boys fans do not like the Hulu series.  But some fans, like me, love it.  Why keep the information from us?  

I plead with you:  Please share what you know with others, even if you don't think most people care.  Some of us care very much.  I have been worried about the Hulu series for months.  I'm glad that my mind is now at rest, but I had to search out the information.  Apparently people who are in the know have been aware of the renewal for some time.

Therefore, I share the news here, since some of you would appreciate knowing about this.  

I am reminded of in 2017 when I saw some strange Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys flashlight editions on eBay, detailed in this post.  I purchased the books and then asked about them on Facebook.  Someone immediately replied that the books had been in the store Five Below sometime before.  What?!  Why not tell us?  Several people were then scrambling to get the books before they disappeared.  It would have been helpful if the person who had made the spotting had taken the time to tell us.  They didn't care, but we did.

If you see or learn something connected to the series book fandom, say something!  Don't keep it to yourself.

Here's another plug for the Vintage Series Books subreddit.  I added a number of posts and will add more in the coming days.  If I think of more information that fans not on Facebook might want to know, I'll make sure that I post about it.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Another Attempt at Series Book Discussion on Reddit

I created the Vintage Series Books subreddit in December 2020.  I want to see if I can get the subreddit to gain some ground.  If I could get some more series book collectors to join the subreddit with me, we might be able to have a go at it.  Some people are already there, but not enough are.  I expect this to be a difficult uphill battle.

Those of you who are on Facebook will likely not be interested.  That's the reality, since you have a social media site that works for you.  I haven't been happy with Facebook in years.  I will continue on Facebook since that is where nearly all series book discussion is, but I yearn for good discussion somewhere outside of Facebook.

I spend a lot of time on Reddit, far more than I do Facebook.  I find Facebook to be a bit bland these days.  When I join groups about certain topics on Facebook and join subreddits on those same topics, the discussions are much better on Reddit.  One notable example is the television series Big Brother.

Several years back, I joined three Big Brother groups on Facebook.  I left one of them pretty quickly when it became apparent that the admin was a bully who liked to denounce people in group posts when she kicked them out of the group.  She was toxic, so I left.  

I remained in the other two groups, but very quickly, I noticed how poor the discussions were.  Inaccuracies and outright lies were posted as fact, and the people posting them tended to get away with it.  Members posted lots of truly stupid stuff, and so I found the groups to be very low quality.

Big Brother discussion on Reddit and some other websites is better by a huge amount.  I quit going to the Facebook groups.  A couple weeks ago, after not having visited the Facebook groups for a couple years, I checked in on them.  I saw misinformation in recent posts in each group, information that I knew to be false because of the extensive discussions elsewhere online.  I immediately left both groups and consider them worthless.

Early in the pandemic, I joined some Covid groups on Facebook.  I had to leave immediately because of the poor moderation which allowed misinformation.  Meanwhile, Reddit had informative subreddits where misinformation was shut down quickly.

I have been following a current news story.  I'm on Reddit.  People there have mentioned the fighting and flaming going on in the corresponding Facebook group.

Famous people sometimes do AMAs (Ask Me Anything posts) in subreddits.  They'll post a photo of themselves while holding a piece of paper with their Reddit ID as proof that it's really them.  They usually don't stay long, but they do answer some of the questions.  That's neat.

The subreddit for Only Murders in the Building has attracted some of the people connected with the show.  Sometimes an actor will randomly pop in.  Other times, someone will do an AMA.

Facebook is a low effort, low quality site.  I believe that Facebook's algorithm has on average lowered the ability of people to interact intelligently.  We must put up with Facebook, since everyone is there.

Reddit is better at fostering discussion.  While Reddit users tend to post short comments, they are sprinkled with a heavy dose of humor that I find delightful.  The tone on Reddit is much better than Facebook.  People are much more likely to engage in lengthy discussions in among the short comments, resulting in many responses. 

Reddit is a throwback to the old Internet.  The plainness of the interface is similar to what we had in the old Yahoo! groups.  I like it.

Reddit works by using a system of upvotes.  When a good comment is upvoted, it floats up higher in the list of comments attached to the post.  Posts also can get upvotes, and this causes them to float up higher in the subreddit.  The upvote/downvote system helps to keep the low quality comments down at the bottom where they are less likely to be noticed.  

Last night I made a number of posts in the subreddit, using some of my recent posts from Facebook.  I am going to try to put in some effort and continue doing so at least in the short term. 

I hope that some of you who are not on Facebook will consider joining Reddit.  I understand that Facebook users won't be interested, and that's okay.  I'd love to reconnect with those of you who avoid Facebook.  We can have our own parallel discussions about series books. 

To join Reddit, you just need an email address.  You create a user ID, and you're in.


Saturday, September 3, 2022

An Outstanding Store Find of Nancy Drew Picture Covers Part 2

On August 21, I wrote about the outstanding store find of Nancy Drew picture covers that occurred on August 17. 

An Outstanding Store Find of Nancy Drew Picture Covers

I have been checking back to see if more books would surface.  Yesterday, they did.

I purchased two of the APC library editions.

I found these picture cover editions.  

All of #16 through #33 list to Fire Dragon the back cover.  # 21, 22, and 33 are first picture cover printings.  #43 is the first printing.

The picture covers are unquestionably linked to my August 17 purchase.  They are different titles than the ones I found before and are from the same era and in the same condition.  I will be keeping #22 and #32 because they are tint variants.

These are the rest of the books that I found.  

I purchased the flashlight edition because it has the textured cover.  Read this post for a detailed explanation about the textured flashlight editions.

Hidden Clues #6 The Textured Nancy Drew Flashlight Editions